Liam Charles’ recipe for cherry bakewell custard tart | The Sweet Spot

Put the flavours of a cherry bakewell in anything and I’m there. This could be in a cheesecake, layer cake, crammed into a breakfast bar or, hey, even a milkshake. Trust me, if you’re up for a nutty-but-sweet vibe, this is the dessert for you. So on the latest episode of “Who wants to be a cherry bakewell?”, we have a creamy, almondy custard tart with kirsch-soaked cherries and a super-simple shortcrust. It’s a summertime winner.

Cherry bakewell custard tart

Make sure you allow the tart to cool completely before slicing it up and sharing.

Prep 50 min
Chill 2 hr+
Cook 1 hr 20 min
Serves 8-10

For the pastry
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
160g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 large egg yolk
30g icing sugar
½ tsp fine sea salt
20ml whole milk
½ tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
1 lemon, zest finely grated

For the cherries
400g fresh cherries, pitted
50g icing sugar
3 tbsp kirsch
2 tbsp cornflour

For the custard
3 large eggs
50g golden caster sugar
50g plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
200ml double cream
200ml buttermilk
½ tsp almond extract
¼ tsp fine sea salt

For the pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl. Rub in the butter using your fingertips, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs with no lumps. Stir in the remaining pastry ingredients, then knead with your hands until it just comes together to form a smooth dough (you don’t want to overwork it). Wrap in a damp tea towel and chill for an hour.

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/ gas 4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 3mm thick and just larger than your tin. Lift the dough over your rolling pin, then carefully lay it into the tin. Gently press the dough into the indents of the tin, and lightly prick the base of the pastry with a fork.

Put the tin in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up again, line with a circle of baking paper and pack with dried rice or baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes, remove the paper and beans, and bake for a further 10 minutes, until light golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Put the cherries, icing sugar and kirsch in a saucepan. Cook on a high heat for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, then add a tablespoon of cornflour and stir until well combined. Strain the cherries over a bowl, catching the juices below. Tip the cherries into a separate bowl and stir in the remaining tablespoon of cornflour. Set both aside to cool.

Lower the oven to 160C (140C fan)/325F/gas 3. For the bakewell custard, combine all the ingredients using a whisk or stick blender until silky smooth. Spread the cherries over the pastry case, pour over the custard, then drizzle the cherry juice on top in a cheeky decorative pattern. Bake for 30-35 minutes, then turn up the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5 and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Eat at room temperature or stone cold – either way, it’s super-tasty.


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