Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bakewell Slice

    A few days ago, my darling husband suddenly said, "You know what I fancy right now? Mr Kipling's Bakewell Slices." My response to that was "Awwww, I don't know if we can get that here." 
Later that day, we happened to be in a neighbourhood that has an expat shop. We looked for the bakewell slices there, but to no avail. The shop had Mr Kipling Bakewell Tarts, but that wasn't what the dear man wanted. 
What the husband wanted
       I felt a heavy feeling on my shoulders. My husband doesn't usually crave for particular things. Yet here he was wanting the bakewell slices. I asked him if he would like me to make him some. After all, I bake. He actually said no to that because I told him that if I make bakewell slices, I won't put any icing on them. That is because they are not meant to have icing on them. Two days later I asked him "Are you sure you don't want me to make bakewell slices for you? I have all the ingredients on hand." His answer? "Yeah, why not?" My husband is not a very enthusiasiatic man.
       For the uninitiated, bakewell slices consist of a buttery shortcrust pastry base spread with jam, with a layer of frangipane over the jam. It is one of those British things that may be rather unheard of outside of the UK. It is sometimes made with a filling that is similar to a sponge cake, but I decided to go with the 'proper' version.
      Frangipane is a versatile pastry/filling made with butter, flour, sugar and ground almonds although some recipes omit the ground almonds and use almond extract instead. 
It has a delightfully mild flavour with a light but rich texture. Frangipane can be used to fill sweet pies and tarts and sometimes even savoury dishes.

        So I baked a batch of bakewell slices. I must say that it is not on my list of favourite cakes and bakes because I find it too buttery for my liking. I do like it in small doses. I am not a huge fan of anything that tastes very buttery. But that's just me. If you have never tried this, go on and give it a shot!

         This recipe makes an 8x8" tray of bakewell slices. Each slice is approximately 1" thick. Please note that the frangipane filling should be spread over the jam carefully because the jam will tend to get pushed to the sides of the pan, resulting in bubbled over edges. You can also bake this in a round tin.

Bakewell Slices
makes an 8x8" tray (12 slices)

For the shortcrust:
1 cup plain flour
1 TBSP caster sugar
90g butter, cold

150g jam (2/3 to 3/4 cup)
(any berry jam or plum jam)

90g butter, softened (6 TBSP)
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup plain flour
1 cup ground almonds (almond meal)

1/4 cup sliced or flaked almonds

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line and lightly grease an 8x8inch pan, leaving some extra length of baking paper on the sides for easy removal after baking.
2. Put the ingredients for the shortcrust pastry into a bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. 
Alternatively, use a food processor. 

3. Press the shortcrust mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until the edges of the pastry is very lightly browned and pulls away from the edge of the pan.
Leave to cool while preparing the filling (at least 10 minutes).
Unbaked                   -                        Baked
5. Beat the remaining sugar, butter and eggs until light and creamy.
6. Add in the flour and ground almonds and mix till combined.
*The batter will be a bit lumpy

7. Now spread the jam evenly on the shortcrust pastry base.

8. Pour or spoon the frangipane filling onto the jam. It is better to pour the filling onto several spots rather than in one pile in the middle of the pan.
9. Using a spatula, carefully spread the frangipane as evenly as possible. Some of the jam might get pushed to the sides of the pan. Try to cover all the jam with the frangipane.
10. Scatter the sliced or slivered almonds over the frangipane.
You can see a spot of jam on the bottom left of the picture
11. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
12. Place the pan on a cooling rack and leave till completely cool.
13. When cool, cut into slices.

This is great with a cup of coffee or strong tea!
This can be stored in the fridge for a 5 days and can also be wrapped in cling film then frozen. To thaw from frozen, put the slices in the fridge for at least 4 hours.


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