Let me begin by saying, I love chocolate. When you need a chocolate fix nothing else will do, no matter how tasty it is. But let’s be honest here, chocolate can get a bit boring after a while and recently I have found myself all chocolate-ed out. So as I’ve been looking through my mountain of cook books for ideas and inspiration I’ve vetoed every chocolate based recipe in search of alternative delicious-ness, and this time I settled on a traditional recipe that have never tried before: Bakewell Slice. I was actually kind of horrified to realise that I’d never made this most British and traditional of tasty treats before, but now I’ve remedied that, and it was definitely worth doing!!
I used a Nigella recipe from her Feast book, partly because I adore Mrs. Lawson and every recipe of hers that I’ve ever used has been a success, (probably due to the copious amounts of naughty ingredients that go in to them, and this recipe is no exception!!) and also because the recipe looked so simple and easy!!
60g icing sugar
225g plain flour
150g ground almonds
150g caster sugar
325g raspberry jam
100g flaked almonds (Nigella says 60g, but I’m a big fan of these so I whacked the whole packet in the pan to toast!)
The pastry is actually more of a shortbread that you squidge into a tray.
Sieve the flour, icing sugar and salt into a mixing bowl, then add the butter (it helps if it’s cubed) then combine with your fingers until it becomes a crumby mixture, just about coming together. Nigella suggests using a food mixer to do this which is even easier!
Then tip the mix out onto a lined baking tray (mine was about 30cm by 25cm and about 1-2cm deep) and patiently push it into an even layer. Nigella admits to using throwaway tin trays for this recipe so I lined my tray with foil rather than greaseproof paper, which I think made the base extra buttery and sumptuous.
Bless Nigella, she warns that this will take some time and you will feel like you don’t have enough pastry (both true) but stick with it and you will end up with plenty of mix to cover the entire tray.
Bake this in the oven at 180 degrees, until it starts to turn a pale golden colour.
Meanwhile toast the almonds in a pan and then make the frangipane filling.
Melt the butter and set aside, and combine the almonds, flour and eggs in a separate mixing bowl. Then add the melted butter to the almond mix gradually, mixing as you go.
Remove the pastry from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes before slathering on plenty of jam!
Pour the frangipane mix over the jam then sprinkle with the toasted almonds before putting back in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until it is golden brown.
As a side note, if you toast the almonds fairly close to when you need to sprinkle them, careful of your fingers!! The oil in the nuts gets very hot, so let them cool a little before diving in!!
Allow the giant slice to cool completely before removing from the tray and slicing into whatever size you fancy!!
I iced about a third because it was requested by a certain high maintenance person (you know who you are!). I prefer it un-iced though, I think the sweetness of the icing overpowers the almond flavour and the jam, and in any case, the golden flakes of almond on the spongy soft pillow of frangipane is a far more aesthetically pleasing than plain white icing!!
Nigella never fails me; I’m so so so pleased with this recipe!!! Pressing the pastry in takes a little extra time and effort, but the end result is a light buttery base filled with a sweet and soft almondy delight, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon with a nice cup of tea!