Lemon Bakewell Tart

The Bakewell Tart, or indeed Pudding comes from the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire, England. There is some argument as to just who and when the first one was created. It has probably been around though since the first half of the 19th Century.

The Bakewell Tart Shop

The Bakewell Tart Shop

Parish Church Bakewell

It must however have been before 1861 as it was included in Mrs. Isabella Beeton’s famous book of Household Management:

INGREDIENTS.—1/4 lb. of puff-paste, 5 eggs, 6 oz. of sugar, 1/4 lb. of butter, 1 oz. of almonds, jam.

Mode.—Cover a dish with thin paste, and put over this a layer of any kind of jam, 1/2 inch thick; put the yolks of 5 eggs into a basin with the white of 1, and beat these well; add the sifted sugar, the butter, which should be melted, and the almonds, which should be well pounded; beat all together until well mixed, then pour it into the dish over the jam, and bake for an hour in a moderate oven.

Time.—1 hour. Average cost, 1s. 6d.

Sufficient for 4 or 6 persons. Seasonable at any time.

The generally accepted recipe has not changed that much. It is however relatively common these days to serve the tart with an icing sugar topping. The pastry is often shortcrust rather than puff.

My recipe comes from my Great Aunt. I fondly remember going to my Great Aunts as a child at Christmas. The extended family would be there and she would put on a magnificent spread. After lunch we kids would be left in the front room to play with our toys and to pester Uncle Alan who often tried to take his repose in the same room. The rest of the adults would clear the large dining table and get down to some serious card playing.

Auntie Vera's Recipe

My Great Aunt’s Recipe

Although my Great Aunt was an English teacher, she went on to become a Domestic Science teacher at Burnley (Lancashire) college in the early 1950’s. This recipe comes from her own hand-written “Hostess Cookery“ class notes from that time.
I have made the recipe many times and it is an excellent one, but not exactly the one I wanted to share with you today. The one I wanted to share today uses the lemon curd from a couple of posts ago as I think the lemons and almonds go together so well.

The original recipe uses raspberry jam so it stands out as a separate red layer in the tart. Using lemon curd one can’t see the jam layer quite so well, so perhaps it is not as visually appealing….. but it does taste fantastic. For me it is right up there with the Gateau Basque you will find here in a previous post.

Lemon Bakewell Tart

20cm Diameter tart:

150g Flour
100g Margarine
75g Sugar

Lemon curd
70g Margarine
70g Sugar
2 Eggs
50g Self Raising Flour
50g Ground almonds

75g Icing sugar (optional)
Yellow food colouring (optional)


To make the pastry, put the ingredients into a bowl and lightly rub them together with the fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs. Using a knife cut in some cold water, a drop at a time until it forms a dough. I never like to overwork pastry. I always treat it as if it were alive and a delicate thing. Moving a knife blade through the dry ingredients helps to mix in the water without overworking the dough. Do not add too much water, the dough needs to be soft and pliable but not wet.

Once the dough has formed leave it in the fridge, wrapped in plastic, to chill for around an hour so that it can recover from being bashed around!

Preheat the oven to 190ºC.

Line a deep 20cm diameter pie tin with the pastry. If it is not too perfect or has a hole or two don’t worry, just get a pastry off-cut, dampen the damaged area, and stick the cut off over to fix. I know I have mentioned this in the past, but I am not in favour of wafer-thin pastry. I have always found that a well made pastry will melt in the mouth and is a pleasure to eat. Treat the pastry delicately and don’t worry too much about the thickness, it will be just fine. Trim off the top of the pastry making it level with the top of the pie tin. It won’t shrink on baking as the filling will hold it in place.

Add a good layer of lemon curd.

Add a good layer of lemon curd.

Cover the base with a layer of lemon curd. I don’t skimp here. I want plenty of lemon flavour and put a third to half a jar of curd in the base.

Beat together all the remaining filling ingredients and spoon into the mould gently covering the curd. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes.

When the tart is cool make a thick paste with the icing sugar and a little boiling water and cover the top. One can add a few drops of yellow food colouring to keep with the lemony theme of the tart.

Keeping true to my continuing theme of purchasing the minimum number of different ingredients, I tend to keep a minimum number of types of flour on hand. I tend to have strong plain flour and wholewheat flours for breads and plain cake flour for cakes and buns. I do not buy self raising flour. I just add 10ml of baking powder into every 150g of flour.

The Finished Tart

The Finished Tart

As always, I hope you like the recipe. Feedback is welcome, I will respond to all questions or comments. Thanks for reading to the end….…and until next time!

2015 Lincoln W. Betteridge


One thought on “Lemon Bakewell Tart

  1. Pingback: Lemon Bakewell Tart | Other Man's Flavours

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