Bettys Café Tea Room Blackberry and Lemon Torte

Bettys Café Tea Room Blackberry and Lemon Torte

Though the inspiration for the establishment’s name remains a mystery, the success of Bettys Café Tea Room—no apostrophe, please—is clear. From the original café in Harrogate, a resort town in the English countryside of Yorkshire, the enterprise has grown to comprise six locations, a cookery school, and an online store. A signature offering, the Bettys Blackberry and Lemon Torte features fresh berries and smooth filling in a flaky, sweet pastry crust.

Bettys Café Tea Room Blackberry and Lemon Torte

Blackberry and Lemon Torte
Makes 1 (6-inch) torte
  • Sweet pastry: 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour          
  • 3½ tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled        
  • ¼ cup castor sugar     
  • 2 egg yolks, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cold water         
  • Filling:            
  • 1¼ cups heavy whipping cream        
  • 6 tablespoons castor sugar     
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1¼ cups fresh blackberries, puréed
  • ⅓ cup fresh blackberries        
  • Garnish: fresh blackberries, confectioner’s sugar      
  1. For sweet pastry: In a medium bowl, place flour. Using fingertips, rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in castor sugar.
  2. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon cold water add to dry ingredients.
  3. Using a pastry blender, quickly mix together. With hands, bring mixture together to form a smooth dough. (If dough feels dry, add another 1 to 2 teaspoons water before bringing together. Try not to make the dough too wet, or it will shrink on baking and make the pastry tough.)
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour before using.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  6. Roll out dough to approximately 3/16-inch thickness. Transfer to a 6-inch round fluted tart pan, pressing into bottom and up sides. Trim excess dough, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Top dough with parchment paper, letting ends extend over edges of pan. Add baking weights. Bake until sides are sandy to the touch and starting to brown, 15 to 20 m Carefully remove paper and weights, and bake for 5 minutes more.
  8. In small bowl, beat remaining 1 egg yolk.
  9. Brush bottom and sides of pastry with beaten egg yolk, careful not to coat top edges. Bake for 1 minute more. Remove from oven, and let cool completely.
  10. For filling: In a tall, heavy-bottomed saucepan, place cream and castor sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and add lemon juice and blackberry purée; with a spoon or spatula, mix until smooth.
  11. Place fresh blackberries in cooled pastry shell. Carefully pour in filling, and refrigerate until set, at least 8 hours. Remove from refrigerator shortly before serving. Garnish with blackberries and confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
Note: Castor sugar, used often in British baking, can be found at many specialty foods stores. Although less finely granulated, superfine sugar may be substituted, if desired. Bettys Café Tea Room recommends refrigerating any leftover filling in espresso cups for a pastry-free dessert.

For a culinary history of Bettys and more sumptuous offerings, see page 93 of the Tea Pleasures 2018 issue from Victoria Classics.

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