Strawberries are undoubtedly the most popular fruit of summer. Juicy and luscious, with their shameless scarlet colour and heady fragrance, they are the Marilyn Monroe of the berry world. At their best, they are indeed a delight but their ubiquitous presence in every supermarket, greengrocer and corner shop from April to October can often bring disappointment, with tastes ranging from somewhat bland to downright insipid. Raspberries however rarely betray us. Their texture is consistently good, never watery or slushy, their delicate flavour sweet yes but tempered with a sour note, subtle, more complex on the palate, Grace Kelly perhaps or Katharine Hepburn.
Raspberries are used to great effect in this recipe. A classic Bakewell tart is shortcrust pastry, filled with raspberry jam and an almondy sponge. This version, based loosely on a Nigella recipe in How To Eat, intensifies the flavours by using almonds both in the frangipane filling and the pastry and providing a double hit of fruit by adding some fresh raspberries on top of the jam. The result is wonderful - light, crisp pastry; rich, buttery frangipane; sweet, tangy raspberry. Pudding perfection.
I'm linking this up to four blogging challenges. The first is the One Ingredient Challenge run by Nazima (this month's host) from Franglais Kitchen and Laura from How to Cook Good Food. Their theme for June is Raspberries and as I love them, I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone's ideas.
The second is Ren Behan's Simple and In Season Challenge, another blog event that encourages us all to use local, fresh, seasonal produce.
The third is Calender Cakes, run by Rachel (this month's host) from Dolly Bakes and Laura from Laura Loves Cakes. The theme for June is Pump Up the Jam.
Finally, as this month's letter is 'R' in the brilliant Alphabakes challenge by Ros (this month's host) from TheMoreThanOccasionalBaker and Caroline at Caroline Makes, I'm sending this as my entry.
for the pastry
120g plain or 00 flour
40g icing sugar
20g ground almonds
1 egg yolk
for the filling
150g fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons raspberry jam
125g butter, melted
125g caster sugar
125g ground almonds
a few drops almond extract
40g flaked almonds
For the pastry, chop the butter and put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Take it out and put it into a food processor together with all the other pastry ingredients except the egg yolk. With the double blade attachment, whizz until the mixture is the size of small peas. Then add the egg yolk and pulse until it just starts coming together. Dump out onto a board and form the mixture into a ball, flatten it down a little, wrap in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the pastry out thinly and use it to line a 21cm round, loose-bottomed tin. Put it back in the fridge for at least 10 minutes while you make the filling.
For the filling, beat the sugar, almond extract and eggs together. Then pour the melted butter in to the mixture, still stirring. Finally, mix in the ground almonds, beating well to eliminate any lumps.
Remove the pastry case from the fridge and prick the bottom with a fork. Spread a thin layer of jam over the base and then cover evenly with the raspberries. Pour the frangipane over and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.
Bake for about 40 mins until golden. Leave to cool for 10 mins in the tin, then carefully remove the outer ring and leave to cool further on a wire rack. You can serve the tart while still warm although it's good cold too.