Apricot Almond Bakewell- vegan and sugar-free

Three yummy layers...

Flaked almonds on top

Eat it hot as a pudding or cold as a cake!
Did I say a couple of weeks back that I was fed up with cake?- Well I might have been fed up with eating it, but I really missed the fun of creating a new one, so this afternoon when I got home from work I went straight into the kitchen, determined to invent something. I didn't have time to go and buy any ingredients so I had to stick to what was already in the cupboard and challenge myself to recombine some old favourites like apricots and almonds into something different. The result was this vegan twist on a traditional English dessert which is free from added sugar but sweet enough for my kids not to notice. The Bakewell tart (or pudding as it was once known as) was invented in the little town of Bakewell, Derbyshire, England, some time in the mid-nineteenth century. It is said that a kitchen maid accidentally created it when she misunderstood a recipe for jam tart, but nobody knows if that is true or not. The original version was full of butter, eggs and sugar but I have cut all these out. I have also used apricots instead of strawberry jam and omitted the icing and glace cherries of the more modern versions. Apricots and almonds do go really well together, actually; I wonder whether that is because they both grow in the same part of the world, and also because both trees are closely related. (Ever eaten apricot kernels? You'll know what I mean if you have.) Anyhow, without further ado, here's my recipe:

Pastry case:
200g plain white flour
100g wholemeal flour
100ml a good-quality oil such as rice bran oil or cold-pressed sunflower oil mixed with 50ml water
more cold water for mixing
  • Whizz up the oil and the 50ml water in a blender
  • Rub this into the flours in a large bowl
  • Add water gradually to achieve a dough
  • Roll out about 4mm thick and use it to line an oiled flan dish/ springform cake tin about 10-12" in diameter. If using a cake tin, go at least halfway up the sides to allow for shrinkage- the cake layer gets quite high, especially in a smaller-sized tin
  • Blind-bake for about 10 minutes at 200C, just until set, not browned. (Put something like dried beans or balls of foil in it to stop the pastry rising up)
  • Remove from the oven and set aside
Apricot "jam" layer:
This is so easy and quick! Just put 150g of chopped semidried apricots into a saucepan with 200ml water and simmer for a few minutes, mashing it into a paste with a potato masher as it cooks. When all the water has been absorbed, (takes only a few minutes), remove from the heat and leave to cool. Then spread evenly on the bottom of the blind-baked pastry case.

Almond cake layer:
200g self-raising flour
2 tsps baking powder
100g ground almonds
100g xylitol
75ml sunflower oil/ rice bran oil
200ml soya milk
2 1/2 tsps natural almond essence
flaked almonds to decorate
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and xylitol together in a bowl
  • combine the soya milk, oil and almond essence in another bowl
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and beat really well for about a minute
  • Put this mixture into the blind-baked pastry case on top of the apricot layer
  • Scatter flaked almond over the top
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 180C for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake layer emerges clean and the flaked almonds are nicely toasted
This is great served cold just as it is, which is what we did, but I am sure that it would be an amazingly comforting cold-weather pudding served hot with custard!


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