When I conjure up an image in my head of a stay at home mum, they can almost always bake (maybe they don’t all bake in real life but this is how I imagine them). So in my quest to be a good stay at home mum I would like to be a better baker. As mentioned in my intro I am not the best baker in the world, I have improved since my first attempt but I rely on my husband’s help a lot as he is much more experience than me. I can’t remember why but for some reason a couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted to make a Bakewell tart, something I have never attempted before. We had invited my mum and brother round for a roast dinner on Mother’s day so decided this would be the perfect occasion to try and make one.
My mum makes a lovely Bakewell tart, so I thought I’d ask her for the recipe, seemed a good idea, but, well it turns out she has lost her recipe book with the Bakewell tart recipe in (I only found this out afterwards) so I got a very vague description, that you use the recipe for a Victoria sponge but halve the flour and use the rest of ground almonds. Ummmm how do you make a Victoria sponge? 4444 apparently. I’m sure that means a lot to some people but to me it was like telling me in Russian. According to mum this is 4oz caster sugar, 4oz butter, 4 eggs and 4oz self-raising flour – which for a bakewell tart you halve and then use 2oz ground almonds.
This sounds simple but I am a bit of a planner and wanted more detail, so I turned to my trusty friend Google to find a recipe that backed mum up (none of our cookbooks at home seem to have a bakewell tart recipe in randomly). But none did, although I did find an article on Waitrose that said there doesn’t seem to be much consensus on what the correct ingredients are. Great! Helpful! I relooked through our cookbooks and a Mary Berry one did have one for Bakewell slices, which did seem to slightly correspond to mum’s version of the recipe, with the addition of baking powder so I though ah well let’s just give it a go!
It is worth mentioning at this point that Monkey is poorly (yes, again!) with a terrible tummy bug, won’t go into too many details but he really hasn’t been well so the routine has been a bit shot and both Daddy and I have been covered in output from one end or the other. Yesterday (Saturday) we popped to my lovely in-laws for lunch to see Granny for mothers’ day, but well I ended up eating lunch in Granny’s dressing gown and socks as my clothes were a bit vomit covered.
So it was that Saturday afternoon with Monkey asleep earlier than usual, hubby and I decided to have a bash at the Bakewell tart. I measured the ingredients and we mixed it up, though it definitely seemed a bit sloppy. Hubby then asked “Is there no sugar in this recipe” my reply, “err yes, oops”. Yep great start, I had forgotten to add sugar to the recipe. I blame the fact that my mind was on the monkey at the time. Seemed a bit thicker but still quite gloopy but what do I know, maybe it is meant to look like that?
I very nearly handed over the reins to hubby at this point to roll the pastry (No, we didn’t make our own, Hubby’s business partner went on a pastry course a while ago and the master chefs there advised that for all the effort it takes to make good pastry, it won’t be better than bought, so just buy it. Good enough for me!) mainly because I have had disastrous attempts at rolling icing and pastry in the past and it has ended up stuck to the worktop etc. But no, this is my tart, I am going to do it. To avoid previous mistakes I put quite a bit of flour on the worktop, ok, well, loads, which hubby found very amusing, but voila the pastry came out alright
We added the mixture to the pastry, very proud of ourselves, but d’oh! We didn’t put the jam in. What kind of Bakewell tart is it without Jam??? A rubbish one. We discussed putting the jam on top of the sponge, before we ice it, but that feels wrong. I suggested tipping out the mixture so we can put the jam where it should be and my husband found this hilarious, what a silly idea. Then all of a sudden he was on board. He had come up with a plan, it’s all about the tool, we need a flexible tool. So with a flexible plastic spatula we tipped/gently scraped out the mixture. We then put the jam in and the mixture back on top. What a palaver!
It seemed to cook ok (thanks to mum’s vague directions we guestimated temperature and cooking time, not recommended when baking!) and looked pretty good when it came out of the oven. By this point monkey was awake so daddy fed him while I iced it. In hindsight I think the icing was a bit too runny as it drifted off to the sides, but that’s all appearance right? It needs the taste test but that had to wait until today.
We had a terrible night with our poorly monkey, have been up since about 4/430 with a fever and horribleness and spoke to the GP out of hours at one point but thankfully by about 7am he managed a little bit of food and started to feel much better. Phew! Had a lovely roast lunch planned, with Cider braised ham (one of our faves) with my mum and older brother coming round. We briefly debated calling it off but decided what’s the point in that? These things happen and we are knackered but more people means more hands to help entertain the little one so while he was down for a very early nap we cracked on with the days plans.
To cut a long story short we had a lovely yummy Mothers’ Day lunch and the Bakewell tart, while it wouldn’t win any beauty contests, did taste pretty darn lovely I may be being hard on myself but I thought it tasted a bit soggy and maybe too spongy so maybe 4 large eggs was too many? Anyway everyone else was full of praise (hopefully not just being polite!) and one of brother in laws came round later in the afternoon to help entertain the monkey (mummy & daddy are definitely flagging now!) and it definitely got his seal of approval.
Definitely room for improvement but not bad for a first try!