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Keep Calm and Carry on Eating Cake

Tom's & Douglas's Barns Cherry Bakewell

In spite of the fact we get very few people actually commenting on the blog friends, guests and often complete strangers will email us, or tell me on Facebook or at parties how much they actually enjoy reading our blog. They do say they enjoy John’s photos too which doesn’t surprise me. I really enjoy writing the posts, just wish I had more time to indulge my weakness! It feels just like keeping in touch with friends, and is a wonderful pastime and stress reliever.

Some nice soul emailed this today: I regularly keep up to date with your blogs; they are a joy to read and much more cheerful than the news, national or international.

Potentially much more cheerful than the news or indeed our blogs, tonight I have a newish recipe which i have tried out twice now and which has received the thumbs up from guests, family and friends. It is a variation on the permanent favourite Fake Bakewell. Perhaps we ought to call it a Cherry Fakewell?

I asked John to take a photo, but he wasn’t quite quick enough before most of the last batch had disappeared, hence the rather sparse display on the plate.

Tom’s & Douglas’s Barns
Cherry Special Bakewell Tart

If you think of the basic recipe as being for every egg 4 oz of ground rice/ground almonds, sugar and butter you can make the size you want. I always make this in a large Aga baking tray so it is the basic recipe times four. For normal family use one would probably do half, i.e. 2 eggs etc.

Recipe:
1lb good (Stork) soft margarine (or butter if you’re feeling expansive)
I lb sugar
*1/2lb ground rice
*1/2lb ground almonds
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Almond extract
Flaked almonds
Fresh stoned cherries, or one tin of cherries, well drained
Short crust pastry (either a bought block or made with 1lb flour)
About half jar jam (sharpish like raspberry, blackcurrant or homemade plum) For the Cherry Bakewell I used cherry jam and some raspberry, as the latter seems a bit softer and possibly moister.

Method:
Roll out the pastry and line the tin you are using. Spread the jam over, and cherries if using. Ideally put the tin (layered with cherries and jam) into the fridge but I can’t say I always – or actually ever – do!

Melt the butter/marge and sugar in a saucepan on a lowish heat, stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar completely dissolves into the melted butter. Add the ground rice/almonds and leaving it on the heat, stir for a minute or two until it is all well mixed and smooth. Take off the heat, and when it is a bit cooler, stir in the beaten eggs and a generous teaspoon and a bit (to size and taste) of almond extract.

Pour the mixture onto the pastry. Sprinkle generously with flaked almonds and pop it into the oven. In the Aga (2-door) I put it on the bottom grid of the top oven with the cold plain sheet over, for about 25-30 minutes+ until it is firm, looks golden and the almonds nicely coloured.

*It is perfectly delicious – and I rather think better – made with just ground rice and no ground almonds at all, but I often do half and half. I’ve never (yet) done it with all ground almonds.

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