Tarts and Pies

Pistachio Bakewell tart: Technical challenge 2 on the Great Irish Bake Off


Tart week on the Bake Off saw our pastry skills put to the test under the watchful eyes of Biddy and Paul. Our two challenges this week were the ever present and ever dreaded technical challenge followed by 2 showstopping tarts; 1 sweet and 1 savoury. I was really looking forward to this week as working with pasty and wet fillings really separates exposes who has the underlying skills as a baker. Saying that I still managed to mess one or two things up!


This week’s first challenge saw us tackle Paul’s variation on the famous Bakewell tart; the Pistachio Bakewell. This very same recipe has been hugely successful for Paul from his Irish Culinary Team days and has actually won a gold medal on the world culinary scene. No pressure on us amateur bakers at all!


Traditionally the Bakewell tart (named after it’s place of origin in Derdbyshire, England) is made using almonds but here ground pistachio nuts are used. I say ground but what Paul was looking for was pistachio nust with a little bit of crunch left to them for a bit of texture. Thin shortcrust pastry is essential here for a slight crisp, but really it acts as a shell to hold everything together. In the tent under the time constraints many of us (myself included) forgot to get the pastry super thin. Pesky nerves…


Another surprise element is the 2 circles of raspberries which again bring a nice soft texture, colour and moisture to the tart. Now I know on the show I put mine on the outside of the tart and I wanted to explain why:
1. I didn’t read the instructions properly. I usually do that and read things too quickly therefore not fully taking it all in. Need to work on that…
2. About a week previous to this challenge I saw a tart with the raspberries on the outside which was enough inspiration for me!

Next time I’ll be sure to not go with the voices in my head. But right now they’re telling me to get on with sharing the recipe so I will listen to them this time!

You will need:

200g Flour
80gr icing sugar
1 Egg
100g butter

125g Butter
125g Pistachios
25g Flour
2 Eggs
125g Sugar

Other ingredients
2-3 tbsp Raspberry jam
150g Marzipan
2-3 tbsp Apricot jam

How to do it:

  1. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with your fingertips until a breadcrumb like consistency. Beat the eggs in a small bowl then add to the flour mixture. Use a knife to cut through the dough and mix in the egg. The dough will be crumbly and slightly sticky. Turn onto a floured worktop and knead very gently no more than 5 times, until the dough comes together. Wrap in Clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile grind the pistachio nuts in a blender.
    CIMG4455You want them to provide a bit of texture so grind until there are many smallish chunks left (I ground mine too fine on the show…woops!).
  3. Cut the butter into cubes and soften in the microwave in 15 second blasts.
  4. Place both the butter and sugar into a large bowl and cream with an electric hand whisk until light and pale. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well. It’s usually good practice to throw in a tablespoon of the flour before the last egg as this can help the mix from scrambling. Fold in the flour and the pistachios.
  5. Remove the dough from the fridge. It should now be quite firm.
    CIMG4457On a lightly floured surface hit the dough a few times with a rolling pin to flatten then gently roll out until it is about 2cm larger than the base of your tart tin and less than 1cm thin.
    Lift the pastry often to avoid it sticking to the worktop. Wrap over the rolling pin and drape over your tart tin.
    CIMG4461 CIMG4463
    Push the pastry up the sides of the tin, roll the pin of it to cut the overhang off and then chill for a further 15 minutes.
    CIMG4466 CIMG4468
  6. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Spread over a layer of the raspberry jam on top of the pastry. Roll out the marzipan so that it will fit exactly inside the pastry base and so that you can’t see any of the jam.
    CIMG4469 CIMG4471
    Arrange the raspberries in two circles; one small one in the centre and then a larger one about 1cm in from the sides of the pastry case. And yes I know-I did not do this on the show!
    Pipe in the pistachio filling making sure that the raspberries stay in place and do not overfill as the filling will rise in the oven.
    CIMG4474 CIMG4477
  7. Bake for 40-45 mins or until just set. The filling will have risen too. Cool on a wire rack whilst you make the glaze.
  8. Place about 2 tbsp of the apricot jam into a pan with a splash of water and heat until melted. Brush over the tart and leave to cool before removing from the tin and serving!


The glaze on this tart is what I think sets it off so well. Just look at the last two photos and tell me which one you would rather choose?


Just look at that thin pastry! Before I finish this post I must say a big Congratulation to Oonagh for winning start baker this week. I cannot stress enough how much she deserved it with winning first in the technical challenge and then producing 2 of the tastiest tarts I’ve ever had for the showstopper. Seriously her pear one was unreal! Try her recipe here. Oh and if you’re interested in seeing what recipe Paul asked for (because it was that dam good!) try my exotic fruit tart recipe.

Once again thanks for visiting, reading and tuning in! Make sure you see next week’s episode, Bread, as it’s my favourite area of the old baking business!



2 thoughts on “Pistachio Bakewell tart: Technical challenge 2 on the Great Irish Bake Off

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s