Overview

Almond and raspberry has long been one of my favorite flavor combinations — so much so that it was one of the layers of our wedding cake more than 10 years ago. But it was a few years after that when I discovered my new preferred way to enjoy it: Bakewell tart.

I tried it on my first trip to London, in Borough Market, the kind of bustling food emporium we can all only dream of right now. Along with true British scones, Battenberg cake, good tea and rose and violet creams from Fortnum & Mason, Bakewell tart now sits among my favorite things of English origin — after Jane Austen and “Downton Abbey.”

In fact, seeing a recipe in “The Official Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook,” a recent release, is what finally inspired me to make Bakewell tart at home. The dish itself isn’t overly complicated — a buttery crust you make with your hands, topped with jam and a frangipane (almond) filling that comes together in minutes with a hand or stand mixer. The frangipane stars almond meal or flour, which got me thinking. With readers often asking for gluten-free recipes, and lately, ideas on what to make with almond meal, could I double down on the nuts by incorporating it in the crust? Answer: Yes, and with stunning results.

I cribbed a gluten-free crust recipe from cookbook author Aran Goyoaga, who recently shared a recipe for gluten-free bread here on Voraciously. Her crust uses almond meal, but also a gluten-free flour blend. That appealed to me, because we’ve heard from plenty of readers who have had problems finding regular flour, some of whom have snagged gluten-free blends as a last resort without knowing what to do with them. Well, here’s your answer! For those of you who aren’t avoiding gluten, know that I tested it with regular all-purpose, and the recipe works just fine. However, I slightly preferred the gluten-free version, which I thought baked up a bit drier and more tender.

Using store-bought jam on top of the crust is really handy. Traditionally, Bakewell tart calls for raspberry or strawberry, but you can use whatever flavor you have in your refrigerator. The nuts on top are also easily varied.

The biggest departure I made was to play it a bit fast and loose with the term “tart.” Especially now, I didn’t want to assume that everyone has a tart pan with a removable bottom. I moved the whole operation to a more standard 9-inch square pan. (If you do prefer a tart pan, use a 9-inch round one.) I loved the long, elegant bars I was able to cut. All the same charm with a little less fuss? That’s something else I learned about in England, too.

Recipe note: The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days or frozen for several months.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.


Ingredients

FOR THE CRUST

Scant 1 cup (160 grams) all-purpose gluten-free flour blend

Scant 1 cup (100 grams) almond meal/flour

1/2 cup (110 grams) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks/142 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon cold milk

FOR THE FILLING

8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (110 grams) granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla extract (optional)

Pinch fine sea salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups (140 grams) almond meal/flour

3/4 cup raspberry jam or strawberry jam

3 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)


Steps

Step 1

Make the crust: Press two long pieces of aluminum foil into a 9-inch square pan perpendicular to each other to create a sling, leaving several inches of overhang so you can use it to pull the bars out of the pan later. Generously grease the foil with cooking oil spray. (This will help release the bars after they are baked in case any jam bubbles out.)

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Step 2

Whisk together the gluten-free flour, almond meal, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Work the cold, diced butter into the flour mixture between your fingers until the mixture has the consistency of sand. Add the milk and mix with a fork until a wet, crumbly dough is formed. Press the crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, 1/2- to 3/4-inch high. Transfer the pan to the freezer for 30 minutes to chill.

While the pan is in the freezer, preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle position.

Step 3

Line the chilled crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is just starting to dry (it will still look fairly pale). Remove from the oven, and remove the weights and parchment. Return to the oven and continue baking until the crust develops a light golden hue in a few spots, 8 to 10 minutes. (It will still be on the pale side.) Transfer the pan to a wire rack.

Step 4

Make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer and a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, almond extract (if using) and salt on medium speed until fluffy and lighter in color, 2 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl again, reduce the speed to medium-low and add the almond meal, beating until just combined.

Step 5

Spread the jam evenly in the warm tart crust. Drop the almond filling mixture in small scoops over the jam, then spread carefully and evenly over the jam. Scatter the sliced almonds over the top, if using. Bake the tart (still at 350 degrees) until the filling is puffed and browned and the center springs back when lightly pressed, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Remove the slab using the foil sling and cut into 12 to 16 bars.

Adapted from “The Official Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook” (Weldon Owen, 2020) and a crust recipe by Aran Goyoaga posted at kingarthurflour.com.

Tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here. The nutritional analysis is based on 16 servings.

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Nutrition

Calories: 320; Total Fat: 21 g; Saturated Fat: 9 g; Cholesterol: 57 mg; Sodium: 145 mg; Carbohydrates: 30 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 19 g; Protein: 4 g.