Daring Baker’s Challenge, Bakewell Tart
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.
Inspirations and References: Allan Davidson, Tamasin Day Lewis, Anton Edelmann, Jane Grigson, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver.
Hosted by Jasmine, http://cardamomaddict.blogspot.com , and co-hosted by Annemarie, http://divineambrosia.blogspot.com/ . The month of June edition of Daring Bakers is made possible by the hard-work, dedication and daring spirit(s) of it’s founders, Lis, http://llcskitchen.blogspot.com/ and Ivonne, http://www.creampuffsinvenice.ca/ .
I toast this round to you ladies. My gratitude is boundless for the personal journey that allowed me to embark upon this precious surprise. I’m never going back to a simple, Plane Jane, pie. Setting my sites toward this new horizon has allowed me to uncover a pie and a cookie all rolled into one. I can make it as little, or as large as I wish. I can also hide my stash under lock and key.
A Bakewell Tart, well, I’ve never…….had such a beauty; never created, nor eaten, but that’s all a thing of my past. This lovely item will no longer escape me. I’m praising and singing, “Thanks!” to both Jasmine and Annemarie for their selection/offering for this months (June 2009) beautiful surprise.
I love jam.
I love pastry.
I adore almonds.
I rest my case.
This was described as a flan-like dessert. Well, I reside down here in Texas so you know I’m gonna give it a nickname:
Pie-Cookie. Okay, okay….FANCY Pie-Cookie, DECADENT PIE-COOKIE. (Yes, we do know what that word means. We save it to use on, ‘high-cotton’ items. This would be one of ‘em. :)
Homemade jam or jelly:
I’ve yet to give this jam a proper name, so let me just offer it as:
(Miss Lovely) Decadent Spread/Tea Syrup
- 1/4 cup diced crystallized ginger
- 1 fresh mango, sliced
- 2 fresh peaches, sliced
- 1 cup dried apricots*
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups cool tap water
*(I would have chosen fresh but I had a minor heart scenario in the produce aisle. It’s summer isn’t it? These are grown within our borders. Why do I have to sell my shoes to buy a pound? Oh forget it…I cheated. I used them dried things).
Place fruits, sugar and water into a favored saucepan and cook atop stove for hours on low heat. Don’t leave the house for fear of burning it down by your act of forgetfulness. Check on this beauty from time to time, it will eventually ‘come together’, but don’t give up and throw in the towel. Cook this even further. Allow that syrup to thicken a bit more. (No, you won’t need the syrup for this recipe. Then you ask, “Why?”….Fret not, you’ll want to just hold back that item for your next weeks fresh brewed tea. Maybe your cocktails? Heck, whatever you use it for, give thanks that you know how to create it, but don’t blame me if you gain some baggage by becoming ‘sweet’ on it.)
Okay, you know what to do with the excess liquid. Now let’s get down to using the COOLED fruit:
Mash it up, blenderize it, food-processor it, cut it with the pastry cutter, a fork. Just squish it up. You’ll need it pliable so that you can spread it onto the unbaked pastry tart shell. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, cover your mashed-up mess and refrigerate her/him until this baker calls you back into the mayhem.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- 225g (8 ounces) all-purpose flour (I used K.A. Pastry Flour, mellow-blend)
- 30g (1 ounce) sugar
- 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) salt (I opted for Kosher)
- 110g (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold (I froze my cube & then grated it with a cheese grater)
- 2 egg yolks (chilled)
- 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) almond extract (Don’t use artificial, you’ll miss the true flavor!)
- 15-30ml (1-2 Tablespoons) cold water
Sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Grate butter and combine with dry ingredients, working quickly and only until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.
Lightly beat your egg yolk with the extract, and working, quickly mix into the dry ingredients along with a slow dribble of ice water. DO NOT USE A GREATER AMT. of WATER THAN NECESSARY and DO NOT OVERWORK YOUR DOUGH, doing so will only create a tough, less than desirable mass.
We were instructed to form the dough into a disk-shape, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes*. My dough was very contentious so I formed two disk-shapes, chilled, and found them most easy to work with when it came time to roll and cut them for my tart tins.
Once the pastry is cut, and placed within shells, return the unfilled tarts* to the freezer as you continue on making the Frangipane.
*I brushed my tarts with an egg-white wash before freezing. I had heard that some folks were encountering soggy dough and had advised that perhaps a pre-bake of the shell was necessary. Unfounded for me, the wash helped to seal the shell against any juiciness that might occur once they were filled and baked.
Assembling the ingredients for the Frangipane:
- 125g (4.5 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 125 (4.5 ounces) icing sugar
- 3 eggs (I opted for room temp on this part of the instruction)
- 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) almond extract (again…I plead with you to use the REAL stuff) ;)
- 125g (4.5 ounces) ground almonds*
- 30g (1 ounce) all-purpose flour (I opted for K.A. pastry flour, again!)
Cream butter and sugar together until primrose in colour, were per instruction, but I had no idea what to ‘assume’ so I whipped it as I would any lovely, fluffy concoction, you know that great response we baker’s always like to use: Just until it felt right. It worked ;)
Next, add eggs, one at a time being sure to beat well after the additions. We are told that the batter will curdle a bit, but that we shouldn’t be alarmed. Douglas Adams words, Don’t panic: Really, It’ll be fine. … well, I trusted this dear soul, and guess what? He knows what he’s talking about. ;)
After all three of the eggs have been incorporated, add the almond extract and mix for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of your working bowl and add your ground almonds and the all-purpose flour, beating well. This mass will appear slightly curdled, but the ground almonds are the culprit here. I did mix this last concoction for three or four minutes on my mixer. The batter was very light and fluffy.
Apply a layer of jam/jelly to the frozen tart shell:
This layered nuance just gets better. I’m high-fiving step #3 when I realize that almonds are involved. Dang, I never realized how healthy my dessert could be until I swung a bat at this item. And, they refer to this sweetheart as, Frangipane. Sounds fancy from the start. I knew one of two things would happen: I’d sweat bullets over the concern of whether or not I could pull-off such an item, or I’d throw caution-to-the-wind and simply stand up to bat.
I hit a homer. :) Too bad you missed it! That sucker went straight over the center fielder and into the second tier of box seats. In my excitement I failed to snap a digi for you, but fret not, you can see the results in all their glory:
Shake down at A-O.K. Corral:
Are you a bit overwhelmed with the mass of instruction this post delivers? Do you wonder, where is she going with this, and how do I follow along? Well, after reading through this beauty, I agree. So here’s the scoop:
1. Make your jelly (oh, just go ahead and cheat! buy you a jar of your favorite jam/jelly and ‘pretend’ you whipped it up right there in the cave). NOT! Do yourself a big favor, make some jam or jelly. It doesn’t have to be something you fret over pressure cooking or water-bathing. Make a small enough amount that you can utilize it within the frame of a week or two, being sure to place it in a sterilized (through the trusty dishwasher) container, under the wraps of a cold fridge. Enjoy your efforts in the tart, a biscuit or two, whirled within a vanilla ice cream. The possibilities are endless, both with flavor combo’s at the beginning to the utilization of the end product. Give yourself a gift. Dream up and surprise yourself. You deserve to treat yourself respectfully. I encourage it. Here, have this pat on the back. :)
2. Prepare your pastry dough. Chill it for 30 minutes (guess what, you could even cheat on this if you took a notion to; go visit Mrs. Pillsbury or Sara Lee and her family in the dairy case part of the local market. I ain’t gonna tell nobody I saw you there without your makeup and jewels. We be friends. ;)
3. Prep/make the Frangipane. Okay girlfriend/boyfriend, this Frangipane has got to be the real deal, if for no other reason than I haven’t a clue one as to how you can fake it (oh, I actually did take a shortcut though, when I think about it. I had me some blanched almonds ready for a whirl in the processor, but the package from K.A. arrived with the almond flour so I just opted to have my nuts easy-scramble. I used those blanched ones for deco, along with some ginger slices).
Assembly of your Bakewell Tart
Remove your frozen shells from the freezer and spread an even layer of jam onto the base of each. Top with the Frangipane, being sure to spread it from cover to cover. Bake for 15 to 30 minutes in a preheated oven of 300C/400F (My smaller tarts baked easily at 15 minutes, my larger ones, 20 minutes). Gage the baking according to the look. The tops will be poofy and browned.
I chose to garnish some of my tarts with sliced ginger pieces, white chocolate chips and some were left to stand alone in their glory. You can top these beauties with what ever suits you, be it a dallop of whipped cream a layer of toasted almonds with a drizzle of melted chocolate, fruit puree; the possibilities are limitless.