Sunday, 13 January 2019

Gluten Free? Don't go to Bakewell for Bakewell Tart.... You can make your own at home!

The pretty little town of Bakewell in Derbyshire is the birth place of and synonymous with the Bakewell Tart.... A crisp, short, pastry case filled with a generous layer of raspberry or strawberry jam and topped to the brim with soft, moist, luscious almond frangipane. It seems however, that their ability to bake gluten free pastry is fundamentally flawed!

During a recent stay with relatives nearby, we did our best to pay homage to the humble Bakewell Tart and on a visit to the town, went on a google-supported search for a gluten free version of this tasty treasure. Ecstatic to find that the Bakewell Pudding Parlour had what we were looking for, we snapped up a gluten free Bakewell Tart and took it home with anticipation.... for tea.

When the time for the much awaited dessert came, it was Miss GF who took up the honours to slice and share..... As she worked her way from small'ish knife to heavier and sharper options, we realised we had been duped! This was neither a cuttable or edible tart, but (I think) merely a frisbee, masquerading as a tempting and delicious treat. In all honesty, it was the worst gluten free pastry I have ever eaten and I was grateful we had not been pulled over by the police for being in possession of an offensive weapon. I mean seriously.... check this out :

Now I know that I bake gluten free all the time, but pastry is really not rocket science and I am truly dumbfounded that a professional bakery could make such a hash of it and further, that they would deem it worthy to be sold in their well-renowned premises. It was stupidly expensive too! Frankly, we are worth more...

Returning home after the break, I remained disappointed that we had not got to enjoy this craved pie and immediately sought to rectify the matter by making my own. I scoured the internet for traditional recipes and then tweaked and played with the ingredients to make it our own. Well..... why chase after something you actually can't have?

I have several suitable pastry recipes on Gluten Free Alchemist which would have sufficed, but as this was now elevated to a special tart, I decided to develop a new gluten free short crust, especially suited to the flavours it would contain, but also embracing nutritious alternatives to rice-based flour blends and still bakable to crisp, dry perfection. So with this post, I introduce to you my Sweet Rice-Free, Gluten Free Almond Pastry. It handles incredibly well and not only has an amazing texture (no 'grittiness' here), but also a flavour that is mild and smooth and ensures that the filling remains the star of the show.

Whilst I could have made my own jam, I decided to use a shop-bought top-of-the-range version... A fruit-weighted raspberry conserve that I lavishly layered across the blind-baked pastry base.

My Frangipane was a triumph. Baked to a very slight wobble, it remained soft and sumptuously moist, shot through with the heady scent and rich flavour of almond, hintingly offset by a citrus tang. If I'm honest, I am not sure the Bakewell Bakewell Tarts we saw (with or without gluten) could have come close. This was home-baked perfection... and we enjoyed every bite, whether on its own, with custard, or with cream.

The moral of this story? Don't go to Bakewell for Bakewell Tart. You can make your own at home and without a doubt, it will not only be better, but will leave you with a happy head and heart.

I am sharing my gluten free Bakewell Tart with :


Cook Blog Share with Everyday Healthy Recipes
Bake of the Week with Casa Costello and Mummy Mishaps
Baking Crumbs with Jo's Kitchen Larder and Apply to Face Blog  


Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching For Spice
Got To Be Gluten Free with Glutarama
Fiesta Friday #258 with Angie and Life Diet Health

What's for Dinner? #183 with The Lazy Gastronome

Bakewell Tart (make one 10 inch or one 8 inch + two 4 inch tarts)


Sweet rice-free GF almond pastry
130g GF rice-free flour blend (mix as in this post)
50g corn flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
pinch fine sea salt
40g ground almonds
110g unsalted butter - cold cubed
60g golden caster sugar
1 large egg
1½ tablespoons very cold water

1 jar good quality raspberry jam

150g unsalted butter - softened
150g golden caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 1½ teaspoons almond extract
3 large eggs - at room temperature
150g ground almonds
45g GF rice-free flour blend (mix as in this post)
pinch fine sea salt
finely grated zest 1 lemon

2 tablespoons raw flaked almonds
icing sugar to dust


  1. Pastry : In a large bowl, mix together the flours, xanthan gum, salt and ground almonds.
  2. Rub the butter cubes into the dry mix using finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
  3. Add the sugar and stir to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and cold water.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the egg-water mix.
  6. Use a flat-bladed knife to blend the ingredients until they bind into a slightly sticky dough. Using flour dusted hands, knead briefly to ensure an even texture.
  7. Do not chill. 
  8. Roll out (between 2 sheets of liberally flour-dusted clingfilm) to a size large enough to line the base and sides of the pie tin (if making more than one tart, split the pastry dough and roll each piece separately).
  9. Remove the top sheet of clingfilm and flip the pastry over into the tin, gently easing into the base and up the sides until it fits snuggly. Try and remove the clingfilm, but if the pastry has stuck to the base, just pop the whole thing into the fridge for about half an hour and the clingfilm should then come away easily. (Repeat the process for any additional tart cases).
  10. Trim the top edge of the pastry and place in the fridge to firm up for about half an hour.
  11. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
  12. Line your raw pastry cases with baking paper and baking beans and blind-bake by cooking for 10 minutes, before turning the oven down to 180 C/ 350 F/Gas 4, removing the baking beans and paper and baking for a further 5 to 10 minutes, until the pastry is golden and dry.
  13. Remove the pastry case from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. 
  14. Once cool, smooth a generous layer of jam evenly across the base of the pastry case.
  15. Frangipane filling : Preheat the oven to 190 C/375 F/Gas 5.
  16. In a large bowl, use a whisk to cream together the butter, caster sugar, vanilla and almond extracts until light.
  17. Blend the eggs together in a small bowl with a fork and then add a little at a time, beating through with a whisk to fully combine with the butter mix.
  18. Separately mix together the ground almonds, flour, salt and lemon zest and add to the batter mix, folding through with a wooden/silicone spoon to blend.
  19. Fill each tart base (on top of the jam) with frangipane batter and smooth the top. Sprinkle with flaked almonds to decorate.
  20. Bake for 20 to 35 minutes (depending on the size of the tart) until the frangipane is set and golden.
  21. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and dusting with icing sugar. Serve warm or cold. Delicious 'neat' or with custard.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-19 unless otherwise indicated


  1. That looks and sounds lovely, Kate. I've never eaten proper Bakewell Tart, not even in my gluten-eating days, but it does look very tempting. Thank you for sharing the recipe and happy 2019!

    1. Thank you Helen. If you have never tried Bakewell, then it may be time to indulge. If you love almond and jam, you will love this!
      Happy 2019 to you too and sorry for the humungous delay in response xx

  2. This looks amazing!! I could use a slice or two. :D Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday party!

  3. Oh! My! Gosh! Seriously Kate was that the pie you bought - it sounded rock solid!? That is awful! I hope you sent them a copy of the video!!! ...and then asked them if they wanted to buy your delicious recipe! Your pastry sounds so good - so much better to make your own! :D Thanks for linking and sharing with us at Fiesta |Friday this week.

    1. Ha ha! Yes.... it was a bit of a disastrous buy. I put the video all over social media and tagged the bakery in where they had accounts, but I heard nothing back.... not even an apology! Oh well.... Not the best marketing for them xx

  4. This looks absolutely amazing. I love the thick layer of jam! I could just do with that big slice right now!

    1. Thanks Cat. I loved the thick jam layer, although hubby was way too virtuous to agree xx

  5. Looks delicious and so few ingredients, which I love in dessert recipes! Thank you for bringing your lovely recipe to #CookBlogShare

  6. It is amazing that there are still cafes out there expecting you to be pathetically grateful for any GF offerings as though there aren't fantastic GF bakes to be had now and the bar is raised much higher. Your bakewell tart looks superb - perhaps you could open a GF bakewell tart shop in Bakewell if you ever want a change of career :-)

    1. I know! There really is no excuse for it is there?!
      A change of career may just be on the cards as my day job has just been 'deleted'! And yes.... that is the word they used.
      Maybe Bakewell is beckoning! x

  7. It is such a shame you got such a horrible Bakewell tart in Bakewell, especially as we were on holiday there last summer and I know the ones with gluten in are fantastic! At least you got to eat a delicious one at home anyway. Thanks for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice!

    1. Absolutely Corina. I remember the glutenous ones from my pre-GF days and was really hoping they would come good with a safe version. Disappointment was my first reaction and then we realised the pastry was so bad, that it was actually quite funny! x

  8. Gosh, now that's a Bakewell Tart.It looks simply magnificent. So moist and full of almond flavour. The pastry is a triumph too! Loving your pics. The pinnacle of home cooking. I often think that michelin stars should be available for home cooking and this is one of those times! Thank you for sharing this beauty with #BakingCrumbs

    1. Thanks Jenny. Blush! Although it was rather a triumph..... x

  9. That looks phenomenal Kate, I was in stitches when I saw your video of the now famous GF Bakewell Tart...shocking (but as I say, funny too!) This tart is perfection, the right amount of pastry, a perfect layer of jam and fluffy sponge. Goodness I'm craving a huge wedge of this right now!

    1. Thanks Rebecca. The shop bought one is still bringing me endless laughter. I am so glad I filmed it!
      And so glad that I made my own version. It was sooooo good! x

  10. Happy New Year to you. I do like a good bakewell tart, but haven't made one in a long while. Yours looks wonderful Kate. I am disappointed for you that the one you had was terrible in Bakewell of all places, but glad you saw the funny side too.

    1. Thanks Shaheen. And Happy New Year to you too (sorry it is now mid-February and I have only just got round to responding too!)
      The funny side was definitely the better response..... It would have been good to have a nice tart, but at least it made us laugh xx

  11. It looks like an award winning Bakewell Tart Kate! I love frangipane and any almondy bakes for that matter and could devour a huge slice of this one for sure. Love how beautifully moist the filling is and how perfect your pastry looks too! Your little video made me laugh although, I can imagine how disappointing it must have been at the time especially as you were looking forward to a lovely treat. I'm glad you went and created this delight afterwards though! Thank you for sharing with #BakingCrumbs :) x

    1. Thanks Jo. Me too.... Frangipane is one of my favourites..... I should make it more often!
      I am so glad I filmed the brick-tart though.... It may just have me laughing for years to come xx

  12. The tart looks so gorgeous and am sure it tastes heavenly

  13. I really miss Bakewell Tarts! I really need to find a vegan version too! This looks amazing hun!

    1. Absolutely Midge..... I am sure if anyone can make a vegan version, you can!!!! x

  14. Oh no! That's terrible. I had to laugh at your video, but really bakeries need to learn a thing or two. In my experience homemade anything is usually, although not exclusively, better. Yours looks truly sumptuous.

    1. I know Choclette.... I can't believe a bakery could be willing to sell something so awful. Still..... the home-made tart more than made up for it and at least we had a good laugh! x


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