My Bakewell Tart with homemade Lemon Curd!
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.
Like many regional dishes there’s no “one way” to make a Bakewell Tart…er…Pudding, but most of today’s versions fall within one of two types. The first is the “pudding” where a layer of jam is covered by an almondy pastry cream and baked in puff pastry. The second is the “tart” where a rich shortcrust pastry holds jam and an almondy sponge cake-like filling.
The version we were dared to make is a combination of the two: a sweet almond-flavoured shortcrust pastry, frangipane and jam.
Well I survived this challenge but just barely. I messed up a lot of things but I have to tell you it seems incredibly forgiving! Did I like it? No not really but that could just have been due to all of my mess ups. It is really everything it says it is suppose to be. On the real plus side I made Lemon Curd again and really, love it!!!
First I will give you the recipe and the directions and at the end I will tell you all of the wonderful ways that I messed this one up!
Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin
One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds
Assembling 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 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. 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 200C/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. 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.
When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.
• If you cannot have nuts, you can try substituting Victoria sponge for the frangipane. It's a pretty popular popular cake, so you shouldn't have any troubles finding one in one of your cookbooks or through a Google search.
• You can use whichever jam you wish, but if you choose something with a lot of seeds, such as raspberry or blackberry, you should sieve them out.
• The jam quantity can be anywhere from 60ml (1/4 cup) to 250ml (1cup), depending upon how “damp” and strongly flavoured your preserves are. I made it with the lesser quantity of home made strawberry jam, while Annemarie made it with the greater quantity of cherry jam; we both had fabulous results. If in doubt, just split the difference and spread 150ml (2/3cup) on the crust.
• The excess shortcrust can be rolled out and cut into cookie-shapes (heck, it’s pretty darned close to a shortbread dough).
Sweet shortcrust pastry
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film
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 make this using vanilla salt and vanilla sugar.
• If you wish, you can substitute the seeds of one vanilla bean, one teaspoon of vanilla paste or one teaspoon of vanilla extract for the almond extract
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula
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.
My self-inflicted woes:
- My first batch of lemon curd scrambled on me giving me lemon flavored scrambled eggs. Nothing really at all appealing about that except when you turn it into Lemon Curd Custard Style Ice Cream (post to come)
- Could not for the life of me figure out the measurements. Must have been something wrong with my brain but even using the scale wasn’t helping me…
- Made the crust but even after it being in the fridge for longer than 30 minutes (I played a game of scrabble with the girls) there was no way it was rolling anywhere! I ended up placing it in the pan and pressing it in. Even then it was really sticky. Into the freezer it went.
- Preheated the oven to 200 degrees. Yep you read that right. I heated the oven to 200 degrees and didn’t notice my mistake for a long, long time!
- Was making the frangipane and when I went to weigh out the almonds I realized that I was short. Very short. About halfway short. I had some chopped up pecans in the pantry so those got thrown in to the food processor and ground. I probably could have ground the nuts to a much smoother texture but really at that point my head was totally someplace else.
- I pulled the crust from the freezer and spread my freshly made and perfect lemon curd on top and topped it with my very dark but fluffy frangipane and placed all this in the oven that is set at 200 degrees and set the timer for 20 minutes.
- After 15 minutes I checked on the tart. Nothing had happened! That’s when logic seemed to filter through the haze and I realized that the 200 degrees was Celsius and not Fahrenheit and that my oven should have been at 400F!!!!!!!!
- Turned the oven up to 400F and crossed my fingers. After about 20 minutes it had browned up nicely but I think that the 15 minutes of soaking time at 200F had made the crust soggy.
All in all this was a good challenge. It certainly challenged me and isn’t that what all of this is about? Thanks to Annemarie and Jasmine for hosting this challenge!!!
This will be served for dessert to some friends tomorrow night and I am sure they won’t be anywhere near as critical as I am and will love it!