Making pastry really does scare a lot of people; I think it’s something about the trauma of rolling out pastry that can break apart. There are a few tips and tricks that help when making pastry, such as using it cold, working quickly, and not overworking it.
For this fig Bakewell tart I’ve removed the need to roll it out; instead we are going to freeze it in a block, grate it and push it into the tin. The key is to try and push the pastry in as evenly as possible. We are also avoiding blind baking (where the pastry shell bakes before the filling is added) – instead, make sure your oven is HOT.
There are a lot of skills to be picked up via this recipe, from the grated pastry method to the making of frangipane and assembling and baking a tart. Each one will set you on your way to fantastic future creations.
Fig Bakewell tart
This tart is really easy to put together: we aren’t even going to roll out the pastry or blind bake it. Have faith in me, I’m going to show you the light.
Prep time: 35 minutes, plus freezing | Cooking time: 1 hour 5 minutes
One 20cm tart
For the sweet pastry
- 170g plain flour
- 50g caster sugar
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 100g unsalted butter, cold, cubed
- 1 medium egg
For the frangipane
- 80g unsalted butter, softened
- 60g light brown sugar
- 20g runny honey
- 1 medium egg
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 90g ground almonds
- Pinch of salt
- 15g plain flour
- 3-4 tbsp good quality fig jam
- 3-4 large figs, cut into quarters
- 50g flaked almonds
- Icing sugar, to dust
- We will start by making the sweet pastry – this will make enough for two tarts if you patch the pastry thin enough! Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir well. Using your hands, a food processor or stand mixer, mix the butter into the dry ingredients until it forms a texture like small breadcrumbs. Add the egg and mix until it comes together as a dough.
- Tip out on to your work surface and gently roll into a cylinder shape. Wrap in parchment paper or cling film and freeze for one to two hours.
- When ready to use, grate the pastry (using the thicker side of a box grater) into a 20cm tart case. Using your hands, press the pastry into the case and into the fluted sides. The key is to go really thin on the base, as it will not be blind baked. Start by grating in half of the pastry, and then gradually add more until your tart tin is lined. Any remaining pastry can be wrapped and kept in the freezer for 30 days.
- Once the tin is lined, freeze for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the frangipane. Beat the butter, sugar and honey together until pale. Mix in the egg, zest and almond extract.
- Stir together the ground almonds, salt and flour and add this to the butter mixture. Beat well until fully combined.
- To assemble the tart, spread the fig jam evenly over the base of the frozen tart case. Top with the frangipane and smooth it over. Push the quartered figs gently into the frangipane, cut side up. Scatter the almonds over the top. Place in the fridge while the oven heats up.
- Preheat the oven to 185C/165C fan/Gas 4½ and place a heavy baking tray in it to heat up. When the oven is hot, place the tart directly on the hot tray – this will help to bake the bottom of the tart. Bake for 30 minutes then check – if it is already looking golden, place a sheet of foil over the tart to stop it colouring further. Bake for another 25-35 minutes or until the frangipane is set and golden.
- Allow to cool in the tin before removing, dusting with icing sugar and eating.