Valentine’s Day. Love it, hate it, there’s no escaping it. So we’ve got a Valentine’s #SundaySupper to help you enjoy it. Hosted by Jen of Juanita’s Cocina, there are a record number of sweet treats on the menu this week. My offering is no exception, but I’ve kept it quintessentially British, with just a few Valentine’s tweaks.
I’m not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. I’m just not a hearts and flowers girl. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a dreamer with a penchant for pretty things, but I dislike the saccharine pink commercialisation of Valentine’s Day. It’s also a day of mixed emotions for me, because Valentine’s Day was my Grandad’s birthday. This will be the second year we will spend it without him.
However, I like that it is a celebration of love, and that it reminds people to say: I love you. It’s something we should do a lot more of.
It’s also given me the perfect excuse to experiment with Bakewell Tarts, a classic British teatime treat which is not-quite-a-pastry, not-quite-a-cake, but a bit of a mixture of both.
Originating from the town of Bakewell, in Derbyshire’s Peak District (a wonderful area of the country to visit), a traditional Bakewell tart consists of a sweetcrust pastry base, spread with a layer of jam and topped with frangipane. It can then either be sprinkled with flaked almonds before baking and be served warm with cream or custard, or it can be finished with icing and a cherry. Numerous adaptations on this theme exist, but it is the layers of pastry, jam and frangipane which make a Bakewell Tart – and it is a divine combination.
I’ve made miniature versions, partly because it’s easier when working with gluten-free pastry, and partly because I wanted to decorate them in a couple of different ways. I’ve conceded to Valentine’s Day with glace-cherry hearts and pink icing, but they’re not overly cutesy, I hope!
For the sweetcrust pastry:
For the filling:
First, make the pastry. Rub the flour, icing sugar and butter together between your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well andtip in the egg. Use a spoon/spatula to combine the egg. Add a very small amount of milk and bring together to form a round ball of dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease two cupcake tins.
When the pastry has rested, lightly flour a worktop and roll it out quite thinly. Use a small fluted cutter to cut out circles. Lightly press the pastry circles into the tins, then spread a small amount of jam onto the base of each one. Use about half a teaspoon of jam per tart.
To make the frangipane, Cream the butter and caster sugar until soft and airy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. add a small amount of the ground almonds with the eggs. Then add the remaining ground almonds and fold in, incorporating plenty of air. Crush a few flaked almonds and lightly stir in, along with 2 drops of almond essence.
Place a generous teaspoon of the frangipane into each pastry case so that it completely covers the jam. Bake for about 10-15 mins until the pastry is cooked and the frangipane is golden and spongy.
Turn the tarts out onto a wire rack to cool.
Cut the glace cherries into heart shapes (cut a tapered sliver off each side, then a small triangle in the top – great tip from my 14-year-old brother, who cut the cherries for me!)
When the tarts have completely cooled, make some glace icing by mixing icing sugar with a small amount of water, until just runny enough to ice the tarts. Cover half the tarts with white icing and top with the cherry hearts.
Add some pink/red food colouring to the remaining glace icing and stir well. Use this to ice the remaining tarts, and arrange two almond flakes on each to resemble hearts.
Of course, you can experiment with decoration as much as you wish; these are just the two Valentine’s ideas I came up with! Cherries on white icing are traditional for iced Bakewells.
Enjoy with a cup of English Breakfast Tea.
For more Valentine’s ideas, look no further - there are even some savoury dishes for those of you without a sweet tooth!
#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Breakfasts, Apps & Main Dishes:
#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Sweet Eats:
#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Drinks:
#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Tablescape: A Romantic Table For Two Please from An Appealing Plan
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, February 10th to talk all about Valentine’s eats and treats! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos!