In this week’s Great British Bake Off, the contestants were tasked with creating a bespoke almond tart. Can you do better? Below is Mary Berry’s recipe for a classic frangipane. Feel free to experiment!
A really good-looking fruit-topped almond tart to make when succulent peaches and berries are in season, or at any time of the year using tinned or frozen fruit.
Kit you’ll need: 1 baking sheet; a 28cm fluted round, deep, loose-based flan tin
FOR THE PASTRY
225g plain flour
100g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
50g caster sugar
1 medium egg
1 tablespoon icy cold water
FOR THE ALMOND FILLING
175g unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
4 medium eggs, at room temperature, beaten to mix
175g ground almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract generous ½ jar home-made raspberry jam OR best-quality shop-bought jam
3 ripe peaches OR
1 x 420g tin sliced peaches
4 tablespoons apricot jam
1. Make the rich sweet shortcrust pastry either by hand or in a food processor. By hand, sift the flour into a bowl, add the diced butter and rub in* until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar. Beat the egg with the water until combined, then stir into the crumbs with a round-bladed knife to make a slightly soft but not sticky dough. To use a food processor, put the flour and butter into the bowl and blitz until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add the sugar and ‘pulse’ to combine. Mix the egg with the water and, with the machine running, add through the feed tube. Stop the machine as soon as a ball of dough forms. Wrap the dough and chill for 20 minutes until firm but not hard.
2. Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5, and put the baking sheet in to heat up. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured worktop and use to line the flan tin*. Prick the base of the pastry case well with a fork, then chill for 10 minutes.
3. Line the pastry case with baking paper and fill with baking beans, then set the tin on the heated baking sheet and bake blind* for about 15 minutes until the pastry is set and the edges are lightly coloured. Remove the paper and beans and return the empty pastry case to the oven to bake for a further 10–12 minutes until the base is cooked through (no damp patches) and turning a light golden colour. Set aside to cool (leave the oven on).
4. Now make the almond filling. Put the soft butter and sugar into the food processor (no need to wash the bowl) and blitz until the mixture is creamy and smooth. With the machine running, pour in the eggs through the feed tube. Once combined, stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the ground almonds and almond extract and blitz just until combined. You can also make the filling by hand: cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy using a wooden spoon or hand-held electric whisk, then gradually beat in the eggs. Fold* in the almonds and almond extract.
5. Spread a thin layer of raspberry jam over the base of the pastry case. Spoon the almond mixture on top and spread evenly. Bake in the heated oven for 30–40 minutes until the filling is golden and feels springy when gently pressed in the centre. Remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool.
6. Once the tart is cold, start on the decoration. If you are using fresh peaches they need to be peeled. To do this, make a small nick in the skin near the stem end, then lower the peaches into a pan of boiling water and leave for 10 seconds. Drain, then peel off the loosened skins with the help of a small sharp knife. Halve the peaches and remove the stones, then cut into thick slices. If using tinned peaches, drain thoroughly.
7. Arrange the peach slices and raspberries in neat circles on top of the tart. Warm the apricot jam in a small pan over low heat, then press through a fine sieve to remove any lumps of fruit. If necessary, reheat the sieved jam so it is nice and runny, then gently brush it over the fruit to glaze. Leave to set before serving.
More recipes from Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and this year’s bakers are compiled in Great British Bake Off: Celebrations: With recipes from the 2015 series, published by Hodder & Stoughton and available for £9 from Amazon (normally £20)