THE CHALLENGE: 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.
Bakewell tarts…er…puddings combine a number of dessert elements but still let you show off your area’s seasonal fruits.
Like many regional dishes there’s no “one way” to make a Bakewell Tart…er…Pudding, but most of today’s versions fall within one of two types. The first is the “pudding” where a layer of jam is covered by an almondy pastry cream and baked in puff pastry. The second is the “tart” where a rich shortcrust pastry holds jam and an almondy sponge cake-like filling.
The version we were dared to make is a combination of the two: a sweet almond-flavoured shortcrust pastry, frangipane and jam.
Makes one 23 cm (9” tart)
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23 cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin
One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
250 ml (1 cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability (The recipe I used
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 set out at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5 mm (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 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
30 g (1 oz) sugar
2.5 ml (½ tsp) salt
110 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 egg yolks
2.5 ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional) (I added the almond extract.)
15-30 ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water (I used the full 2 Tablespoons.)
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. (This sweet shortcrust pastry can be made in a food processor.)
Jam Layer – Pineapple, Lime, Vanilla
From: Sky-High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
By: Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne
1 can (20 ounce) crushed pineapple in juice (no added sugar)
1 cup sugar
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (I used a little more.)
1 one inch piece of vanilla bean split in half
Combine the pineapple, sugar and lime juice in a pan. Add the vanilla seeds you scraped from the vanilla bean. (I tossed in the vanilla bean pieces for added flavor. Just remember to remove them when cooking is complete.) Warm over a medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, 2 to 3 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the juices have almost completely evaporated and its turned jam-like in consistency. (This takes a while, do not expect it to happen in just a few minutes. Watch so it does not burn.) Can be made a day in advance and refrigerated.
125 g (4.5 oz) unsalted butter, softened
125 g (4.5 oz) icing sugar
2.5 ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125 g (4.5 oz) ground almonds
30 g (1 oz) all purpose flour
Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour 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. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. 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 its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pale yellow color.
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