Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Bakewell Slice

After a week back at work, my gloriously long holiday in France spent wandering around sun-filled medieval villages, eating exquisite pastries and sampling lots of local specialities is rapidly becoming but a distant memory. I need something that will serve the dual purpose of prolonging my French holiday feeling and providing a little treat that will enliven my lunch box and therefore, my working day. If you're feeling generous, colleagues will no doubt appreciate having a plate of homemade sweet treats too.

This recipe from Nigella (taken from her fantastic book 'Feast') for Bakewell Slices fits the bill perfectly. It may seem odd that such an English tart evokes memories of France for me but frangipane is so ubiquitous in French pastries that, in my mind, it is inextricably linked to that country. (Interestingly, Alan Davidson's fantastic tome 'The Oxford Companion to Food', tells us that although frangipane originated in France, first appearing in a French cookery book of 1674, the name actually comes from an Italian aristocrat, Don Cesare Frangipani.)

Be that as it may, I love anything with that sticky, sweet, almondy filling. A real Bakewell Tart is a thing of joy but it takes more effort to make and is best served as pudding. This recipe, as Nigella states, is an easy option as there is no pastry involved but it still delivers the gorgeous combination of buttery almond and jam. The base is Nigella's very rich shortbread but I've slightly adapted the filling, by using three whole eggs plus one yolk and I add a few drops of French almond extract to really intensify the flavour.

As these are perfect for a packed lunch (albeit a slightly decadent one), I'm entering this into the fabulous Forever Nigella challenge started by Sarah at http://blog.maisoncupcake.com/forever-nigella and hosted this month by Nazima http://www.workinglondonmummy.com/2012/09/forever-nigella-september-packed-lunch.html - thank you both for a lovely challenge.

RECIPE (apapted from Nigella's recipe in 'Feast')

For the base
225g plain flour
60g icing sugar
225g butter (I prefer to use salted butter for this but you can use unsalted if you prefer, adding a pinch of salt to the mix)

For the filling
150g butter
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
150g caster sugar
150g ground almonds
60g flaked almonds
325g jam
a few drops of almond extract

A baking tray, about 23x30x6cm, greased and base lined with baking parchment.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C .

Whiz the flour and icing sugar in a food processor, add the butter and process again until you have a crumbly mixture just coming together. Press into the tin, forming a thin layer on the bottom. Cook in the oven for 20 mins.

For the filling, melt the butter and allow to cool slightly. Put the eggs, the yolk, sugar and ground almonds in a processor and whiz together.

Take the base out of the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes before spreading with the jam. Add the melted butter and the almond extract to the other ingredients in the processor, keeping the motor running as you do so.

Pour the mixture over the jammy shortbread, top with the flaked almonds (you can toast these beforehand in a pan if you so wish) and bake for 35 minutes.

Allow to cool before cutting into slices.


  1. I can't believe I skipped this recipe by in Feasts, wow I must bake soon. Your pictures look lovely, and your Bakewell slice looks delish x

    1. Thanks - give it a try, I think you'll like it!

  2. This looks good, sticky and sweet. I'm sure my little boy would like a slice of this in his packed lunch.

  3. I love Bakewell slice and have made Nigella's a couple of times. Unfortunately my kids aren't allowed to take anything with nuts into school though :-(

    1. Oh dear - I suppose it is more suited to an 'adult' lunch box!

  4. wow I love bakewell slice and I have to say I never considered making it at home but since Nigella's recipes always work as you beautifully demonstrate here , I shall have to try. Sorry for being so late I am doing a roundup post tonight :)