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.
As far as Daring Bakers challenges go, this wasn’t so much one of my favorites. It didn’t seem like much of a challenge to me (the hardest thing was grinding the almonds by hand, which is why my frangipane probably ended up a little crunchier than it should have been). And the tart itself… it wasn’t bad, per say, but I wouldn’t make it again. All of us who tried it enjoyed it well enough, but just found it sort of… meh. Nothing special. If it had stayed at home, it probably wouldn’t have been eaten up. Of course, with something like the Daring Bakers challenges you can’t expect to love every single one of them… it’s too bad this Bakewell Tart was one of those that I just couldn’t fall in love with.
Sweet shortcrust pastry:
- 225 g all-purpose flour
- 30 g sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 oz unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1-2 tbsp cold water
- 4.5 oz unsalted butter, softened
- 125 g powdered sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 125 g ground almonds
- 30 g all-purpose flour
Finishing the tart:
- 1 cup jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
- One handful blanched, flaked almonds
- 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 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
- 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, but that’s okay.
- After all three eggs are mixed in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds then 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.
- 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 1/4″ thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the center 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 a 9″ pie 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 400°F.
- 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 bake 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.