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.
I was looking forward to this challenge because it was simple… and something new for me.  Apparently these little tarts or puddings, or whatever you want to call them are quite popular in the UK.  One of my favourite things is when a recipe’s ingredients can all be found in my cupboard… no shopping needed!

The optional elements of this challenge were the sizes of the tarts: individual, medium or one big tart and then the fruit/curd filling…we could use whatever we had, homemade or store bought.  I have just returned from a visit with my grandmother in the Okanagan, and on the way home picked up 10 lbs of perfectly fresh cherries.  So I have opted to make a quick stove-top cherry compote to accompany these.  Served with deliciously creamy icecream – a great summer treat!

bakewell tart

Tart Ingredients:

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Flour for dusting
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

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Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Ingredients

225g (8oz) all purpose flour – I used Whole Wheat AP 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

Directions:

  1. Sift together flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. (this part was brillant)
  3. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.
  4. Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture.
  5. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.
  6. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minute

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Frangipane Ingredients
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

Directions

  1. Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy.
  2. 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.  Really. It’ll be fine.
  3. After all three eggs are in, pour in the vanilla extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again.
  4. 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.

Assembling the Tart

  1. 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.
  2. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (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.
  3. 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.
  4. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
  6. Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base.
  7. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart.
  8. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes.
  9. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish.
  10. 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 (unlike mine with the almost black edges – still tasted good though!) 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.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.  Check out many more fantastically delicious tarts…puddings (?) from the fantastically talented Daring Bakers!

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