What do you think of when I say Cherry Bakewell? The factory-made treats with a neat circle of fondant icing and sticky, bright red glacé cherry on top? Or the proper Derbyshire Bakewell Tart, a sweet pastry case filled with jam and almond frangipane? These are very much the latter, with a lovely vegan almond sponge on top of fresh cherries and cherry jam.
These pretty little tarts are surprisingly easy to make, and are as good served hot with a dollop of soya custard or vegan ice cream for a crowd-pleasing dessert as they are cold for a cake sale or to take into the office.
The idea to make mini Cherry Bakewell Tarts came from the very beautiful Vanilla Black cookbook. I vegan-ised the recipe, and cut out quite a few of the steps which I didn’t have time for, (but I’m sure would make these out-of-this-world), like making homemade pastry, rolling it out between two squares of parchment to get it extra-thin, toasting the ground almonds in the oven before putting them into the frangipane topping, making your own cherry jam, etc.
I’ve used soya yoghurt as an egg replacer in the frangipane, as I did in my super-popular Ultimate Vegan Victoria Sponge recipe, (which has been getting so many visitors in the last few weeks…. I think it must be the Great British Bake Off effect!!).
These don’t have to be cherry bakewells…. they would be lovely with fresh raspberries and raspberry jam, or strawberries, blackberries or whatever combination of those you fancy.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted that my frangipane topping sunk a little in the middle. Don’t worry, that’s nothing to do with the recipe, (I have made them again since to double-check!), but simply because I lost track of time and had to take them out of the oven half way through cooking to dash off to the school run. Oops!
- 320 g ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry (check it is vegan)
- 90 g ground almonds
- 90 g self-raising flour
- 125 g caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 100 g soya yoghurt
- 125 ml sunflower oil
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 100 g fresh cherries (or frozen cherries, defrosted)
- 12 tbsp cherry jam
- 50 g flaked almonds
- icing sugar to dust
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4. Grease a 12-hole muffin tray generously with dairy-free margarine or brush with sunflower oil.
- Dust the pastry sheet with a little flour and roll it out just a little more thinly with a rolling pin. Cut out 12 circles just a little larger than the holes of your muffin tin, (you can cut around a glass, cup or small saucer if you don't have the right size pastry cutter). Press each circle carefully into one of the holes, pushing the pastry right into the edges for a neat fit. (You can line the tin with cupcake cases if you prefer, or squares of baking parchment as I did). Place the tray into the freezer or fridge to chill whilst you prepare the fillings.
- In a large bowl, mix the ground almonds, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until fully combined. In a jug, whisk together the soya yoghurt, oil and almond extract, then tip this mixture into the bowl and mix everything together with a metal spoon until a fairly smooth batter has formed, (don't worry if there are a few lumps remaining).
- Remove the stones from the cherries and quarter them.
- Remove the pastry cases from the freezer/fridge and spoon 1 tbsp of cherry jam into the bottom of each one. Divide the fresh cherries between the 12 pastry cases, then spoon over the batter. Top each tart with flaked almonds.
- Bake the tarts for 25-30 minutes (or until a skewer inserted into the sponge topping comes out clean). If the flaked almonds turn too brown before the tarts are cooked, cover the tray with foil.
- Let the tarts cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then carefully remove onto a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve whilst still slightly warm.
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