Bakewell Tartelettes

16 Jan 2012

In Ireland, school kids have a longer break during the holiday season. The little farmer was home from school from the 19th of December until the 9th of January. In the States, I believe most children head back to school sometime during the first week of January. This lengthy vacation seems to be justified by having a far shorter summer break, again, opposite of the American school system. {repeat mantra: tis different, not better or worse, tis different, not better or worse….}

The weather was too poor for assisting daddy on the farm, so let’s just say we had a lot of time on our hands here in the house. And too much time on our hands in the house = baking up a storm together (it also means dressing up our Airdale, Teddy, each morning; planning month-long trips to outer space, and building no less than fifty forts and obstacle courses…but, I digress).

Another new baking discovery for me here in Ireland is the beautiful Bakewell tart. Originating in Bakewell, England (thank you for enlightening me, Angharad), it is a firm fixture in bakeries, shops and cafes around this fair country as well.  The Bakewell tart (which would be called a ‘pudding’ if you were in Bakewell itself) is essentially a jam tart filled with a little almond-y (frangipane) cake on top. The story goes back to the 1860’s when a kitchen maid accidentally poured the almond mixture into a jam tart, a winning mistake if I do say so myself!  It’s modest: not too sweet nor gooey, and goes perfect with a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon.

The first time I enjoyed a slice of Bakewell tart was in the sweet little cafe at Brown Thomas department store. On a Sunday afternoon city-fix with the baby farmer in tow, I collapsed in for a cappuccino. Upon spying a pear almond version of the tart in the pastry case, my nutty sweet tooth could not resist. The waitress brought a slice out topped off with a dollop of whipped vanilla cream and a persimmon on the side. The rest is history.

We decided to make a chocolate version since there are more than a few chocoholics at the farm and I thought it would be a nice treat. We baked a dozen tartelettes, had a little tea party and they were gone in a flash. Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Bakewell Tart

Serves 4-6

For Pastry

75g/5 tbsp unsalted butter

140g/1 cup plain flour

25g/2.5 tbsp caster sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp water

For the Filling

3 tbsp dark, chocolate grated

150g/2/3 cup butter

150g/2/3 cup caster sugar

75g/2/3 cup self-raising flour

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla

150g/3/4 cup ground almonds

grated zest of one lemon

3 tbsp lemon juice

6 heaped tablespoons of raspberry jam

icing sugar

Preheat oven to 220c/425F/gas mark 7

Work the pastry ingredients together to form a dough, and chill inthe fridge for 30 minutes Roll out pastry and use to line a loose-bottomed (springform) flan tin that is 25cm in diameter and 5cm deep (or 10 mini tart tins). Chill again and bake blind for 10 minutes.

For the filling, place the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water then remove from the heat when melted. Cream the butter and sugar together. Fold in the flour, adding the eggs and vanilla extract, melted chocolate, ground almonds and lemon zest. Add lemon juice until the mixture is of a dropping consistency.

Spread the jam over the bottom of the pastry case, then spoon in the chocolate mixture. Bake for 15 minutes at 220c/425f/gas mark 7, then reduce the heat to 180c/350f/gas mark 4 and bake for a further 15 minutes or until the filling is cooked.

Sprinkle with icing sugar if you please.

Serve warm or cold with a big dollop of cream…and a persimmon on the side if you wish =)

I am very excited to announce that I have been asked to share recipes on Irish Abroad, a lovely online community for Irish expats, descendants and persons wishing to travel to Ireland…should be loads of fun!  I chose a classic Victoria Sponge for my first recipe, have a peek here.

Slan Abhaile,


Photos & Styling by Imen and Geoffrey McDonnell 2012

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7 Responses to “Bakewell Tartelettes”

  1. 蛋糕食谱 says:


  2. molly yeh says:

    this is fascinating! i love it when mistakes work out for the better. and what an amazing idea to flavor them with chocolate. oooh i am craving one now!

  3. TheGlutton says:

    Imen these look amazing! I love Bakewells – one of my childhood favourites…well one of the many sweet childhood favourites 🙂 And how cute is Teddy?! I want one of each please.

  4. You can’t beat a good Bakewell – and I love the idea of adding chocolate.

  5. Karista says:

    I adore this recipe, thanks so much for sharing! But I adore your Airedale even more. He just warms my heart! We lost our Airedale, Elwood, in August last year and we are still so sad. He was with us for 12 wonderful years and life just isn’t the same without an Airedale in the house. I showed the picture to my two gals and my husband and we agree, Teddy is definitely one of the most handsome Airedales we’ve seen. You made our day!

  6. Annetje says:

    Dear Imen, What a lovely surprise to find on a grey Monday morning the lovely ‘a taste of Cork’ book in the post. It made my day! It has such great photographs of the stunning country side and the fantastic food products. It is a privelige to have won this ‘give-away’. I also loved the season’s greetings card you sent with it: great looking son you have.
    I am looking forward to many more lovely posts on your blog, enjoying the photos as well as the recipes, (with to many calories, as all Irish food…)

  7. Brenda says:

    My sister-in-law in Ireland always made Bakewell for family events. Your little tarts look just lovely and remind me to call her today. It is our first year here in the U.S. and I must say I enjoyed the boys returning to school so early. I am delighted that your recipes are going to appear on Irish abroad, I visit the site regularly. Victoria Sponge is just right after all the heavy puddings and Christmas cakes.

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