Saturday, 27 June 2009

June Daring Bakers - 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.

If I was superstitious I would say I am not meant to be a Daring Baker. Last month's recipe wasn't a great success for me so I embraced this month's recipe (I love almonds) and put quite a lot of time into considering how I would put my own little twist on these.

In fact, one evening I went for a long walk on my own. Later in bed that night OH asked me, "Why did you go for a walk this evening?" "I needed some time to think," was my reply. He rolled over concerned and asked me, "What about?" "What I'm going to put into my Daring Bakers Challenge this month!" He groaned, rolled back and went to sleep.

I finally decided that I would make little tartlets. I couldn't choose between Raspberry Rose Jam (which I would make using rosewater) and a rich chocolate ganache, using a 100% cacao stick I had been saving, so I decided I would make both. But despite my best efforts, my local supermarkets and delis just would not cough up rosewater. So I ordered some rose syrup online. However, after waiting two weeks for it to arrive I gave up and went ahead and made plain raspberry jam (it did, of course, arrive that very afternoon)!

Then to top it all off, the morning I was in the middle of making my tartlets, my mum phoned to say my granny had died. I was in the middle of making them so I finished them off but all intentions of variations went out the window. And sadly to say, Bakewell Tarts will now always bear the association with my Granny's death.

Bakewell Tart…er…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 (I made my own Raspberry Jam)
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

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 egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional - I used it but would leave it out next time as the taste was too strong for me along with the extract in the frangipane)
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
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 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 pallid yellow colour.

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.

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  1. The tartlets must be an Irish thing. ;) Yours look great

  2. I am sorry to read about your granny's death..I know of the associations re: food and those who left us. Hopefully, in time, you'll be able to celebrate her (with or without the Bakewells).

    Thanks for participating.