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 have never heard or Bakelwell tarts before, so didn't know what to expect. It turns out it is a tart shell layered with jam and topped with frangipane. That's the best way I can describe it. I also had never made frangipane before, and was excited about that. Frangipane is a almond flavoured filling that can be used in many different ways and it is often found in French pastries. It was easy to make and I loved the flavour of it.
I followed the recipe given to us and ended up with a surplus of both shortcrust pastry and frangipane. Not a problem, just made some small tartlets using muffin size baking shells. It worked out great. By reading the comments from other Daring Bakers, I realized that when making a large size tart it would be better to pre-bake, or blind bake the shell, or the jam could make it soggy. I did that with my 9 inch tart and the dough was perfectly cooked at the end. The small tartlets didn't need to do that, but I made sure they stayed in the freezer for a while before I baked them.
I used an organic, good quality, store bought raspberry jam for my bakewell tarts, but any kind of jam or spread would work too, homemade or store bought. The recipe can be split into two days (prepare the shortcrust pastry in one day and the rest in another day).
I really enjoyed making this challenge, the tarts were so delicious, very delicate and elegant. Head over to the Daring Bakers home to see plenty more bakewell tarts and get inspired!
Bakewell Tart Ingredients List:
One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
1cup of raspberry jam
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Sweet shortcrust pastry Recipe:
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
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.
Assembling the tart
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
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.
For a large 9 inch pie: blind bake the tart shell before moving to the next step. To do that, cover the cold tart shell with foil, place beans or pie weights on top of it and bake for about 15 minutes, until slightly golden brown.
For small muffin-size tartlets: continue with recipe as bellow, baking the frozen tartlets straight out of the freezer.
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.
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 giggly and the crust should be crisp but not tough.