Bakewell tarts are a classic English bake consisting of a sweet shortcrust pastry shell topped with an almond-y frangipane filling, cherry jam and toasted flaked almonds. Although they may seem like a challenge to bake, they are actually pretty simple to whip up. Take a look at my coeliac-friendly gluten-free Bakewell tart recipe below along with lots of tips and tricks for making the perfect gluten-free pastry!
Bakewell tarts are one of the most delicious sweet treats and probably one of the ones I missed most about being gluten-free. But, the good news is, they are incredibly simple to make gluten-free and taste just like the real deal! This recipe makes 6 small Bakewell tarts but can be adapted to make 12 mini ones if you use a 12-hole muffin tray. I haven’t tried this yet but it is on my list so it will be up on the blog soon!
How do you make these bakewell tarts?
So, how easy are these Bakewell tarts to make. Well, the dough comes together relatively quickly and after chilling for around an hour, it’s ready to be rolled out and popped into the tart moulds for the base. Keeping the dough super thin is key so that it doesn’t need to be blind baked and ensures enough room for the filling.
A teaspoon of cherry jam is spread evenly around the shell base before being filled with the frangipane filling.
The frangipane filling is equally as simple to make, with the butter, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, flour and almonds mixed together before being piped carefully on top of the layer of jam, covering any holes so that the jam cannot seep out during the baking process. No pre-cooking or blind-baking is necessary here!
Sprinkle with flaked almonds and pop into the oven on a hot baking tray (this ensures your tarts come out baked evenly at the base!) for around 20 minutes.
Dust with a little icing sugar to finish and they’re ready to pop into your mouth – just try to wait until they have cooled (if you can!).
What equipment do I need?
- 6 mini tart baking tins
- Baking paper
- Rolling pin
- Piping bag and large round tip (optional)
Tips & Tricks for Perfect Gluten-free Pastry
Cold ingredients are essential for this sweet shortcrust pastry. Take the butter out of the fridge just before so that it doesn’t have any chances to start melting in a warm kitchen. Make sure your hands are cold too when handling the dough!
Chill the dough before rolling and cutting, and chill again before adding the filling and lattice to bake.
When rolling out a dough, recipes typically call for a floured surface. This can, however, be risky for gluten-free doughs which risk being too dry anyways. Instead of adding extra flour to the dough to roll out, just roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper. This way, no extra flour is needed and your dough will stay moist! Take the dough out of the fridge 5-10 minutes before rolling so that it becomes more malleable for shaping. Try to roll the dough out as thinly as possible for the base so as to avoid having a thick base and a filling that overflows when baking!
Whilst the oven is warming up, place a baking tray in to warm up to. Place your pies on the baking tray when baking so that the bottom of the pie cooks at the same speed as the rest of the pie. This helps to limit any chances of a soggy bottom!
If the edges of the pies begin to brown before the rest is done, cover them with a layer of tinfoil with the shiny side up to reduce any further browning or burning.
For the sweet shortcrust pastry
- 250 g gluten-free plain flour blend
- 120 g unsalted butter cold
- 75 g icing sugar
- 1 large egg cold, beaten
- 1-2 tbsp water cold
- ½ tsp Xanthan Gum
- ¼ tsp salt
For the frangipane filling and topping
- 100 g unsalted butter softened, room temperature
- 100 g caster sugar
- 100 g ground almonds
- 2 medium eggs
- ¼ tsp lemon extract
- 2 tbsp gluten-free plain flour heaped
- 6 tsp cherry jam
- 6 tbsp flaked almonds
For the sweet shortcrust pastry
- Combine the flour, salt and Xanthan Gum in a bowl and whisk together.250 g gluten-free plain flour blend, ½ tsp Xanthan Gum, ¼ tsp salt
- Add the cold cubed butter to the dry ingredients and rub in using fingertips until a crumby texture forms.120 g unsalted butter
- Sift in the icing sugar and mix with a fork until thoroughly combined.75 g icing sugar
- Create a well in the mixture, beat the egg and pour it into the centre along with the cold water. Again, mix with with a fork or bring together using the dough handle attachment on a stand-mixer, until a sticky shiny dough forms. The dough may be very sticky but don't be tempted to add more flour!1 large egg, 1-2 tbsp water
- Shape the dough into a ball and weigh. It should weigh around 480g, so divide the mixture into 6 x 80g dough balls. Flatten each ball a little before wrapping in clingfilm and leaving in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
- Remove the pastry dough from the fridge 5-10 minutes before rolling out. Roll each ball of pastry between two sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 1-2mm thickness. The dough needs to be thin as it will thicken during the baking process and a thick dough will result in undercooked pastry and a spillage of filling.
- Transfer the rolled out pastry to each tart shell and press into the base and sides, removing any excess with the rolling pin around the edges.
- Set the tart shells in the fridge to chill whilst preparing the frangipane filling.
For the frangipane filling
- Preheat the oven to 170° C Fan and place a baking tray in the oven to get hot.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.100 g unsalted butter, 100 g caster sugar
- Add the eggs and lemon extract and whisk until fully incorporated.2 medium eggs, ¼ tsp lemon extract
- Fold in the ground almonds and flour until no pockets of flour remain.2 tbsp gluten-free plain flour, 100 g ground almonds
- Remove the tart shells from the fridge and spread a teaspoon of cherry jam evenly onto the each base. Too much will result in leakage, so don't be too generous here.6 tsp cherry jam
- Transfer the frangipane filling to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (you can also just carefully spoon and level the mixture into the shells). Pipe the filling in circles starting from the outer edge, making sure to cover all of the cherry jam.
- Sprinkle a tablespoon of flaked almonds on the top of each tart, before placing in the oven on the hot tray to make for 15-20 minutes. The tarts will be a lovely golden brown and spongy to the touch when done. A good way to check is to give the baking tray a little shake and see if the middle of the tart wobbles. If it still wobbles in the centre, it will need some more time to fully bake.6 tbsp flaked almonds