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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Bakers in June: Bakewell Tart... er... Pudding

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.

A little history provided by the hosts of this month's challenge:

This tart, like many of the world's great foods has its own mythic beginnings…or several mythic beginnings. Legend has it in 1820 (or was it in the 1860s?) Mrs. Greaves, landlady of The White Horse Inn in Bakewell, Derbyshire (England), asked her cook to produce a pudding for her guests. Either her instructions could have been clearer or he should have paid better attention to what she said because what he made was not what she asked for. The cook spread the jam on top of the frangipane mixture rather than the other way around. Or maybe instead of a sweet rich shortcrust pastry case to hold the jam for a strawberry tart, he made a regular pastry and mixed the eggs and sugar separately and poured that over the jam—it depends upon which legend you follow.

Regardless of what the venerable Mrs. Greaves’ cook did or didn’t do, lore has it that her guests loved it and an ensuing pastry-clad industry was born. The town of Bakewell has since played host to many a sweet tooth in hopes of tasting the tart in its natural setting.

Bakewell tarts are a classic English dessert, abounding in supermarket baking sections and in ready-made, mass-produced forms, some sporting a thick sugary icing and glazed cherry on top for decorative effect.

So, you know what they say about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions? That is what this month's challenge was a bit of for me. Procrastination galore. The Bakewell Tarts we were given to make are made up of three components. None of them too difficult at all.

You have a sweet shortcrust pastry, a layer of jam, and a top of an almond cream mixture called frangipane. My good intentions were to make my own jam, since I usually make several kinds each year (strawberry, peach, pear, plum, blackberry, cherry). Well... not only didn't that happen for me this month, but I have been pretty much completely out of my homemade jams and need to get to work. The only one I had on hand during the challenge was a strawberry vanilla one that I haven't perfected yet - it is very fresh, bright and yummy tasting, but it didn't set right and is also too runny.

So, there go my good intentions - I used Simply Fruit Seedless Black Raspberry Jam for my jam layer - it was absolutely delicious! It is one of the jam flavors/varieties I am hoping to make this year. For the challenge I made 6-inch mini tarts. I just happen to like a more of a crust-to-filling ratio than the 9-inch tart would have allowed.

We really enjoyed this tart and I will make these again I am sure. It didn't take too long to put it together either, so it is a treat I could toss together at most any time. I really hope you give this a try! Next time I plan on making the whole cherry jam, cherry on top, frosted version - that should be really sweet!

Bakewell Tart / Pudding

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)
Bench flour
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 centre 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.

Jasmine’s notes:
• If you cannot have nuts, you can try substituting Victoria sponge for the frangipane. It's a pretty popular popular cake, so you shouldn't have any troubles finding one in one of your cookbooks or through a Google search. That said, our dear Natalie at Gluten a Go Go has sourced some recipes and linked to them in the related alt.db thread.
• You can use whichever jam you wish, but if you choose something with a lot of seeds, such as raspberry or blackberry, you should sieve them out.
• The jam quantity can be anywhere from 60ml (1/4 cup) to 250ml (1cup), depending upon how “damp” and strongly flavoured your preserves are. I made it with the lesser quantity of home made strawberry jam, while Annemarie made it with the greater quantity of cherry jam; we both had fabulous results. If in doubt, just split the difference and spread 150ml (2/3cup) on the crust.
Annemarie’s notes:
• The excess shortcrust can be rolled out and cut into cookie-shapes (heck, it’s pretty darned close to a shortbread dough).

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.

Jasmine’s notes:
• I make this using vanilla salt and vanilla sugar.
• If you wish, you can substitute the seeds of one vanilla bean, one teaspoon of vanilla paste or one teaspoon of vanilla extract for the almond extract


Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond 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 i

n 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 pallid yellow colour.


Arundathi said...

that looks delicious. quite perfect!

Barbara Bakes said...

I think I need to get some mini tart pans - adorable!

Manggy said...

Holly, your destination looks pretty much like heaven to me, despite it not being your special homemade jam! (By the way, you can actually save jam that is underprocessed, right?)

Di said...

Your minis look great. One of these days I'll have to try my hand at making jam.

Susan @ SGCC said...

Your tarts look so beautiful! I love the filling you used. What a great combination of flavors! Heavenly!

Snooky doodle said...

I love this tart and yours look perfect. I love the mini pie :)

Engineer Baker said...

My month was paved with good intentions as well - none came to fruition, oops! Yours looks wonderful!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Just lovely! It looks like they came out perfect!

17andbaking said...

Those little tarts look delicious. The frangipane was my favorite part of the whole thing and yours looks lovely!

isa said...

Looks delicious! Your minis are very cute! Love your black rasberry jam. Nicely done!

Sue Sparks said...

Love the mini tarts! I did that too:) Your blog is great!

Vera said...

Holly, your tarts look wonderful!

Lauren said...

Yum!! Your tarts looks amazing =D. I love your photos!

Mary said...

Wow your tart looks amazing!

Ria said...

They look so cute ! I loved the last pic!

Y said...

Looks lovely! I was a major procrastinator when it came to making this challenge too.

Connie Weiss said...

Nice job! I made the mini's too,

Jo said...

Great job on the tart and the filings. And I do think mini tarts are the best too.

culinography said...

Love the minis! SO cute!

Tracey said...

Mini baked treats are the cutest thing! Yours look amazing!

Tammy said...

cute tarts! i loved it too

Cristine said...

I procrastinated on this one, too! I finished it 2 days before post date. Oops! Your tart looks great!

Jacque said...

Aah, sorry you didn't get your jam made. Your tart sure looks good anyway :)

ice tea: sugar high said...

the tart looks great. Hopefully you can make it again when you had more time to make the jam.

Audax said...

Wonderful tart and berry is the best. And your tarts looks fab. Great effort on this challenge. Cheers Audax

Audax said...

Wonderful tart and berry is the best. And your tarts looks fab. Great effort on this challenge. Cheers Audax

The Bahens said...

Great job on your tarts. I hear what you're saying about good intentions; I made my tart the night of the 27th! I kept putting it off and putting it off and putting it off! I'm glad you liked how yours turned out in the end.

singinghorse said...

Your tarts look perfect!

pinkstripes said...

Your tarts look perfect. YUM.

Katrina said...

Looks delish! I need to get some mini tart pans.

Jaime said...

wow your layer of jam is super thick - yum!

Aran said...

Nothing beats homemade jam but they look great even without it. Do the kids help you make jam? How fun!

awhiskandaspoon said...

they look delish! love the golden color of frangipane (so tasty!)!

TeaLady said...

Great looking tart/pudding. This was almost too easy to taste soooo good.

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