Almond Congress Tart Recipe
Homemade congress tarts, a recipe for utter delight! Buttery shortcrust pastry topped with raspberry jam and a light frangipane filling – the best dessert ever!
Congress tarts is a recipe for complete and utter delight! It’s sweet, buttery and full of almond flavour in every bite. If you love Bakewell tart, then you’re going to love this too as the flavours are pretty similar.
I just can’t get enough of it, the combination of shortcrust pastry, sweet jam and a rich almond frangipane is simply irresistible. Plus, this recipe makes individual portions so there’s no sharing!
The best news? It’s incredibly easy to make, so decadent and it’s a great dessert guaranteed to please everyone.
What Is A Congress Tart?
Congress tart is a delicious dessert originating from the UK, Cornwall in particular. It’s a pastry shell made from shortcrust pastry with a layer of jam and an almond frangipane topping.
The exact origins are unknown, but the congress tart (congress curd) can be found in a book published by Robert Wells in 1888. Some recent recipes include coconut whilst others do not, the recipe from Robert Wells does not include coconut.
Usually, congress tarts are decorated with a cross on top made with lines of shortcrust pastry. The reason for pastry crosses is unknown but it could be due to religious reason. Congress tarts can also be decorated with flaked almonds sprinkled on top.
If you haven’t tried this amazingly tasty Cornish delicacy before, then trust me, you are in for a real treat! It’s a must-try traditional UK dessert just like this butterscotch tart and cornflake tart recipe.
Watch How To Make It
What Does A Congress Tart Taste Of?
Congress tarts taste pretty similar to Bakewell tarts, both have the same almond, sweet and buttery pastry flavour.
The jam in this recipe adds a sweet, fruity and tangy taste whereas the pastry adds a buttery touch and the frangipane sponge adds an indulgent almond nutty taste.
All in all, if you’ve had a Bakewell tart before or an almond slice, then it tastes just like that!
Why You’ll Like This Recipe
- Perfect for afternoon tea and coffee mornings
- Very simple ingredients
- Similar Bakewell tart flavours
- They freeze well
- Perfect alongside coffee and tea
- Great for new budding bakers
Difference Between Bakewell Tart And Congress Tart?
Bakewell tart and congress tart are both classic UK recipes with an almond base flavour.
The main difference is in the origin, Bakewell tarts consists of a shortcrust pastry shell with a layer of jam, frangipane and flaked almonds on top. It’s a variant of the Bakewell pudding which originates from a town called Bakewell in Derbyshire.
Whereas Congress tarts are believed to have evolved from curd tarts, which were made with curd cheese.
Love Bakewell & Almond Flavours?
Who doesn’t love almond flavoured desserts, I certainly do! If you want more bakewell flavoured desserts then check out this list below:
Below are the few ingredients needed for this congress tart recipe:
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Ingredients:
- Plain Flour: Plain flour is best for making pastry.
- Butter: Use block butter (instead of soft spreadable butter) straight from the fridge.
- Caster Sugar: Used to sweeten the pastry, you could also use icing sugar as an alternative.
- Milk (Or Water): This is added to help bind the pastry ingredients together.
Congress Tarts Filling
- Raspberry Jam: I like to use seedless jam.
- Ground Almonds: Used to make the frangipane filling.
- Plain Flour, Baking Powder & Salt: Added to the frangipane filling to help it set and rise. The salt is added to bring out the flavour.
- Caster Sugar: Used to sweeten the frangipane filling.
- Butter: I like to use unsalted butter for this recipe.
- Egg: Use one large egg.
- Almond Extract: Used to flavour the frangipane filling; use almond extract or almond essence.
- Flaked Almonds: Used to decorate the congress tarts
What Is The Difference Between Almond Extract And Almond Essence?
Almond essence uses artificial flavourings to create an almond flavour whereas almond extract is made from natural ingredients.
How To Make Congress Tart
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to make this easy congress tart. Full recipe instructions are on the recipe card:
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
Add flour and sugar to a food processor or mixing bowl and mix until evenly distributed.
Then add butter to the food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you’re using your hands rub the butter into the flour and sugar mixture.
Add a few tablespoons of water (or milk) and mix together until the pastry dough has formed. Use your hands to bind the dough together.
Wrap the sweet shortcrust pastry in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
In this time, preheat your oven to 180°C (gas mark 4, 160°Fan) and grease a cupcake tin with oil or butter.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. The pastry should be around 0.5cm (5mm) thick.
Get a round fluted cookie cutter preferably 7.4cm or 7.5cm and cut out bases from the pastry. Place the bases into your cupcake tin and gently press them down into the holes.
How To Make Frangipane Filling
Place butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.
Add a beaten egg and almond extract to the mixing bowl and mix together until evenly combined.
Pour flour, baking powder, salt and ground almond into the mixing bowl and mix together until evenly distributed.
Assemble Congress Tart
Add a teaspoon of raspberry jam to the centre of each base.
Add a tablespoon of the almond frangipane filling, make sure that it covers the layer of jam below.
Decorate the congress tarts by sprinkling flaked almonds on top or by using the remaining pastry to create crosses (slice two strips of pastry and layer one strip horizontal across the middle and the other vertical).
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden. Leave the tarts to cool down for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.
Any leftover pastry can be kept in the fridge or freezer. I like to make jam tarts with the remaining pastry and jam.
How Do You Serve Congress Tarts?
I love eating congress tarts freshly baked and warm, but you can also serve them cold. If you want to reheat the tarts, simply heat in the oven at 180°C for 5 minutes.
How Do You Store Congress Tarts?
To store, keep the congress tarts in an airtight container and keep at room temperature for up to 5 days. If you want to keep the tarts for longer, then I recommended you freeze it.
To freeze, place the tarts in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. To prevent sticking, you can place parchment paper in-between each layer or wrap the tarts in cling film individually.
When you’re ready to eat it, leave the tarts to thaw and eat once defrosted or reheat in the oven if you want it warm.
My Top Tips
Keep pastry you’re not using in the fridge to keep it cool (especially in hot environments) otherwise the butter will melt, become sticky and the texture won’t be as crumbly.
If you don’t want to make your own pastry, then you can buy ready-rolled out pastry or a readymade pastry case. It’s a quick alternative but bear in mind the pastry won’t be sweet. You could also go rouge and use puff pastry instead.
Use freshly ground almonds instead of pre-ground almonds to achieve a richer flavour.
Don’t over mix the frangipane filling otherwise when baked the texture will be dense as opposed to being light and fluffy. As soon as the frangipane filling comes together, stop mixing.
- Cupcake tin: Use a non-stick cupcake tin for easy removal.
- Fluted cookie cutter (7.5cm): I like to use fluted cookie cutters to create a crimped effect, but you can also use straight cookie cutters instead.
- Food processor: I use a food processor to make the pastry, but you can also make it by hand. Using a food processor quickens and eases the process.
- Electric Whisk: You can use an electric whisk to make the frangipane filling or make it by hand.
- Mixing bowls, tablespoons, teaspoons and a wooden spoon will also be needed for this recipe.
Recipe Variations And Substitutions
Change The Jam Flavour: There are so many jam alternatives that you can use, a few examples are strawberry jam, apricot jam and ginger jam.
Add Coconut: Add desiccated coconut and coconut flour to the frangipane filling instead of almonds.
Add More Almond Flavor: Bump up the bakewell almond flavour by adding a teaspoon of almond extract to the sweet shortcrust pastry mixture. This intensifies the almond flavour and makes this dessert even more tasty.
How To Make Congress Tart In Advance
The great thing about this dessert is that you can make it in advance and keep it for later! If you want to freeze the tarts, you can for up to 3 months.
Or, you can make the pastry 2 days in advance and store it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. The pastry will need to thaw before you proceed to start rolling it out.
You can also bake the tarts now and keep it at room temperature for up to 5 days.
More Tart Recipes
Love tart desserts? Then check out these tart recipes below:
Congress Tarts Recipe
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- 350 g Plain Flour
- 230 g Unsalted Butter
- 100 g Caster Sugar
- 2 tbsp Milk Or Water
- 12 tsp Raspberry Jam (Seedless)
- 70 g Caster Sugar
- 70 g Unsalted Butter
- 70 g Ground almonds
- 40 g Plain Flour
- ½ tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Almond Extract
- ½ tsp Salt
- Flaked Almonds (To Decorate)
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- Add flour and sugar to a food processor or mixing bowl and mix until evenly distributed.
- Then add butter to the food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you’re using your hands rub the butter into the flour and sugar mixture.
- Add a few tablespoons of water (or milk) and mix together until the pastry dough has formed. Use your hands to bind the dough together
- Wrap the sweet shortcrust pastry in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.In this time, preheat your oven to 180°C (gas mark 4, 160°Fan) and grease a cupcake tin with oil or butter.
- Whilst the dough chills, place butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.
- Add a beaten egg and almond extract to the mixing bowl and mix together until evenly combined.
- Pour flour, baking powder, salt and ground almond into the mixing bowl and mix together until evenly distributed.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. The pastry should be around 0.5cm (5mm) thick.
- Get a round fluted cookie cutter preferably 7.4cm or 7.5cm and cut out bases from the pastry. Place the bases into your cupcake tin and gently press them down into the holes.
- Add a teaspoon of raspberry jam to the centre of each base.
- Add a tablespoon of the almond frangipane filling, make sure that it covers the layer of jam below.
- Decorate the congress tarts by sprinkling flaked almonds on top or by using the remaining pastry to create crosses (slice two strips of pastry and layer one strip horizontal across the middle and the other vertical).
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden. Leave the tarts to cool down for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.
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