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 Funnily enough, all historical references suggest the tart originates from a cook’s error, rather than by design.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.
From the tangy jam filling to the almond topping and the dressing of syrupy fresh tangelos, the name says it all.