When we were in London this past month, we were absolutely blown away by the huge amount of international cuisines available (even compared to our last visit 10+ years ago). However, we wanted to give proper attention to English classics including our favorite category of food – sweets. Now, we are no strangers to English candy, but we had not ventured far into the world of desserts, or as they are called locally – puddings. While in London, I popped into a bakery that specializes in English treats to brush up on my British baking knowledge: Peyton and Byrne (several locations, I visited 44 Wellington Street, Covent Garden). The case and bakery racks of this appealing cafe were full of delicious treats including familiar-to-Americans apple crumbles and cookies. However, there were some new treats including the Bakewell Tart, which looked too delicious to pass up.
The Bakewell Tart, which originated in Derbyshire, is tart with a shortbread crust, an almond filling and a layer of raspberry jam. On our trip, we saw Bakewell tarts in mini bite-sized versions (as above), or as larger tarts cut into wedges (as below). At Peyton and Byrne, they cut the pie into wedges (and top with almond slivers), which seems to make the perfect filling to crust ratio. We could tell the jam was homemade, and it perfectly complemented the frangipane filling. We found the Bakewell Tart to be perfectly delightful, or shall we say – moreish! There is a recipe for the Bakewell Tart in Peyton and Byrne’s book, British Baking, and recipes for traditional and exotic Bakewell Tarts abound online.
Anything with fresh fruit screams Summer to us, but we wanted to try something a little more complex than fresh berries on ice cream. With fresh raspberries on hand – we wanted to try something new – and what could be more elegant than a brown butter raspberry tart. We got the recipe from the June issue of Bon Appetit, which was chock full of fruit recipes. It was surprisingly easy to make – even though we are usually wary of making pie crusts. The brown butter, true to advertising, did add richness and depth of flavor to the filling. The nice appearance of our tart was aided by the meticulous styling by my sister A, who made sure to concentric raspberry circles were perfect. Though we usually don’t make pies, we were very impressed at how this one turned out – and we may venture into more advanced varieties soon.
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
- 2 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Using rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Using fingertips, press dough evenly onto sides and bottom of pan.
- Bake crust until golden, about 18 minutes (crust will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan. Maintain oven temperature.
- Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add flour and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Cook butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until deep nutty brown (do not burn), stirring often, about 6 minutes. Immediately pour browned butter into glass measuring cup. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.
- Arrange raspberries, pointed side up and close together in concentric circles, in bottom of cooled crust. Carefully pour browned butter mixture evenly over berries. Place tart on rimmed baking sheet. Bake tart until filling is puffed and golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool tart completely in pan on rack (The tart can be made in advance).
- Remove tart pan sides. Place tart on platter. Cut into wedges and serve