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Cherry Bakewell

It's easy to make an authentic Cherry Bakewell with this foolproof recipe from James Morton. Sweet cherry combines with rich almond in this unforgettably lovely tart.

From the book

James Morton


Despite being a sweet tart, Bakewell is a classic that is strictly shortcrust. This is the standard, made with a raspberry compote beneath a thick layer of frangipane, just a bit more awesome. This also has cherries. Notably, cherries contain the compound benzaldehyde. This is what almond essence is made from and which gives Dr Pepper its main flavour component. But the tiny amounts in both cherries and almonds mean that these flavours blend seamlessly together and that’s why this combination is so well loved. If you’ve got any frozen cherries left over, make the most awe-inspiring crumble in the world by combining them with some cooking apples.

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For the pastry:
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
150g chilled, salted butter
75g ice-cold water
For the frangipane:
200g softened, unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
200g ground almonds
For the cherry jam:
150g frozen cherries
150g frozen or fresh raspberries
100g caster sugar
flaked almonds, for decoration

Essential kit

You will need a 12-inch tart tin.


First, make a quantity of basic shortcrust pastry Weigh the flour into a large bowl. Cut the butter into manageable chunks and add to the flour. Scoop up some butter and flour in both hands, then rub them into each other. Continue to rub until your mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Weigh out the water and add around three-quarters to the bowl. Swirl a knife around to incorporate it before using your hands to see if it comes together. Add more water, a little at a time (use the whole lot if needed) and work it in until you’ve mopped up any free crumbs from the side of the bowl. This might take a little ‘almost kneading’, but that’s fine. Smoosh your dough flat, wrap it tightly in cling film and chill for as long as you can spare – anything from 15 minutes to 3 days is fine.

Whilst the pastry is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4 and grease a 12-inch tart tin with plenty of butter.

Roll out your chilled pastry on a floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Roll it up around your rolling pin and place it in the tart tin. You should then trim around the edges, leaving at least a centimetre overhang. Prick the base with a fork and chill for another 15 minutes. Freeze any excess pastry.

Line your pastry case with a square of baking paper weighted down with some loose change or some baking beans. Bake for 15–20 minutes, then remove the paper and bake for another 10 minutes until pale, but obviously cooked.

Whilst the case is baking, start the jam. Put the cherries and raspberries into a pan with the sugar, place on a high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thick and jammy, stirring regularly. This will take about 10 minutes.

Make your frangipane whilst the pastry is baking by mixing the butter and sugar together until paste-like. Make sure the butter is soft before starting; give it a zap in the microwave if necessary. Add the eggs and almonds and mix everything together until it is a pretty even consistency. Unlike flour, you can’t really overmix the almonds, but you can turn them from a ground consistency to one a bit more like peanut-butter, so don’t go mad with the whisk.

When the pastry is baked, trim the excess with a sharp knife. Spread your jam over the base and then cover carefully with frangipane. Sprinkle the flaked almonds on top. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the frangipane is springy and golden.


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From the book: How Baking Works

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