Greengage jam Bakewell tart

Here’s the latest of my contributions to Borough Market’s blog and recipe collection. I fancied consuming a few seasonal greengages – and generally see using them in tarts as a good way of doing that. Have a scroll, then take a look at Borough’s website for more inspiration during August.

“This recipe may well be seen as blaspheme by my cousins from Derbyshire.

My flirt with controversy is down to the fact I’ve ditched the conventional Bakewell tart raspberry jam base for a thoroughly seasonal and really very pleasant greengage alternative.

Then again, if they can’t decide whether the town gave birth to an eponymous flakey pastry pudding or short crust tart, maybe the jam filling is the least of my or their worries.

Greengages are plentiful during August. If you haven’t tried them before, you should. I recommend you buy a kilo from one of the market’s fruit and veg stalls, eat half of them raw and make jam with the rest (see recipe below). When eaten fresh, you’ll find them juicy and aromatic. They’re occasionally a little tart, but generally just a sweet, almost honey flavoured plum. When cooked down into a jam or conserve, that honey comes through even more, along with a fair amount of apricot.

Greengage jam layer

Make the jam in advance. It’s very easy, though you ought to use an old school jam thermometer or a digital Thermapen so you can be confident the setting point has been reached. Also make sure you add the squeeze of lemon juice indicated in the recipe below, as this tops up the fruit’s natural pectin level.

I’ve included my trusted shortcrust pastry recipe. It is very short (the pastry that is; the recipe is medium-ish), so you need to make sure you follow the refrigeration instructions. Don’t worry if you can’t line the tart case with the pastry in one piece. Just patch it up before you blind bake. Then all you need to do is fill the tart case with the lovely jam and almond sponge mix and bake until golden brown.

This is lovely when gently reheated and served with cold crème fraiche … though I always think Bakewell tart is even better when a day old and fridge cold.”

Greengage jam Bakewell tart (serves 10-12)

For the jam

(creates around twice as much as you need for the tart. Yum)

  • 500g greengages
  • 380g caster sugar
  • 30ml water
  • Juice from ¼ of a lemon

De-stone the greengages. Pop them in a heavy based milk pan / sauce pan. Add the sugar and the water and place on a low flame. Gently stir so that the sugar dissolves.

Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and bring the greengages and liquid to the boil. Boil for around fifteen to twenty minutes until the temperature of the ingredients reaches 105C. Stir occasionally just to ensure no sugar is caramelizing / burning on the side, nor the fruit catching on the bottom of the pan.

When the ingredients are at 105C, turn the heat off. Add the lemon juice, decant to a bowl or two sterilised jam jars and allow to cool and set before using.

For the tart shell

You will need a 24cm diameter, 4cm deep loose bottomed tart mould

  • 125g unsalted butter (cubed and cold)
  • 250g plain flour
  • 75g icing sugar
  • pinch of table salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbspns cold milk

Sieve the flour, salt and icing sugar from a height into a large mixing bowl then add the butter cubes. Rub these ingredients together using the tips of your fingers until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the centre. Mix the egg yolks and cold milk in a bowl. Add about half into the well and work into the flour, sugar a butter mixture. Add the rest of the egg mixture gradually. You may not need it all. Pat and push the pastry dough together into a ball. Don’t overwork the pastry, else it’ll be springy, rather than short. Cling film the pastry ball and put it into the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, roll the pastry ball out on a cold, floured surface until it’s about 5mm thick and plenty big enough to line your tin. This is really short pastry, so you need to be quick, firm and confident.

Gently roll the pastry backwards over your rolling pin and line the tin. Trim so that you leave only 1cm of pastry beyond the height of the mould. Patch any gaps that you may have with pastry trim. Freeze for at least 15 minutes and pre heat your oven to 180C.

Bake your tart shell blind: lined with grease proof paper and ceramic beans, rice or dried pulses. Cook for 10 mins. Remove the paper and beans/rice/pulse and cook for 5 mins more. Remove from the oven, trim off the overhang with a sharp knife and allow to cool.

For the filling

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 210g caster sugar
  • 210g ground almonds
  • 40g plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g greengage jam

Turn the oven down to 150C

Cream the butter and sugar together (ideally using a food mixer – on the lowest setting). Gradually add and incorporate the almonds and then the plain flour. Then add the eggs, one by one, waiting till all the liquid is taken up by the butter and almond mix before adding the next egg.

Spoon the greengage jam over the cool tart shell, making sure there’s even coverage. Then gently drop large spoons of the almond mix on top of the jam (if you just scoop it all out, you may disperse the jam). Prod all of the almond splodges together and even out the top with a palette knife.

Bake the tart in the middle of the 150C oven for 55-60 minutes – until the top is a lovely golden brown and just set. Allow to cool (it will carry on cooking). Either reheat in a very low oven (60C) and serve just warm with crème fraiche, or cold with warm custard.