Saturday, 27 June 2009

Daring Bakers - Bakewell!

So I finally joined the Daring Bakers - I've admired their baking for sometime (long before I started my own blog). I never dreamed I would join as the challenges looked just that bit too challenging. Then I bought my KitchenAid and it opened up a whole array of baking pleasures that I never imagined baking. So I decided I would join in with all the fun the Daring Bakers were having. My first challenge was not only fun but very successful!

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 live only an hour from Bakewell, Derbyshire, the home of the Bakewell tart so it seemed fitting my first challenge would be a traditional, local recipe. The weekend after the challenge was anounced my boyfriends parents were coming down to visit us for a meal so I decided that it would be a good idea to bake the tart for them. I was a little nervous I had bitten off more than I could chew (I'd never made pastry before) and that we'd be running round to the local supermarket at the last minute to buy a replacement dessert. I shouldn't have worried the tart was a massive success. It looked and tasted exactly as we all remember Bakewell tarts did on previous occasions when we have eaten them. I will definatley be saving this recipe and baking it again (my boyfriend has already started planning when I can bake it again!).

Preparations for the challenge involved a trip to Lakeland to buy a flan tin and resulted in the purchase of several non-essential baking items! In addition to the flan tin I bought a baguette pan, yeast, chopper/scrapper for bread making and a bit randomly a piping bag set (I've never decorated cakes before!).

The challenge

  • Bake a giant tart, medium tart or individual tartlettes.
  • Make the sweet shortcrust pastry from scratch, ideally by hand.
  • Make the frangipane layer.
  • Optional homemade jam or curd

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
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 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.

Annemarie’s notes:
• Add another five minutes or more if you're grinding your own almonds or if you're mixing by hand (Heaven help you).


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Audax said...

Wonderful first challenge and you will became a better baker because of it. Nice pixs and great that this is a keeper for you. Very brave to make bakewell in the home of bakewell tarts/pudding and getting such a great result.

Lauren said...

I'm glad the tart worked well!! It looks divine =D. Beautiful job on your first challenge!!

Corry said...


Your tart looks wonderful and delicious. The KitchenAid is the best thing that I have ever invested in as well and you will be amazed at what you will be doing.

Dips said...

Great job done with the bakewell tart ! Looks scrumptious..

ice tea: sugar high said...

ah yes,, how kitchen aid revolutionize my baking/cooking. Great job on your first challenge, that tart looked great.

Annemarie said...

The men do seem to love the tart! Well done on your first challenge and glad it hasn't scared you off from the group.