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.
Thank you Jasmine and Annemarie for chosing such a beautiful recipe it is a delight to make and even better to eat.
The pastry was very simple to make. It bakes exactly like shortbread and when it is baked it is crispy and wonderful. It makes for a beautiful tart. I have a little machine that makes perfect tarts including the crimping on the edges. I used little disposable aluminium pie tins.
Meanwhile the frangipane was a little more troublesome the mixture curdled so much it looked like vomit and even adding the flours as per the recipe it still looked like soft curds BUT when baked it seems to form a soft crust almost like another pastry topping that is wonderful with the jam filling and the crisp shortbread. When cooled the bakewell tart is like a biscuit (cookie) sandwich with a crisp shortbread base a jam filling with a softer but firm frangipane biscuit on the top, very good. These would be great treat for a high tea or a Sunday afternoon coffee/tea break.
I have never used frangipane before and I thought it might go soft and flow over the sides so I left some room on the top for this – BUT this isn't the case it sets firm and goes puffy so feel free to place the frangipane to the edges of the crimped tart and pile it high on top of the jam filling. I piped the frangipane onto the tart then I used a teaspoon to smooth the top. I didn't use any nuts as the jams I used where enough I thought.
First batch I did mini-tartlettes and they take 20 mins.
With the mini-tarts I tried for equal layers of shortbread/jam/frangipane and this makes the tart taste like a biscuit sandwich very crisp first bite with a great soft tooth jam/frangipane aftertaste - but for a larger tart I would pile the frangipane on much higher because this is what you would expect from a larger tart.
I thought that the jam and frangipane would make the shortbread crust soggy so I froze the empty tart shells for about 45 mins this seemed to do the trick - the shells didn't take up any moisture at all - I think that the jam also stops any liquid from the frangipane leaking into the shell.
Home-made peach and passion fruit jam
100 grams of peaches and strained passion fruit (to remove black seeds)
100grams of jam-making sugar
Place ingredients in pan and simmer for five minutes. Cool then use.
The tarts with the fillings of 1st row peach/passion-fruit, 2nd row fig/almond, 3rd row poppyseed, left foreground Nutella, and right foreground preserved fig.
The mini-tarts covered with the soft curdy-like frangipane.
The baked tart as you can see is puffy and golden brown – the frangipane sets like a soft pastry layer that is firm to the touch and soft to the tooth. A delightful topping and very easy to make – also it is very quick to make.
Closeup of the bakewell tart - frangipane is nice and brown
Stack of bakewell tarts (foodgawker #29834)
Stack of half tarts
From the top - Fig, Poppy Seed and Nutella
Peach/Passion Fruit and preserved green fig
Extreme close up of the tart. Notice crisp shortbread base, poppy seed jam and the primrose frangipane topping
Second batch of Bakewell tarts...er...pudings - I had friends came over and they cannot eat almonds so I chose to do two variations on the normal almond frangipane. It is exactly the same recipe except substitute pistachio or hazelnut meal instead of the almond meal and use vanilla essence instead of almond essence. The pistachio ones where very very nice earthy and full of grunt and a great green colour while the hazelnut ones where more light and better suited with tea not coffee. I did low flat mini-tarts and high mini-tarts - I did 1/3 the frangipane recipe and made four for each shape. I ground the meal in a mortar and pestal until it was fairly fine about 3 minutes. Next time I would use half all-purpose flour and self-raising flour to help puff the nut frangipane a little more since I could only get a medium-sized meal.
Bakewell tart with pistachio frangipane and filled with dulce de leche
Bakewell tart with pistachio frangipane and filled with dulce de leche and nutella
Bakewell tart with hazelnut frangipane and filled with apricot
Bakewell tart with hazelnut frangipane and filled with peach and passionfruit
Four large tarts with pistachio and hazelnut frangipane
Top left pistachio &dulce de leche Bottom left pistachio with dulce de leche and nutella
Top right hazelnut with apricot Bottom right hazelnut with peach and passionfruit
Four mini tarts
Top left pistachio with dulce de leche & nutella Bottom left pistachio with dulce de leche
Top right hazelnut with apricot Bottom right hazelnut with peach and passionfruit
Third batch Bakewells - I did some more bakewell tarts using Victoria Sponge since my guests children couldn't have nuts – these are lemon curd and raspberry. I used intimation almond essence in the sponge. As you can see it is very similar to the normal frangipane tarts, and tastes almost the same and much cheaper.
The Victoria Sponge bakewell tart cuts the same as the frangipane tart.
Cut lemon curd tarts
Cut raspberry tarts
Stack of tarts
Victoria sponge using all purpose flour
Weigh your large eggs (without shells) and then equal weights of castor sugar, AP flour, butter.
For each egg add 1/3 tsp baking powder; 1/4 tsp of baking soda; a dash of salt; 1 tsp of hot water and a dash of flavouring.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, add eggs a little at a time beat well, add flavouring then fold in the well sifted flour/baking powder/baking soda/salt mixture then add hot water, mix, the batter should fall off a spoon. Bake 170C (340F) until cake feels springy about 30 mins for a 2 egg sponge. (Use large eggs in this recipe to keep the ratio of flour:rising agents:liquid correct. Egg shells weigh about 11% of the total weight of the egg. Large eggs without shells weigh approx 47 grams each.)
Fourth batch of Bakewell......Yesterday I did a very tall tart – I used an old tuna fish can and lined it with pastry and blind baked it for 15 mins then filled it with blackberry jam froze then topped it off with a fangipane.
Blind baked shell it would take so long to bake the very high tart I was worried that the crust would go soggy
Baked tart very brown and well cooked this took 45 mins
Decorated cake with icing sugar and whole almonds
Perfect cutting of the extra tall tart it took over 1 hour to cool.
As featured on Tastespotting #48242
Sweet shortcrust pastry
The least handled dough is the best made dough.
The most important points while making pastry by hand is to
1. keep everything as cold as possible – I place the mixing bowl, the sifted flour/sugar/salt, grated butter, water and egg yolks in the freezer to get all ingredients the same cold temperature.
2. be quick (use a food processor if possible will make everything in under 1 min while by hand 30 secs longer)
3. use your fingers as little as possible
4. use as little liquid as possible
5. don't be delicate just quick when rubbing in the butter and you don't need a smooth dough at the end
Sift together flour, sugar and salt and place into the freezer make sure you sift from a height this allows air to be incorporated into the mixture and trapped air is what makes pastry light.
Grated butter (using the large hole-side of a box grater) straight from the freezer (grate the cold butter first then place into the freezer much easier than grating a frozen block of butter)
Place grated butter onto the flour mixture.
Using your finger tips only (I use a fork with a knife for most of the process using my fingers near the end), and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles pea-sized lumps. As you lightly rub the fat into the flour, lift it up high and let it fall back down into the bowl, which again means that air is being incorporated all the time, and air is what makes pastry light, make sure all the flour is coated with fat. Set aside. I have two pictures so you can see exactly what it looks like. You want small pieces of butter showing. Do not keep cutting and tossing the butter so that the butter chunks all become pea sized. The butter chunks should mostly remain a bit larger than peas and vary in size, ranging from lima bean size to pea size. This is where most people go wrong and 'rub' the butter until it starts to melt into the flour – the idea is to have separate particles of butter coating the flour this produces the flakiest pastry. How can you tell if you are doing right – smell your fingers if they smell of butter you have melted the butter into the flour and not rubbed it in – this was the “test” that I had to pass by the person who taught me to make pastry I had to make pastry and not have buttery fingers. Try it.
Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Egg yolks tenderize and soften the final product.
Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough. Water allows for the most gluten formation (the strengthening of flour protein once a liquid is added and incorporated), which does not mean the dough will be tough or chewy, but it does enhance the flaky air pockets and the slight crunch in the mouth. This is the other place where most people go wrong adding too much water – the dough only needs to JUST stick together resting and rolling will do the rest. Notice how 'dry' it looks but this will produce the lightest crispest and flakiest pastry!!!
Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The formed disk of pastry (just enough water to hold most of the ball together is exactly right) before chilling.
Looks like I haven't added enough water doesn't it!?
The chilled pastry ready for use. Notice how the butter is not distributed evenly in the pastry this is what you want.
A close up of the dough after it has been chilled
An extreme close up of the dough noticed how the butter is not spread out equally in the dough
Roll out the pastry dough between two sheets of waxed paper
A close up of the rolled pastry dough ready to be used
The finished crust should be chilled before it goes into the oven. As this type of crust bakes, the flour and water layers set or gel, trapping the fat in sealed pockets. Steam develops in these sealed cells and they expand, creating an aerated pocket and a flaky texture in the finished crust.
I did home-made jam using “jam-making sugar” that contains pectin – it is simple equal quantities of fruit and sugar and simmer for five minutes and the jam is ready. It works for any sort of fruit. Jam is simple if you use CSR brand product called "Jam setting sugar" the web site is here also if you want to make pan jam our kind and wonderful co-hostess has a posting here which I'm sure you can adapt for most soft fruits.
A friend told me that his mum used to make corn cob jam I was intrigued so I thought I would give it a go – remember to remove the corn from the cob. Amazingly it tastes like apples, honey and butter. I added a tiny pinch of saffron to add some colour since it is a very very pale yellow almost transparent without the colour. Very nice and something that very few people have tasted or heard about.
Corn Cob Jam
Corn Cob Jam
* 12 sweet corn cobs, corn removed
* 4 cups water
* 4 cups sugar
* 1 box (1¾ oz=50gms) fruit pectin
(or 4 cups of 'jam-setting-sugar' and leave out the pectin)
1.Bring water with cobs to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.
2.Measure 3 cups and strain through wet cheesecloth.
3.Pour into a large saucepan with pectin and bring to a rolling boil.
5.Bring back to a boil and boil for 3 min.
6.Skim Add food colouring if you want.
7.Tastes like apple honey (butter).
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)
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.
• 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).