This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge was a new one for me since I'd never heard of it before. 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.
The individual elements were pretty easy, and if you make the crust ahead of time, it's quick to assemble. (Note: I had to change the amound of liquid in the crust from 1-2 Tbsp to 6.5 Tbsp cold water to form the dough.) The tart/pudding has three main elements, and I chose to use some black currant preserves I had in the pantry instead of making my own jam. It worked so well with the almond flavor that we devoured half of it the evening I baked it. It's good at room temp, but it's delicious when it's warm. I didn't put anything else on it (like whipped cream, creme fraiche, or even powdered sugar), and I really didn't think it needed anything else. The tart is sweet enough for dessert, but it wasn't overly sweet and had a pleasing combination of textures. I'll definitely be making this one again....perhaps with a chocolate ganache instead of jam...
Bakewell Tart/Pudding (makes one 9" tart)
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (recipe follows)
bench flour (all purpose)
1 cup jam/curd (I used black currant preserves), warmed for spreadability
Frangipane (recipe follows)
handful blanched, flaked almonds
To Assemble 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 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 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. (Be sure to watch it; mine got brown rather fast, so I turned down the oven to 375F. Gently shake it and make sure the center is set before removing from the oven.) 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.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
8 oz all purpose flour
1 oz sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz unsalted butter, cold or frozen
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Cold water (start with 1-2 Tbsp, and add more as needed to form the dough - I used 6.5 Tbsp)
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.
4.5 oz unsalted butter, softened
4.5 oz confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
4.5 oz ground almonds
1 oz all purpose flour
Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is pale yellow 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 - just keep mixing. 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.