British bakeries have been flooded in the past few years with American bakery items such as the cupcake. Cupcakes can be done well, and I think they’ll be around for a long time to come, but the trend seems to have finally reached a plateau. For months, journalists have been desperately seeking its successor, tipping US confections such as the cake pop and the whoopie pie to take its place, but my prediction is that 2011 will see a return to British classics the scone, the flapjack, the Viccy Sponge and the Bakewell.
We have been making these beautiful tarts in our bakery lately, stripped down and freshened up to take the edge off the sweetness, with fresh cherry, flaked almonds and a sharp compôte. With Bakewells it’s all about the perfect ratio.
Makes 12 tarts
For the pastry
Organic plain flour 250gplus extra for dusting
Cold butter, cut into small cubes125g
Large free-range egg, beaten1
Splash of milk
For the frangipane
Unsalted butter, room temperature85g
Golden caster sugar85g
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
For the cherry filling
Very ripe, de-stoned black cherries65g
Extras: flaked almonds, fresh cherries, vanilla buttercream (see recipe from the column in the 14 January issue of BB or use one you like)
1. To make the pastry, sieve the flour, then the sugar from a height on to a clean surface. Use your hands to work in the butter thumbs to fingers to achieve a fine, crumbly mixture.
2. Add the egg and milk and gently work it all together into a ball of dough. Flour lightly. Pat into a flat round, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for a minimum of half an hour.
3. Meanwhile, make the cherry filling. Pulp the cherries with a hand blender, and place in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pan along with the caster sugar, lime juice, water and cornstarch.
4. Heat on medium until the cherries begin to release their liquid and then slowly bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce to a simmer and heat until cherry mixture has thickened. Allow to cool.
5. Make the frangipane by beating all the ingredients together until smooth and spoon into a piping bag.
6. Roll out the pastry and cut rounds to fit a cupcake pan, press into place, spoon in some of the cherry mixture, pipe in the frangipane and top with flaked almonds.
7. Bake in a preheated 190C oven for 25-30mins or until golden brown. Cool, pipe with a dab of buttercream and top with a fresh cherry.