Rhubarb Bakewell Tart ♥

Can one uphold tradition while flouting it?

Meet the Bakewell Tart, an English favorite inimitably conjured by Becks & Posh, English Patis, Caper Berry Gravy and Sarah Discovers How to Eat along with the English-born Albion Cooks whose recipe I followed.

Despite all the tarty food bloggers, there's some fear that Bakewells are a dying (t)art. So the ever-so-English SpittoonExtra is encouraging a revival.

The traditional Bakewell Tart (or its country cousin, the Bakewell Pudding) begins with a pastry crust spread with strawberry or raspberry jam, then is topped with frangipane (a good English word if there ever were one ...) and then baked to fluff and fall.

But for a vegetable-obsessed blog like mine, where's the vegetable in a strawberry or raspberry tart? Enter rhubarb, botanically a vegetable even if often treated as a fruit! (And one of my favorite foods, to boot.) And so I cooked a thick rhubarb sauce to substitute for berry preserves ... with great success.

And I must say, when it comes to any fruit or rhubarb rendition of Bakewell Tart, I'm hooked. And from the way it was gobbled up recently -- after midnight, after a huge meal -- I'd say eight other friends might be too!

So yes, I believe that one can uphold tradition while gently flouting it ... with sincere apologies to Sam and others who feel otherwise ...

NUTRITION NOTES Nutrition? This tart includes a vegetable, doesn't it?!

NEXT TIME which there will definitely be another time ...
  • For doneness, I'll blind bake the pastry at high temperature for 10 minutes or so before adding the fruit.
  • For aesthetics, I'll top the frangipane with slivers of almond like Sam.

FOR THE RECORD The instructions look much more long and complicated than they really are. If you're not inclined to pastry, use a Pillsbury refrigerated crust rolled a bit thinner.

FROM THE ARCHIVES Yes, there are vegetable-based desserts, all in the Recipe Box.

See Albion Cooks' inspiration tart
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Total time: 1 hour plus 1 - 2 hours to cool before serving
Serves 12 (with smallish slices)

(can be done ahead of time)
1 pound fresh rhubarb, cut in one-inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of a lemon (important)

Cook the rhubarb in a saucepan until it begins to soften. (There's so much water in the rhubarb that you won't likely need to add any, especially if there's water still clinging to the stalks after washing it. Watch, however ...) Add the sugar and lemon zest and let sauce cook, uncovered, until quite thick and jam-like. Refrigerate to further thicken.

(can be made and blind baked a day ahead, you could also use your own unsweetened pastry or a commercial crust)

8 ounces all-purpose flour (yes, for the first time ever, I weighed the ingredients)
2 ounces sugar
4 ounces cold unsalted butter (1 stick) cut into small bits
Cold milk

(This is the Alton Brown technique for pastry.) In a food processor, whiz the the flour and sugar two or three times til mixed. Add half the butter and whiz two or three times til small crumbs form. Add the remaining butter and whiz two or three times until coarse chunks form. Transfer to a working bowl. A tablespoon at a time to start, add milk and gently mix into the flour-butter mixture with a wooden spoon until the dough can just be gathered together. Gather it into a ball, press flat to create a thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

(Note: If you need to grind the almonds for the frangipane, do so now while the food processor is out.)

Generously sprinkle a work surface with flour. Working quickly, use a floured rolling pin to roll out the pastry, working from the center out and turning the pastry a bit after each roll. (I usually turn it over once or twice as well.) When it's the right thickness, fold in half and then again. Transfer to an eight-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing into the fluted edges and cutting away the excess pastry.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes or tuck into the freezer for about 15 minutes. (NOTE: Prepare the frangipane while waiting for the pastry.)

Preheat the oven to 400F. (NOTE: These are the blind baking steps I didn't follow but they're a standard technique so I'll include them anyway.) Prick the bottom of the pastry about 10 times with the tines of a fork. (This lets air release from the pastry, helping it keep shape.) Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool a bit.

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces sugar
Juice of a lemon (about 2 tablespoons, important!)
3 eggs
4 ounces almonds, ground

Melt the butter in the microwave a large bowl, 10 seconds at a time. Mix in the sugar and lemon juice and beat with an electric mixer until butter is cooled a bit. Add the eggs and beat until thick and pale yellow, a couple of minutes. Add the almonds and combine well.

Spread the slightly cooled tart with the rhubarb sauce. Gently pour the frangipane mixture over top of the rhubarb sauce. Bake for 25 - 35 minutes or until the filling is set and golden. Cool before removing the sides of the tart pan.

Per Serving: 369 Cal (52% from Fat, 7% from Protein, 41% from Carb); 6 g Protein; 22 g Tot Fat; 11 g Sat Fat; 38 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb36; 72 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 27 mg Sodium; 103 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 8.5 points

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Thank you for this. A few summers ago, I ate my weight in Mr. Kipling Cherry Bakewell Tarts. I haven't had anything like it since.

  2. Well hey Ms St Louisan! Cherry sounds GREAT ... BTW watch for a piece of mine in the July issue of Sauce. More veggies!

  3. That's funny - I am in the middle of making my bakewells RIGHT NOW. The pastry is just cooling in the freezer. I am trying an experiment with mini Bakewells this time round, I hope they turn out ok. I never did actually find any rhubarb :(

  4. Yummy! I love the rhubarb idea! I must try this!

  5. My Dad sourced a pile of rhubarb so it'll be rhubarb everything for a few days. And the pile of bananas he's been ripening for a couple of weeks. And two lugs of Illinois peaches I'm carrying north. LOTS OF PIE ahead! Or hmm. Peach Bakewell. That's got a certain ring! Can anyone tell I'm signing off for vacation? Ta ta!

  6. I agree, fantasic idea using Rhubarb!

  7. I must make my Bakewell within the next few days, too. I love the sound of rhubarb tart, but as it's my first time to cook this particular cake, I'll stick with raspberry jam. Next time:)

  8. AnonymousJune 28, 2006

    Thanks for the link to frangipane. I've baked for years, seen the term,a nd was afraid to ask anyone thinking it would be some high falutin' intimidating thing. When I saw the definition I smacked myself in the forehead and said OUT LOUD "Oh crap, I've been making that for years and didn't know it was called frangipane!" You made my day.

  9. This looks perfect!

  10. Oh, this sounds sooo good! And i found your recipe just in time - my rhubarb is just begging to be harvested.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna