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.***