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Named after the Derbyshire town of Bakewell, this old-school jammy treat sounds like some kind of iron-clad guarantee of recipe success. Funnily enough, all historical references suggest the tart originates from a cook’s error, rather than by design. As with many old-fashioned or classic dishes, the veracity of these references is a little murky. One tale, dating back to the 1820s, tells of a Mrs Greaves of the White Horse Inn instructing her inexperienced servant to make a jam tart. Unsupervised, the servant put the jam in the base of the tart, rather than using it as a topping. The busy Mrs Greaves served the tart anyway, and the rest, as they say, is history. An alternate version has a nobleman ordering a jam tart in the 1860s, with a similar mix-up being made in the haste to serve him his order. This, though, is unlikely, as English cook and poet Eliza Acton gave a recipe for it more than a decade earlier.
History aside, this dish has stood the test of time for good reason. While a strawberry jam is traditional, there’s really no hard and fast rule. The most important thing is to use a good-quality jam. We’ve made a batch of sweetly sour tangelo jam, but you could substitute your own favourite jam recipe or even a shop-bought conserve that you love.
The frangipane topping uses enough almonds to warrant buying the freshest you can get – just make sure you bake it only until it’s light golden so it doesn’t become dry.
We’ve dressed ours up with fresh tangelos that have been simmered in a light caramel, but you could simply dust the tart with icing sugar and serve it otherwise unadorned.
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