Christmas Bakewell Tart
A classic British dessert with a festive twist! An aromatic gingerbread tart case is filled with a layer of luscious cranberry jam and topped with citrussy frangipane and fresh cranberries. Serve with a dollop of vegan cream for a show-stopping festive dessert.
Bakewell tart is one of my all-time favourite desserts, so I decided to give it a Christmassy twist.
Traditionally, this tart has a layer of raspberry jam on the pastry base which is then covered with a creamy frangipane. I've replaced the raspberry jam with cranberry jam, added some warming, Christmassy spices to the crust and gave the frangipane a citrussy kick. The combination of festive flavours captures the essence of Christmas perfectly. If you're looking for a show-stopping dessert, this Christmas Bakewell Tart is the ultimate treat for the festive season!
How does Christmas Bakewell Tart Taste?
A flaky shortcrust pastry case is delicately flavoured with festive spices, giving it a subtle gingerbread flavour. The spiced pastry case is filled with luscious cranberry sauce, and topped with a velvety and citrussy frangipane. The cranberry sauce gives a lovely tartness and sweetness, and the citrussy frangipane balances out the sweetness and creates a lovely creamy contrast to the flaky crust.
What is Frangipane?
Frangipane is a variation of soft, spreadable custard that bakers commonly use as a filling in tarts, galettes, and puff pastries. Frangipane is a mixture of butter, eggs, ground almonds and sugar. I created an egg-free frangipane for this recipe, and it turned out just as delicious!
How to Store Christmas Bakewell Tart
The tart is best eaten on the day its baked or the following day, as the crust will lose its crispness the longer it’s left to wait. If you’re not eating it right away, you can store it for 2-3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Can this Christmas Bakewell Tart be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze tart, but as I’ve mentioned before, this tart is most delicious when it’s eaten fresh. If you’re going to freeze it, then wait for it to cool down completely after it’s been baked, then place it in a container or wrap in in cling film, and store in the freezer for up to a month. To defrost this tart, remove it from the freezer and leave out room temperature for around 4 hours, or until it’s thawed.
Can I use Store-bought Shortcrust Pastry for this Tart?
Yes, ready-to-roll shortcrust pastry can be used instead of making your own. If you want to save even more time, you could use a ready baked pastry crust, but I promise you it won’t taste as good as a homemade pie crust.
Christmas Bakewell Tart Ingredients
Here’s everything you’ll need for this recipe – consider it your shopping list!
For the Shortcrust pastry:
Plain flour – Used to make the vegan shortcrust pastry. You could also use wholemeal flour.
Sugar – a bit of soft brown sugar will give the shortcrust pastry a subtle sweetness and a rich taste. You could use caster sugar instead of soft brown sugar.
Vegan block butter – I used the Flora vegan butter block, but any plant-based butter will do. using a block butter will give the shortcrust pastry a light and crumbly texture. I wouldn’t recommend using margarine as it won’t create the same outcome.
Sunflower or Vegetable oil – I find that adding a bit of oil to the dough helps to give to shortcrust pastry a flaky texture.
Spices – I’ve used a combination of ground ginger, cinnamon, and allspice to give the shortcrust pastry that classic gingerbread flavour.
For the filling:
Homemade or shop-bought cranberry jam – I’ve used my shop-bought cranberry jam, but cranberry sauce would also work.
Ground Almond – the ground almonds are what gives the frangipane a velvety and light texture.
Baking powder - additional raising agents will lighten the texture of the frangipane.
Plain flour – flour is added to the bind the ingredients in the frangipane and to give it a firmer texture.
Unsweetened Almond Milk- Unsweetened almond milk is my go-to plant-based milk when it comes to cooking and baking. Depending on which brand you use, the taste is quite mild so it’s great for both sweet and savoury dishes. You could substitute almond milk with other neutral tasting, unsweetened plant-based milks such as oat or soy milk.
Golden Syrup – used to sweeten the frangipane. I wouldn’t recommend substituting the golden syrup with granulated sugar or fruit syrups, but you could use maple syrup instead.
Vanilla extract – the vanilla extract adds a lovely flavour, but it is optional. You could use almond extract instead.
Orange zest – the orange zest adds a lovely festive flavour to the frangipane.
For the toppings:
Fresh cranberries – not only do the fresh cranberries look beautiful on top of the tart, but they also add extra tartness and a lovely texture when baked.
How to make Christmas Bakewell Tart
To make the gingerbread shortcrust pastry, place the flour, spices, soft brown sugar, salt, vegan butter, sunflower oil and 2-3 tbsp cold water in a large bowl & mix until the ingredients start to come together. Knead the dough for a few minutes until a smooth dough has formed. Cover the dough with cling film & place in fridge to chill for15 mins.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Lightly dust a clean surface or a large piece of baking paper with flour and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to create a ½ cm thick circle big enough to fit a 20cm (8 inch) tart tin. Lift away the dough using the rolling pin and place into the tart tin. Don’t worry if the dough breaks apart – just use leftover pieces of the dough to fill in any cracks. Press edges down and trim away the excess dough. Prick the base of the pastry shell with a fork. Line the pastry case with a large piece of baking paper – to make it easier to remove the baking beans, make sure the baking paper is large enough to extend out from the sides of the pastry case. Fill the lined pastry case with baking beans, and then place in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the baking paper and baking beans, and bake for 7 more minutes until lightly golden. Use any leftover dough to create decorative shapes to add on top of the frangipane, and bake them for 5-7 minutes.
Remove the shortcrust pastry from the oven, and let it cool down for 10 minutes. Once the crust has cooled down, evenly spread 8-9 tbsp of cranberry jam along the base.
To make the frangipane, combine the ground almonds with the plain flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, golden syrup, orange zest and almond milk. spoon the frangipane on top of the cranberry jam layer and spread it evenly. Start by filling the edges with frangipane to prevent the cranberry jam from moving around too much.
Arrange the fresh cranberries and shortcrust pastry leaves on top in a decorative manner. Bake the tart at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4, for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is set and the top is lightly golden. Allow to cool down for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Notes and Tips
I’d recommend you use a tart tin with a removable loose bottom so that the Bakewell tart is easier to remove once it’s baked.
I recommend using the gram measurements, rather than the cup conversions. When it comes to baking, accuracy is key, and cups conversions are never as accurate as grams.
For the best, crispy pastry, make sure that you don’t overwork the dough. Before rolling the dough out, place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
When rolling out the dough, make sure to keep it about ½ cm thick – if the pastry is too thick, it won’t cook through, and it’ll be hard to slice.
Make sure your vegan butter and milk are chilled when preparing the shortcrust pastry as it’ll give it a crisper texture when baked.