Revealing the Daring Baker Challenge for the month of May - 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.
I just had to include this quote from our forum about what this tart er.. pudding is - Someone once said something like “The Bakewell pudding is a dessert. The Bakewell tart is that girl over there.” Flan-like desserts that combine either sweet egg custard over candied fruit or feature spiced ground almonds in a pastry shell have Mediaeval roots. By the latter half of the 1800s, the egg custard evolved into a frangipane-like filling; since then the quantity of jam decreased while the almond filling increased.
This month I got a chance to finish my challenge early, I mean in the first week itself. We had been invited to a gathering planned at our friends house, with another couple who were also our close friends. They had always wanted to try my daring bakers creations and so I decided this is the perfect chance to give them a taste of what they see on all these blogs!! But I wanted a taste of this before I took it over. So in the same afternoon, at the same time, I made a smaller 5" tart for the taste test and a large 10" tart for taking over to the party!
I accomplished quite a few firsts from this challenge, my first pastry crust, my first tart, and ofcourse my first tart er... pudding!
I made the sweet crust pastry according to the instructions (one complete recipe for the 10" tart and half the recipe for the 5" tart) and chilled it for 30 minutes. I had some trouble rolling out the pastry and I started thinking that maybe I didnt add enough water to hold it all together really well. So I just wet my hands with water and gently kneaded it without crusing it too much. While transferring the pastry crust to the tart pan, the experimental 5" tart took all the beating with a lot of tears and I patched the holes up with extra pastry dough. I was more careful with my 10" party tart and rolled out the crust carefully and managed to tarnsfer it draped over the rolling pin, to the tart pan. Once again the small tears were patched up with extra dough.
The 5" tart took a red plum jam filling and the 10" tart got a strawberry jam filling (both store-bought). I put the crust in the freezer for a few of minutes, to harden. Making the frangipane was a delight!! I ground the almonds in the food processor until very fine. I made the frangipane separately for the two tarts, half the recipe for 5" and the actual recipe for the 10". Once the jam filling was a bit set, I spread the frangipane on top and proceeded to bake the 5" tart first!
The tarts were baked individually. The 5" tart was baked at 400F for about 18 minutes. I didnt use sliced almonds on top while baking. It came out nice and puffy and golden brown, but becuase of my rough handling the part where my thumb poked into the edge of the tart, it got a crack on the side! I reduced the temperature of my oven to 350F for the 10" tart and baked the tart for a total of about 22 minutes. But for the 10" tart, I used sliced almonds on top during the final few minutes of baking. The reduced temperature actually made the tart cook properly and gave an amazing droolworthy light golden brown color.
I took pictures without the decoration and then took the 5" tart out of its pan, and did a chocolate cool whip swirls (which BTW dont look as cool as I thought it would). I also drizzled melted semi sweet chocolate on top. A few whole almonds on the chocolate swirls and the tart was ready to be devoured!! (Note the cool whip melting, becuase I just couldnt wait for the tart to cool down before cutting into it!!!). The 10" was topped with perfectly golden almond slices, which I took to the party!
We absolutely loved the balewell tart er.. pudding!!! The amazing texture and taste of frangipane has to be mentioned!! My sweet crust pastry, eventhough looked patched up while it was unbaked, was flawless after baking! The cherry jam filling was amazing and went well with the whole thing!! I was sure that the 10" would be just as fine, if not better!! My only complaint was that the jam was too sweet (the complaint has nothing to do with this challenge recipe - its my own fault, really - using the store-bought jam and using it generously!! ;-)). I just cant say enough of the tart er.. pudding. It was awesome, it really was!!!
The 10" tart with the strawberry filling, was taken to the party, and I took a couple of pictures of that, but my dear JM deleted the pictures from the camera unknowingly &^%*@*&!! (Note the tactical use of "dear" before his name!). The reality was that everyone were full to their throats by the time we decided that it was time for desserts. There was an icecream cake which was devoured first and then when it was time for the tart, everyone was stuffed, I know I was!! Anyways, the tart was welcomed with both hands, and I guess everybody loved it. Many commended that the jam was pretty sweet (duh! My bad!!).
I also took a couple of slices from my 5" tart to my work place where my collegue jumped on it and ate both the slices with a happy grin on his face. He remarked that he loved it and it was amazing!! I was worried about the crust, him being a pie lover, but it passed his rating too!! So all in all, I got a lot of taste testers this time around and I would say everyone liked it and some of us loooooved it!!!
One more succesful daring baker challenge and a few more happy customers, with love in their tummies!! :-) Thank you hosts for helping us complete another challenge well done!! Cant wait for the next one.....
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 flour250ml (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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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 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.
• Add another five minutes or more if you're grinding your own almonds or if you're mixing by hand (Heaven help you).
Signing off from Bakewell Tart er.. Pudding heaven, JZ! Check out all my previous Draing Bakers Challenges here! Have a great weekend!!