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. Bakewell tarts…er…puddings combine a number of dessert elements but still let you show off your area’s seasonal fruits.
First of all let me tell you that this is my first Daring Bakers challenge! How exiting! I’ve been looking forward to it, and this first challenge was a real teatime treat. The actual baking was a lot easier than it first seemed. So it wasn’t a real challenge, but it was fun to make, because it’s the kind of thing that I normally wouldn’t care to bake. And that’s exactly why I joined Daring Bakers!
I usually stay away from desserts/cakes with jam, because I’m not a big jam fan, especially not when it’s in cakes. I don’t like it. Or I think I don’t like it. I think it’s the latter. But some food ideas needs to be challenged every now and then. (Thank you DB!) We all have our bad experiences with things we ate some time in early childhood that remains inedible until forced upon us, often many years later, and we realize we’ve been missing out and say “Hey, this stuff is actually good!”
I’ve never eaten jam on my bread, and I still don’t, exept if it’s homemade and is not really jam, just stirred berries and sugar. So when I saw the challenge I knew I needed to make myself some homemade jam. It’s the right season, so I could put some of that last rhubarb to use and try out a rhubarb and apricot recipe I had my eyes on. I made the sweet shortcrust pastry and jam one day, the frangipane and the assembling a few days later. But there was no need for that. I could easily have finished it in one afternoon. And so could you, so roll up your sleeves and challenge yourself with this British afternoon delight!
Sweet shortcrust pastry
225g all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
110g unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 egg yolks
½ tsp almond extract (optional)
1-2 Tbsp cold water
Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Work the butter quickly into the flour mixture, using your finger tips only, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside. Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using). As I didn’t have any I left that out. Quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, just enough to form a firm and slightly sticky dough.
Wrap the dough in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
125g unsalted butter, softened
125g icing sugar
½ tsp almond extract
125g ground almonds
30g all purpose flour
Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture turns lightly yellow in colour and very fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. At least my batter did. But that’s allright, because the recipe says so! Relief… After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides. Whisk in the ground nuts and the flour and mix well. The mixture will be soft and keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its yellowish colour.
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm thickness, by rolling in one direction only turning gradually after each roll. When the pastry reaches desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan of muffin tray of your choice – press in and trim the excess dough. Patch where it’s needed and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Rhubarb and apricot jam
150 g rhubarb
150 g dried apricots
350 g sugar
juice of 1 lemon
Chop the rhubarb and apricots into pieces
Place all the ingredients in a pan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring now and then.
Turn the heat up slight and let it bubble until jam setting point is reached but remember to stir as it does stick. Pour into hot jars and seal, if you’re not eating or using it right away!
Preheat oven to 200C.
Remove the shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. (If you want it to look pretty when you cut it. I made my jam with chunky bits, so the “layer”/spoonful was rather uneven)
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. 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. Remove from the oven and cool. When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.
Notes and verdict:
I didn’t have room in my freezer for the pan to chill, so I just put it in the fridge. I don’t know if that’s the reason, but when I put them in the oven the butter from the pastry or the frangipane started to melt and bubble up, making a buttier crust. I also had to take them out 5 minutes earlier, because they were turning quite brown. But they were baked and tasted delicious. I ate them warm with vanilla ice cream and rhubarb syrup. Absolutely tasteful! The rhubarb and apricot blended well together with the almonds from the frangipane. Sweet. I’m already looking forward to the next challenge! Mission complete!