Easter is the perfect time of year for experimenting with sweet treats, but while we love Easter eggs (mmm, Easter eggs), all of that chocolate can get a bit much. Why not try out an alternative with our latest Recipe of the Week?
Jo-Anne’s Cherry and Almond Simnel Tart is a fantastic updated version of the classic Bakewell tart. The pastry is quick and easy to make, and the finished tart is the perfect treat to have on offer for any unexpected visitors.
225g plain flour
110g unsalted butter
110g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
100g butter, softened plus extra for greasing
100g caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
100g ground almonds
10g plain flour
1tsp almond extract
A dash of rum (optional)
200g marzipan (cut into small cubes)
2 heaped tbsp cherry conserve
30g flaked almonds
50g icing sugar
For the sweet pastry:
- In a food mixer, combine the flour, butter and sugar until breadcrumbs, add the egg yolks and mix until combined, you may need to add an extra egg yolk if the ones used are on the small side
- Knead into a ball, wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to rest for 30 mins
For the frangipane:
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined
- Fold in the almonds, flour and almond extract and rum (if using it) and beat for a further minute
- Fold in the diced marzipan
Create the tart:
- Preheat the oven to 160C fan assisted/180C normal oven/Gas Mark 4
- Roll the pastry out large enough to fill the tart case you are using
Place the pastry in the tart case making sure that any small holes are filled with excess pastry to prevent the mixture from escaping while cooking, leaving some pastry over hanging the tart case to allow for shrinkage
- Place a layer of cling film over the pastry filled tart case and fill with uncooked rice or pasta (baking beans can be used if you have them) and bake the pastry case blind for 10 minutes
- Remove the pastry case from the oven and carefully remove the cling film and rice, pasta or baking beans and spread the cherry conserve over the base
- Spread almond mixture on top of the conserve and sprinkle with the flaked almonds – it may be easier to pipe the almond filling over the conserve if you have a piping bag to hand
- Bake for a further 1-1 ½ hours or until the almond filling is golden brown
- Allow the tart to cool slightly and place in the fridge to cool completely before trimming off the excess pastry using the edge of a sharp knife
- Using the sugar, make an icing using a small amount of water to create a thick and smooth consistency. Pipe the icing over the tart in a zigzag pattern and voila, dessert heaven!
This is the perfect activity to get the kids involved in if the Easter holiday boredom is starting to kick in, and is much cheaper than buying a ready-made tart. Serve it with a big mug of tea and wait for the compliments to start rolling in!
If you find yourself short of any necessary cooking accessories, have a browse at our Kitchen department for inspiration.
If you’re looking for more culinary inspiration, check out our full Recipe of the Week archive
“I started my cooking career at 12 years old when I made my uncle’s 50th birthday cake, and I cried when he cut into it. I have been cooking, baking and making birthday cakes for people ever since. I developed my skills working at the St Ermin’s Hotel in London in the pastry kitchen with an eccentric French pastry chef who taught me well and started my kitchen life.
“I’ve been at QVC for eight and a half years, I started in a tiny kitchen that was the size of a ‘Borrower’ kitchen compared to what we have now.
“I love cooking because food, especially cake, makes people smile. It has the ability to bring back happy memories. In my mind not much else other than food and the smells associated with it can do that.”