A couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that we’d missed the first anniversary of buying our flat.  Whilst we didn’t actually move in until the end of May, 21 March 2013 was the day on which we signed the next thirty years of our lives away to the mortgage company and picked up the keys to our slightly musty-smelling new home.

If my grandfather was still alive, there is no way we would have been allowed to forget the date.  When he retired from work, he started keeping a detailed diary in which he would document any event, no matter of its significance (including every day’s weather conditions). My father still has all of these journals; he couldn’t bring himself to throw away so many years of endeavour.  My grandfather would sometimes call to congratulate us on, for example, the third anniversary of the purchase of our car.



The weekend before last, my boyfriend and I went up to Burnley with my dad to watch the {football} team that he’s supported since he was 11 when my grandfather had a serious conversation with him about how he was now old enough to make an informed decision as to which team to pledge his allegiance to.

Despite the fact that Burnley is about 250 miles north of London, my dad has started going to most of their home matches.  It’s a long day – we set off on Saturday at 6.45am and got back home close to 7pm, all for a 90 minute match (which Burnley lost) – but we all agreed that my grandfather would have loved every moment of it.

For a start, the journey involves multiple trains (trains = a wonderful opportunity to talk to a complete stranger for hours). When you get to Burnley, there’s a nice little walk along the canal to the stadium, passed the abandoned mills and factories of Burnley’s industrial past.  My grandfather always liked to have a bit of a walk otherwise he’d start to get fidgety.  At the football ground, you’re well fed and (very well) watered – by 11.30am last Saturday, I’d already eaten a large fried breakfast washed down by a glass of wine (NB I declined the glass of wine offered to me at 10.30am; I do have some standards). And, after all that, you get to watch a football match. I’m not sure that grandpa would have been able to conceive of a better way to spend a Saturday.

I am clearly my grandfather’s granddaughter – I have the same enthusiasm for being as regularly and plentifully fed as he did. I am incapable of going on any kind of journey without sufficient supplies – I won’t get on a plane without a sandwich about my person just in case I get a bit peckish at 30,000 feet.  Train journeys are absolutely no exception. The night before our journey north, I whipped up a batch of polenta muffins and some little bakewell tarts.




One of the main (and potentially only) advantages of gluten free pastry is the fact that it’s a little quicker to make than regular pastry.  Without the gluten, there’s less need to rest or chill your dough at any point and, in my experience, the quicker you get it in the oven, the better. This makes it ideal when you decide at 9pm on a Friday night that you can’t possibly get on a train the next morning without a bakewell tart in your handbag.

I normally make gluten free pastry using standard gluten free flour (Dove’s Farm for preference).  It’s perfectly okay if a little fragile and tasteless.  I’ve been playing around recently with a blend of (pretty basic) ingredients to try and get something that’s a bit easier to work with and a bit nicer to eat. I’ve ended up going down a short of shortbread-y route with a blend of rice flour and corn flour which gives it a nice buttery quality and then added some ground almonds to give it a bit more heft and structure. It’s a good vehicle for the traditional components of a bakewell tart – a thin spread of jam and a bouncy layer of almond frangipane.  Bakewell purists may be appalled (I’m sure my grandfather would) but I do like quite a generous amount of jam in the bottom of my tarts – you can certainly be more abstemious than me if you like.



little bakewell tarts {gluten free}

Yield: Makes 12 little tarts

Feel free to use regular gluteny pastry (or the shop-bought stuff) if you'd rather. I do find this pastry pretty easy to work with but there's no point skipping out the gluten if you don't need to. I've been using raspberry jam recently but anything will do.


    For the pastry:
  • 120g (1 cup) rice flour
  • 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • 60g (1/2 cup) corn flour (aka corn starch)
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and cold
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons ice cold water
  • For the filling:
  • 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 115g (1/2 cup) unrefined caster/granulated sugar
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 115g (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) ground almonds
  • The zest of 1 lemon
  • Raspberry jam (or whatever you like)
  • Flaked almonds, to decorate


  1. Lightly grease a 12 hole cupcake or muffin tin. To make the pastry, place the rice flour, ground almonds and corn flour in a food processor with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles (large) breadcrumbs. Add the egg and a tablespoon of water and pulse again until the mixture starts to clump together (you may need a touch more water). Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and bring it together with your hands. You can, clearly, make the pastry by hand if you'd rather.
  2. Roll the pastry out thinly and cut out 12 circles approximately 4 inches across. Place each circle of pastry in a hole of the muffin tin and gently press it down and to the edges. Trim off any excess pastry with a sharp knife. Place the pastry cases in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F (fan 170C). Beat together the butter and sugar for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg, continuing to beat all the time. Fold through the ground almonds and lemon zest.
  4. Remove the pastry cases from the fridge and put a scant teaspoon of jam at the bottom of each. Divide the frangipane between the twelve tarts and scatter flaked almonds on top.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and the tarts are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.


The recipe, as written, makes 12 tarts. For the pictures, I made a half batch which is pretty straightforward in the event that you only want six - just halve all of the ingredients and divide a lightly beaten egg in two using half for the pastry and half for the filling.
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50 Responses to "little bakewell tarts {gluten free}"
  1. Kathryn, I always loved Bakewell tarts when I was little! (even Mr. Kipling!) I tried making a large one some time last year and it was good but a little bit too big and ‘clunky’ in a way, so I would be keen to have a go at these little fellas some time!

  2. I don’t go anywhere without snacks… so when I travel I have many meals and snacks planned. Though nothing quite as cute as these little tarts…!

  3. Skye says:

    So beautifully written. And gorgeous looking little tarts.
    Sounds like a great trip – nothing like a picnic on a train. xx

  4. Lindsey says:

    I love this story of your grandfather and the memory you have of him. Grandparents are such special people in our lives -full of wisdom and life – and you write so wonderfully about yours here. Sounds like a lovely way to spend a Saturday, especially when everyone gets to enjoy your lovely treats! I’ve never had a bakewell tart, I’m surprised because they have every ingredient I love!

  5. You are so amazing with your gluten-free skillz!

  6. Alex says:

    Love this post! I’m now inspired to start journaling all of life’s events.

  7. Erika says:

    This is such a great story and recipe.. You are inspiring me with your gluten free goodies. :)

  8. cynthia says:

    I am droooooling over these tarts. They’re impeccable, and I never get tired of that adorable name (“bakewell” — how can you beat it?) And as always, I loved reading your stories and snippets about you. My mom is just like you when it comes to planes, and always has at least a few apples or oranges packed away for the trip. :) Love this post!

  9. Aw, this post made me smile. I think it’s lovely that your granddad noted absolutely every event, no matter how insignificant they may have seemed at the time — it’s a wealth of information you guys are lucky to have, and a great way to have him be a part of your everyday lives still.

    And of course, the tarts look absolutely delicious Kathryn! Love that little note about gluten-free tart dough not having to rest — just learned something new!

  10. Joyti says:

    Snacks are always good for long journeys. And these little tarts – gorgeous! “Bakewell”…I’ve barely heard of them (not popular in the U.S.), but what an adorable name.

    p.s. Loved the story about your grandfather. Such a sweet and amazing man.

  11. Lovely post! I tend to remember strange dates, but I think it’s so adorable your grandfather would call you for the anniversary of buying a car. Love that! Sounds like quite a nice day you had with the train / football / wine at 11:30am adventure, and I’m sure these tarts were a lovely addition.

  12. Lucy says:

    I love a story behind a bake and this was delightful. I totally agree with you on the bakewell tarts – the thicker the jam layer the better!

  13. dana says:

    Stellar photos AND adorable recipe! Adding these to my summer pie list!

  14. Such a cute story about your grandpa … reminds me of a few years ago when we found my grandmother’s diary from the forties. At the time, she was dating around, and one of the men ended up being my grandfather. Some of the stuff she wrote was hilarious – “So-and-so told me loved me. … I don’t think I love him.” Everything was written in a very matter-of-fact way. She also bought a lot of expensive clothes. $80 for a coat? That’s expensive NOW, let alone 60 years ago! I guess they didn’t have twitter and facebook back then, so they had to adapt. :-)

  15. your grandfather sounds like a treasure. and wait. it’s been a year already!? I feel like it was just yesterday that you were talking about looking at places! wow, maybe your grandfather was on to something with that planner! It’s so hard to remember things! Congratulations and these tarts look lovely.

  16. I love everything about these tarts, Kathryn. They look wonderful and the colorful filling is a perfect little surprise waiting for the one who is lucky enough getting to enjoy them.

    Hope you have a wonderful spring week in your 1-year-old home :) Yay!

  17. Erika says:

    This line –> “This makes it ideal when you decide at 9pm on a Friday night that you can’t possibly get on a train the next morning without a bakewell tart in your handbag.” makes me think that we could be very good friends. And not getting on a plane without a sandwich? Totally me! Love this, and these tarts (I don’t think I’ve ever had a real one, so I am suitably impressed by these) and your photos as usual!!

  18. These look and sound absolutely wonderful. I can only imagine how lovely they taste!

  19. I like the sounds of your granddad- and you as well – I can’t bear going anywhere without adequate supplies – particularly a water bottle and a snack in my bag. But I think mini-tarts are an even better snack!!

    Granddads are just the best. Yours sounds like a real keeper.

  20. Tieghan says:

    Such pretty photos and I loved your story too! Your granddad sounds pretty awesome!

  21. cheri says:

    Your grandfather sounds like a very special person. Beautiful story. And these tarts look amazing. Great pics!

  22. Ashlae says:

    You grandfather sounds like a gem. I love the idea of keeping a journal of seemingly insignificant anniversaries and celebrating them year after year. And I’m also incapable of journeying without a proper stash of food. During our trip last summer, the top portion of my pack – along with the side pockets – were filled with chocolate and dried fruit and nuts and a bunch of other stuff I could eat on the fly. The idea of going hungry terrifies me.

    And these tarts. OH THESE TARTS. You’re my favorite baker.

  23. Wow. your grandfather sounds way more organized than me. I barely even remember my own birthday.
    These tarts look fantastic. Although if I made them, I would eat them all in one sitting, I just know it.

  24. Sophia says:

    What a lovely story Kathryn and the bakewell tarts look picture perfect. I have been meaning to bake some for a while, I really should get onto it. And I hear you on trips and snacks – every holiday we plan and every road trip we embark on is an opportunity to think of new snacks to make and food to pack (and as I am writing this, there is a bag with an apple, a handful of walnuts and a couple of dates in my handbag).

    I have really enjoyed your photos in the last few months, they are getting even more beautiful! Stunning colours and beautiful composition!

  25. Bakewell tarts remind me of being little and your recipe (and pics) is lovely. I love the almondy, jammy filling in a good Bakewell tart. Will definitely give this a try. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Rachel Cooks says:

    Love that your grandfather would write everything down — that’s such an admirable trait. I should really do that — especially with the kids. These tarts look great!

  27. Roswen says:

    What a lovely story about your Grandfather and as always what gorgeous photos.

  28. These are adorable! Perfect for a summer dessert.

  29. Beauties! Frangipane is an all-time favourite of mine and I love the extra amount of jam in the bottom – perfect for long journey snacking.

  30. Love Bakewell tarts- so delicious! And these mini ones are super cute!

  31. Love these little tarts Kathryn… your photography always blows me away. XO

  32. I like being well fed and prepared on trips too! Nice tribute to your grandfather :)

  33. What a really lovely blog post and, in this day and age (goodness, I sound old) with twitter, email and the like, the thought of sitting and writing a daily journal routinely brings to mind a much simpler, gentler and less ‘instant’ time. We’re off to the football tomorrow, only these second ever professional game I’ve watched and I’m looking forward to all the tradition and pageantry! I suspect we’ll have to make do with cold pies in the stadium but how I wished I’d thought ahead to bake something as scrumptious as your Bakewell tarts

  34. Rosanna says:

    Your grandfather sounds lovely, what lovely memories, thanks for sharing them!
    These tarts look divine, I must try that pastry!

  35. Alanna says:

    YOU are killing me. These last three posts just made my jaw drop. I can’t even believe all the amazingness going on in this post. Your GF pastry looks superb – I am so trying that. I’ve been wanting to make a bakewell tart forever, and this mini version is pure genius. And that puffy, caramelized, lemon-kissed almond topping?! WANT. NOW.

  36. Kris says:

    I LOVE this story about your grandfather. It’s just so lovely. And he’s right, the first anniversary of buying your flat is a big deal! That said, I’m sending huge congratulations from across the globe. :) On a different note, I’ve been searching out a GF pastry recipe that I could make hand pies with. Do you think the pastry easy enough to work with for such a project? Thanks, lady! xo

    • kathryn says:

      That’s an excellent question and one I’ve been thinking about! Of all the GF pastry I’ve tried, I think this is the most likely to work in hand pies as it’s fairly sturdy which tends to be the problem. That said, I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t vouch for it. When I make regular hand pies, I use a Martha Stewart recipe for the pastry that is enriched with lemon juice and sour cream to give it a bit more heft and stop it leaking and I think that might work well here. Let me know if you do try it! I’m going to give it a go after Easter I think xo

  37. Joanne says:

    I refuse to leave the house without something to nibble on! These little tarts sound like the perfect treats to tote about with me.

  38. These look so adorable and the story of your grandfather writing down every detail really inspired me – its so easy to forget important aspects of our lives with all the stresses that daily life brings!

  39. annette says:

    two weeks ago i made your bakewelll tarts, actually i made a bigger tart… and it was really good… one of my problems often with any crusts especially when i try to go gluten free is that they crumble … any suggestions?



    • kathryn says:

      That is one of the main problems with gluten free pastry – the lack of gluten makes it so difficult to use. I find that using a whole egg in the pastry adds a bit of structure and also to use it as soon as you make it – only chill it if you really need to otherwise it starts cracking. The pastry is very crumbly to eat, more like shortbread, but it should hold together. I’m glad you liked the tart : )

  40. Betty G says:

    Hello :)
    I discovered your blog today and find it quite interesting and very enlightening. I am not a coeliac either but I find the diversity of wheat uses and limitations towards other grains (in baking and general cooking) both wonderful and awful.
    I want to experiment with new flours and your recipes will help me towards gluten-free baking because they are quite simple and don’t require weird ingredients.
    That said, I have a question. From what I know, cornstarch and corn flour are not the same (but in every recipe I’ve read you mention the term interchangeably). Is it a regional thing? Here in Mexico, the corn starch is white and powdery, and the corn fluor is yellow :)
    Thanks in advance!

    • kathryn says:

      Hi Betty, thanks for your question and your kind words! What I’m talking about here is what you/the US call corn starch – the same white, powdery flour is called corn flour in the UK confusingly!

      • Betty G says:

        White it is :). And you use the same flour mix to roll it out? Or just one flour is enough?

        By the way, how do you call grinded corn? Cornmeal? Because that is what I would call corn flour (in spanish ‘harina de maíz’). Language usage is beautiful, hehe, and when you shove translations in, it gets better :P

  41. Puneeta says:

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. The tarts came out beautifully. Can’t believe I have found a gluten free pastry recipe that works…. So happy!

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