Strawberry and Vanilla Bakewell Tart

Summer offers such an abundance of beautiful seasonal fruit, strawberries being one of the favourites. This recipe combines fresh strawberries and LittlePod vanilla pods, to create a stunning homemade jam. This preserve is so delicious it can then be used to create a Bakewell tart – a wonderful treat for all the family.

For the jam:

4lb of fresh strawberries
3lb of jam sugar (with added pectin)
Juice of 2 large lemons
2 X vanilla pods
1/2 oz butter

6 X 450g jars
1 X preserving pan
2 X side plates in the freezer

For the sweet pastry:

200g plain flour
150g unsalted butter
50 g caster sugar
1 egg

For the Bakewell Tart:

125 g softened unsalted butter
125 g golden caster sugar
5 drops almond extract
2 X eggs lightly beaten
150 g ground almond
50 g plain flour
1 tbsp milk

For the jam:

1. Remove all the strawberry stalks and slice the strawberries (not too small) into a bowl. Split the vanilla pods lengthways and remove the seeds. Layer the strawberries and sugar into the preserving pan including the vanilla seeds and the scraped out pods. Cover with cling film and leave overnight so the sugar will dissolve and become infused with the rich vanilla.

2. When ready to make the jam, remove the cling film and place the pan on a low heat to dissolve the remaining sugar. Don’t stir the mixture too much so the fruit remains nicely full for the jam.

3. When the sugar has dissolved add the lemon juice and turn up the heat until the jam is really bubbling. At this stage, time the process for 8 mins of a rolling heat. Test the set of the jam by placing a spoonful onto a chilled plate. Allow the jam to cool, if the jam forms a skin the jam will set. If not, boil again for a further 5-6mins.

4. Repeat the test on a chilled plate, this can be repeated 3-4 times until you reach the required set for your jam.

5. Remove the heat, add the butter to disperse any scum from the surface of the jam. Allow the jam to cool for 15mins before pouring into clean sterilised jars. Seal immediately with waxed jam discs. If a vanilla pod remains in the jam this offers an amazing infusion of vanilla to your jam.

For the sweet pastry:

1. Rub the butter into the flour to create soft grainy crumbs.

2. Mix the egg and sugar together.

3. Slowly add the egg and sugar mixture into the flour/butter.

4. Bind together to create a smooth sweet paste.

5. Cling film and place into the fridge for 20mins.

For the Bakewell Tart:

1. Heat the oven 180c/gas mark 4.

2. Roll the chilled pastry on a floured surface, to about 3mm. Line a 22cm fluted pastry tin. Carefully bring the pastry into the fluted tin, trim the pastry overhang by moving the rolling pin over the pastry case.

3. Prick the pastry base with a fork cover with parchment paper and baking beans, bake for 15mins.

4. Remove the beans and bake for another 5mins until the pastry is golden.

5. Make the fragipane, beat the butter, sugar and almond extract together, add one egg and mix again. Add a spoonful of ground almonds, then add the remaining egg. Mix the remaining ground almonds and plain flour to create a delicious almond paste.

6. A Bakewell tart traditionally use a raspberry jam, but the Strawberry and Vanilla Jam works perfectly for this family friendly dessert.

7. Spoon the homemade preserve into the cooled pastry case, be generous with the layer of jam. Cover with the fragipane spreading evenly with a crooked palette knife. Evenly scatter flaked almonds over the mixer and place in the oven to bake for 30mins.

8. When the bake is golden, check the middle is baked with a clean skewer.

9. Remove when the skewer is clean and leave to cool. Dust with icing sugar and serve with some clotted cream.