Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Bakers - Bakewell (June 2009)

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.

This month’s challenge did not seem like a challenge at all. This could be because I am comfortable with making pastry dough and it did not have any hard to find ingredients. Of course, I could have taken the extra challenge of making my own jam, but I did not make the time to do that. That said, I still managed to mess up this simple recipe (read on...). all started with the Sweet Shortcut Pastry dough. Grating frozen butter was a bit messy and I certainly did not want to end up back at the Emergency Room again with a grated appendage. Considering that the box grater and I have sparred before (and it won, hence my hesitation), this was probably the worst part of the whole challenge. Once grated, and mixed with the dry ingredients, it was pretty clear sailing.

Pastry Dough in the Works

Once the dough was chilling, I turned my attention to the frangipane. Again, nothing too challenging or wild with this part of the recipe. Of course, after the fact, and as I write this entry I realized that I used the wrong kind of sugar! I used regular sugar, not icing (or confectioners) sugar! I think the “batter” still turned out just fine.

Frangipane...Ready for the

PS...Yes, I know this picture is rotated wrong...can't figure out how to fix it!

Once ready to assemble the tart, I microwaved a seedless raspberry jam a few seconds at a time, stirring between each 20 second interval. This worked out well. In fact, once I poured it into the tart, it was easily spread by just tilting the pan in order to get it into each area. I tried to ensure that the frangipane covered the jam entirely so that it wouldn’t bubble out once baking. I think it looked pretty good before it went in to the oven.

Ready for the Oven
Once the was almost done I added the almonds. I did them in a decorative pattern just for presentation’s sake, but they could have just as easily been randomly scattered on the top.


So, the reviews...even though I used the wrong sugar everyone that had a piece of this raved! Thinking about it now, it may have been too sweet had I used the icing sugar! It certainly did not compromise the finished product to use regular granulated sugar. I even had one person tell me that they would pay me to bake this again! Hmmm...grand ideas of opening my own bakery popped into my head ( if they ever really leave!). Here is the glamour shot of the finished product.

Yummy...Served Slightly Warmed

Thanks Jasmine and Annemarie for an easy challenge, that I still managed to accidentally tweak!

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 spread-ability
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 acclimatized 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.

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

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 color 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 color.
Enjoy With Love,


  1. Ummmm sounds delicious my dear!

  2. Deee-lectable! I think you did a great job!