Saturday, June 27, 2009
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.
The challenge was pretty simple; the pictures had my mouth watering; the actual baking day went smoothly. The only thing that made it turn sour? Sweetness. My cherry jam was too sweet! So sweet that when we stopped by my parents house to share the challenge results, my mom couldn't even eat her entire piece of Bakewell Tart…er…pudding. My husband found it too sweet, as well. My dad and I? Eh... we still ate it. No use in wasting a good baked treat!
I chose to go with cherry jam to make a cherry and almond combo. See now, even typing it out now is making my mouth water.... how I love cherries and almond together! I'll have to give it another go with a different jam recipe.
I had never made cherry jam before, so I Googled a recipe and found one that seemed harmless. However, it was made with liquid pectin and that should have been my first clue to stay away from it. I've never had luck with liquid pectin. My jam never set so I had to re-do it by adding a concoction of more sugar, pectin and lemon juice. It did eventually set, but by then it was too sweet.
Other than the jam not being the best choice, the rest of the recipe was a breeze and the frangipane was delicious once it was peeled off of the sweet jam! I could have eaten the entire layer by myself!
BUT! If anything good came of this, is that I got a new favorite kitchen gadget out of this challenge. A cherry pitter! If you do not have one, I highly recommend getting one. I got mine at Target for about $10- hours of fun for the whole family! Okay, maybe not hours, but my kids sure love using it (and so do I!)!
Makes one 9” tart
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 9” tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin
One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
1 cup jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds
Assembling the tart
(I made little thumbprint cookies with the pie crust scraps!)
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 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 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.
• 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 1/4 cup to 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 2/3cup on the crust.
Sweet shortcrust pastry
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film
8oz all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4oz unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 egg yolks
1/2tsp almond extract (optional)
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
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula
4.5oz unsalted butter, softened
4.5oz icing sugar
½ tsp almond extract
4.5oz ground almonds
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.
1 quart sweet or sour cherries, chopped and pitted
6 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice (use only with sweet cherries)
2 pouches liquid pectin
Combine cherries, sugar and lemon juice (if needed) in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Stir in liquid pectin. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam, if necessary.
Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps.
Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.
Makes about 8 half-pints.