Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bakewell Tart - Baking Challenge

Bakewell Tarts

'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.

Like many regional dishes there’s no “one way” to make a Bakewell Tart…or…Pudding, but most of today’s versions fall within one of two types. The first is the “pudding” where a layer of jam is covered by an almondy pastry cream and baked in puff pastry. The second is the “tart” where a rich shortcrust pastry holds jam and an almondy sponge cake-like filling.'


Apparently the naming confusion comes from the British manner of referring to the dessert course as “pudding.” So any dessert is a pudding until another name comes along and adds clarity to what it really is.

My timing is really off when choosing what desert to make because they usually coincide with the Daring Bakers Challenge choice. But this time I didn’t mind making more tarts at all because I love tarts and so do my colleagues!

I really wanted to try making June Taylor’s strawberry jam after seeing her live demo at a local food event earlier this month; if only I hadn’t been suffering from sleep deprivation for the past few weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, I started thinking about what to put in my bakewell tarts. The first thing I knew was that I didn’t want to use a commercial jelly nor chocolate which exist ubiquitously. So I took a peek in my fridge and I found an open jar of Mariage Frères Darjeeling tea jam that I just opened recently. This jam was given to me as a gift and came in a set with a can of loose tea leaves. For a person who loves tea anything, this is like heaven. You can tell that I’ve already consumed quite a bit since I opened it less than a month ago. Although you can’t smell the tea at all it has an amazing aromatic flavor that pleasantly spreads in your month.


Darjeeling Tea Jam

Darjeeling Tea Jam

Tea Leaves

To incorporate this jam into a dessert, which contains my other favorite flavors such as almonds and butter, was a bit wasteful I thought. So, I chose a couple of other flavors to conserve my precious tea jam and added more variety – freshly pureed raspberries and fig spread. They all tasted very different and they were unable to compete for the best flavor simply because they were all qualified for the best. The tea jam one was very moist and the great part was when the jam melted in my mouth. The raspberry one too was quite moist but instead infused sweet tanginess to the tart and had the perfect amount of sweetness for my taste. The fig seeds added interesting texture to the tart and this tart was the firmest of all and kept the shortbread tart crust nice and flaky.

Tea Jam Bakewell Tart

Fig Bakewell Tart

The recipe only appears long which may be intimidating for people who don’t bake, but honestly, this is probably one of the easiest recipes next to the shortbread cookies. I’m actually planning on making it again for a party next month. And this time I’m looking forward to making June Tayor’s strawberry jams.
Thanks to Jasmine and Annemarie for introducing me to such a wonderful dessert!


Bakewell Tart Recipe from Jasmine & Annemarie

Bakewell Tarts

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
Frangipane

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).

41 comments:

  1. They look just amazing! You did a great job indeed :) Cheers.

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  2. Really gorgeous tarts...I love your photos!

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  3. Great job love your tarts so pretty, and that jam looks amazing!

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  4. The square tarts are just too cute! I'll bet the tea jam was delicious with the almond, too.

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  5. Wow ! Very unique shapes...and beautiful pics..they look delish !! Cheers...

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  6. c'est magnifique ! je ne connais pas cette gelée de thé, mais j'imagine aisément que ça doit être fantastique :)

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  7. Beautiful pics,I wish I could get my hands on that darjeeling gelee :)

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  8. Wow, these are stunning! Great job on this month's challenge.

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  9. Stunning little square tea Bakewells and presentation, not to mention, gorgeous photos! Love the tea jam too, as well as the others. Delicious and beautiful!

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  10. Just too gorgeous. I love the tea flavours & the little squares. Your kitchen is beautiful, & your pictures inspiring!

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  11. Beautiful little squares! So creative and love the pictures!

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  12. I am loving the squares! That tea jam sounds divine! And, figs would go perfectly with this tart. Great job on your challenge.

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  13. Beautiful pictures! The square tarts are soo cute and that tea jam sounds delicious!

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  14. what pretty tartlets! I love their shape and your choice of filling!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  15. Your tarts look gorgeous and the jam looks amazing. I love the way you had baked these off as squares rather than the conventional round shapes. Beautiful presentation and pictures as well.

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  16. how cutee! just love your little tart parcels looks very tempting! yumm!!

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  17. I love your little square tarts! They are so cute. Great job!
    ~Blondie

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  18. Oh, gorgeous little squares. I love those! ..

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  19. Your tarts are too adorable - and look very tasty, I must say!

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  20. Your little tarts don't only look cute, they looks scrumptious!

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  21. Simply lovely! Your photographs are gorgeous, and the tarts are so appealing and cute! Excellent job!

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  22. Oh my goodness, these tarts look divine. I visit the Mariage Frere store (shrine) every time I am in Paris and always collect their products. They make candles that smell like heaven. The jams and jellies are divine. Sorry, got distracted there.
    I can only image what a delicious addition they made, but I am sure that your tarts on their own were incredibly tasty.

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  23. OMG, this is beautiful! I love the squares, the styling, the fact that you put the cup of tea IN the cake... Beautiful indeed!

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  24. Absolutely lovely. Really like the square tarts and the idea of the tea jam. Well done!

    Thanks for participating.
    j

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  25. so so so cute. they look like little presents. great ideas.

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  26. Fig, tea aand berry all sound good but I think the tea is my fav. And the square tart...er....pudding shape is super And love the pixs. Cheers from Audax in Australia

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  27. Love the tea jam! Another item I wish I could find here in Texas:( I love that you made them into mini square tarts, v. chic.

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  28. Totally amazing pictures. Especially the reflections of the tea leaves in the storage tin and the "cavern" between the crust and the frangipane.

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  29. How adorable.. love how different and cute they look. Anything tea infused is a winner to me. Great job

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  30. What an amazing jam. Cute little tarts.

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  31. I love how you stacked your mini tarts! So cute!

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  32. I love cakes and tars in mini size. yours looks gorgeous and delicious. And your photos are beautiful

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  33. I really love the square shape. nice pics!

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  34. Very charming little parcels. Thanks for the tip on Mariage Frères Darjeeling jam. I've had the tea (the best I've ever sipped), but *now* I must hunt down the jam. : )

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  35. Inventive, and absolutely adorable! How u even manage to resist these while u photograph them, I'll never understand!

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  36. I love your square little tarts! The fig flavor sounds amazing! Also, thanks for your comment on my blog--sorry it took me so long to respond. I've been out of town and wasn't able to be near a computer, even on the reveal day. I'm looking forward to following your blog! :)

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  37. These look incredible! Where did you find the tart pan?

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  38. these are so cute! loved learning about the bakewell tarts.

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