Claire Ptak from Violet Cakes Bakery
This nostalgic bar is often in the cake case at Violet Cakes Bakery and is a firm favourite amongst customers. While we tend to use raspberry jam, you could certainly use a mixture of raspberry and strawberry, or something entirely alternative like apricot – finally an excuse to use it all up. The same applies for the nuts, if you don’t have ground almonds to hand in your pantry, using a food processor you could blitz a combination of any available nuts you have a get a similar effect.
250g plain flour
100g icing sugar
½ tsp salt
200g cold butter, cubed
12 tbsp raspberry jam
200g unsalted butter, soft
200g golden caster sugar
¼ tsp almond extract
½ tsp vanilla extract
100g ground almonds
100g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
50g flaked almonds
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Butter and line an 18cm x 30cm x 5cm tin with parchment.
For the shortbread base, combine all the ingredients, except the jams, in a food processor and blitz until the mixture has just come together into a ball. Press the pastry evenly into the prepared tin. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Turn the temperature down to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Let the base cool for 10 minutes. Gently spread both jams over the pastry.
For the topping, beat the butter and sugar well. Once creamy, add the extracts and eggs, then beat well.
Add the ground nuts, flour and baking powder just to combine. Spread this over the jam evenly and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Return to the oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden and set. Cool for 20 minutes before slicing into fingers. Will keep well in an airtight container for up to five days.
A little about Claire Ptak
Claire Ptak is an American baker, food writer, and food stylist. She owns and runs a bakery-café, Violet Cakes, in London’s East End. Alongside running her own business, Ptak has also published an array of cookbooks and written a food column for the Guardian and the Observer Food Monthly. She is widely known for having baked the royal wedding cake for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – a layered sponge filled and covered with a lemon and elderflower buttercream icing.