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bakewell bars

Last night I felt the need to bake so I made some bakewell bars. These can be a bit tricky, but the results are bloody lovely. You basically make a sort-of shortbread base, cover it in jam, then make some frangipane and bake it until it's properly cooked. But if you undercook it, or even open the oven door before the frangipane is cooked it will never set properly and you're effectively stuffed. Recipe for those who want it:



3oz butter
1oz caster
egg yolk
teaspoon vanilla essence
6oz plain flour

3oz butter, 1oz caster, creamed. Add an egg yolk, a teaspoon of vanilla, and mix well. Then squeeze in 6oz plain flour. Beat it until it forms a dough - it will all go, I can assure you. Do not be tempted to add any liquid. Roll this out to fit a deep 8" square tin that's been lined with baking parchment, then squeeze it in so it goes right up to the edges of the tin (and if you leave dimples in the dough there's more room for pockets of jam). Cover this in jam and put in the fridge. Turn the oven on to GM4.



3oz butter
2 eggs
3oz caster sugar
3oz semolina
4oz ground almonds

3oz butter, melted and left to cool (but not cool solid). Beat in two eggs. Then add 3oz caster, 3oz semolina and 4oz ground almonds, and mix until very well combined. Leave for a couple of minutes and it should start to set a little. Blob this onto the jam layer and join it all up with the back of a spoon if it's not runny enough to join up together by itself. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown*. Leave to cool in the tin and slice into 3x4 bars. You can drizzle almond icing over the top if you like.

* DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR TO CHECK IF YOU CAN AVOID IT. Really, in my oven it's 45 minutes at a minimum (fan assists might be able to get away with 35) but if you open the door too early and the middle isn't cooked it will collapse and nothing you can do will save it.

Results: delicious.

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