The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800′s in England.
Daring Bakers’, you ask? Yup, Daring Bakers’ is a group that I recently joined in hopes of being exposed to and learning new baking styles, techniques, traditions, etc. I will be participating in it monthly and I will reveal my latest challenge outcomes on the 27th of each month, so keep an eye out for my new adventures. I am very excited to see what’s to come!
Okay, so as mentioned above, June’s challenge was a Bakewell Tart. I honestly had never even heard of this style tart before, let alone ever tried it. So this was definitely a whole new experience for me and my love of baking. Oh, and an experience it was! I must admit that my first challenge outcome was a bit of a flop. I mean, it’s edible and it tastes pretty good, but I had a tad bit of trouble with the baking time and the crust browning too quickly. Not to mention that the center of the frangipane was not quite cooked all of the way. Ooops! But hey, that is what this Daring Bakers experience is all about; learning about things I have never tried before and taking a stab at it. Practice makes perfect, right? In the end though I was pretty much able to fix my problems and end up with quite a yummy little dessert. It couldn’t have been too bad since Greg liked it and he isn’t really even a fan of those types of desserts.
Although I ran into a couple snafus, I must admit that this really isn’t that difficult of a dessert to make. There are a number of steps, but they are all quite simple. I think my biggest issue was the fact that I can’t for the life of me judge this oven we have. As an outcome, the outside cooked quicker than the inside, making me think that my oven had just cooked it faster (since that is normally what it tends to do). Next time I will just cover the top with foil if it browns too quickly. Rookie mistake!
Okay, so on to the tart…
Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin
One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds
Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it’s overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the center and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.
The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.
When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film
225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water
Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.
Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.
Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula
125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (or vanilla extract)
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour
Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in color and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. Don’t worry, that is the way it should look. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep it’s slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow color.