Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Bakewell Tart

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.

Yesterday I mentioned my trip to Fresh Market. Now, I can tell you that I bought these ingredients while I was there:

Almond extract, slivered almonds, and Lingonberry preserves. All ready for their big debut in this month's Daring Baker's Bakewell Tart challenge.

This traditional British tart recipe came to us in gram and ounce measurements, so I pulled out the Weight Watchers scale. Ironic, isn't it? :)

Anyway... this Bakewell Tart is made up of three components: a shortcrust pastry, a fruit preserve, and an almond based pudding called frangipane.

The shortcrust dough has to be made first.

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 did all that just fine. Grating a stick of butter was an interesting experience, but it worked out brilliantly. However... I'm clearly not practiced in the art of rolling out pastry dough.

Doesn't this look like a continent of some sort?

Based on some others' reviews of the recipe, I froze the rolled out and ready shortcrust for about a half hour before I continued with the next layers. This keeps the crust from getting soggy.

While the shortcrust chilled in the freezer, I prepared the frangipane.

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.

Mmmm... frangy. o_0

Now that the frangipane is ready and the crust is nice and chilled, it's time to assemble the troops. Go ahead and preheat the oven to 400 degrees now too.

In a Bakewell tart, the jam or preserves go down in a thin layer right on top of the crust. Many Daring Bakers made their own jams, but I chose to use the Lingonberry preserves I found at Fresh Market. I don't know why I end up getting nostalgic at Daring Baker times, but two summers ago my roommates and I fell in love with all things Lingonberry. IKEA sold Lingonberry concentrate in vats and we always had a pitcher made up in our refrigerator. When we made the trip to IKEA, we made sure to have the Swedish meatballs that are served with a little bit of lingonberry preserves on the side. Mmm... brilliant flavor combination. In fact... well... let me just try to maintain focus here.

The Lingonberry preserves were thin enough that I didn't need to heat them at all in order to spread them out. If your jam or preserves are thick and sticky, you may want to warm them just a bit.

Once the jam is on, dump the frangipane on top and spread it out to the sides. I think that this frangipane ended up smooshing my lingonberry goodness out to the edges of my tart, but I don't really know what I could have done differently. It looks like that happens to a lot of DB's tarts.

And that's it! Put the whole deal in the oven for 25 minutes and then (without removing it from the oven) sprinkle a few almonds on top and bake it for 5 more minutes.

Voila! A Bakewell Tart.

Patience was not my strong suit today and I ended up cutting the tart a bit prematurely. My frangipane was still a bit "squidgy" and some of it gooed out. However... when I cut my brother's peice a few minutes later, it was already firming up a bit more.

See? It's not quite so messy.

I had not tasted a Bakewell tart before the one I made today. So I don't really know what to compare it to.

My brother thinks the Bakewell tart might have been the original inspiration for Pop-Tarts. The flavor of the lingonberry and the shortcrust could actually support that. I'm just thrilled that my brother tried it!

Here's what I think: The crust was wonderful and perfect. It makes me want to make all kinds of tarts and pies and crumbles just so I can use that crust. The lingonberries were great, as usual, and they pair well with the almond flavor. The frangipane is... interesting. It's not really the sponge-like cake I was expecting but I'm not sure that I didn't undercook it because of the squidgyness. Or maybe I just didn't wait long enough for it to firm up.

Overall, it was a fun challenge. The challenge components were fairly simple to put together, and if I can figure out what went wrong with mine, I'm sure this would be an easily adaptable treat for holidays and parties.

***The recipe bits of this blog came straight from the challenge recipe posted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and AnneMarie of Ambrosia and Nectar.***


kmari03 said...

Awwww...sniffle. Lingonberries. I'm feeling very nostalgic as my IKEA kitchen is installed. Also, I'm hoping that it all goes well so I won't have to have icky feelings assoicated with my main lingonberry supplier. The frangipane-y stuff looks really good. Was it good melty like cookie dough, or did it taste better when it was firmed up?

Engineer Baker said...

What do you mean underbaked? I think with a little patience before cutting, yours would have looked picture-perfect. As is, now I'm craving everything lingonberry :)

Barbara Bakes said...

I would love to try it with Lingonberries - it sounds delicious!

isa said...

Your tart looks lovely! Beautiful step-by-step pictures. Love your lingonberries jam. Great job!

Lauren said...

I am so glad that someone's tart looked more like mine! That makes me feel better :) Great job!

Evan said...

Looks wonderful. I think perhaps a thinner layer of jam and a bit longer in the oven would have helped. I tried to fit 9" ingredients into an 11" pan, and that actually helped firm up the frangipane and keep the jam from leaking because of the thinner layers.

Great work, though.

Hilary said...

Hahaha the Weight Watchers scale - I LOVE the irony! I was the opposite of you - I loved the frangipane but wasn't wild about the crust.

I do wonder if you underbaked it a bit, because your pre-baked frangipane looks right on the money.

thereddeer said...

So that is what they serve up with the meatballs - I had always wondered.

kristenly said...

i've always wanted to try lingon berries. very creative! my frangipane wasn't so squidgy but then i think i over cooked mine a bit.

jasmine said...

What a great idea to use lingon berries--the combination with the almonds...mmmm...

Thanks for participating.


Me! said...

i just bought lingonberry jam from ikea for the first time ever a couple weeks ago. one of those random impulse buy. haven't tried it yet but now i definitely need to soon!

LP said...

Happy Birthday! Hope you had a great day...looks like you're still a gourmet chef...

Rose at The Bite Me Kitchen said...

BEAUTIFUL! Lingonberry YUM. :) I pulled mine out of the oven way too fast as well, they were a little wet instead of "squidgy"...

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Reasons #1 and #2 why I love your blog: "frangy" and "squidgy"!

:D :D :D

Elissa said...

Lingonberries sound like they'd be really wonderful with this tart! I had the same issue as you - I cut the first piece and the frangipane oozed out all over the place. But it finally cooled down, like yours, and I really liked it. Looks delicious!

Amanda said...

kmari03: It was only okay melty.

The closest thing I can think of is pecan pie. The squidginess creates a sweet gooey mess punctuated by all the little bits of almond pulverized in the food processor. It's an interesting situation. And definitely undercooked. The edges are more set up and more how it should be.

That said, my dad won't let me throw it away. He raves about it and continues to eat it. :)

Annemarie said...

I think the rolled out dough looks a bit like Ireland. :) I would guess that another few minutes in the oven would have taken care of the squidginess and made it a bit more spongey like you'd imagined, but your father seems a fan so it's far from a problem!

genkitummy said...

your bakewell tart looks great! i've never tried ligonberries, but I have seen them at IKEA and always wondered about them.

Anonymous said...

Just to say yes, you did underbake it! The frangipane in Bakewell Tart (not in Bakewell Pudding - these are two different things - the tart is quite widely available but you can only get the Pudding in Bakewell itself, a village in Derbyshire) should be like sponge cake although moister because of the ground almonds. But it looks very dark brown, so I'd suggest longer baking at a lower temperature. You can also ice the tart when cool with a basic icing sugar and water icing.
Sorry to be a dessert nerd, but I thought you'd be interested! :)

Amanda said...

And I am! Thanks for sharing, you anonymous wonder, you.

(I'm used to getting emails about Anonymous commenters only to find spam, so I was excited to see your very real, very informative comment.)