Saturday, June 27, 2009

Finally a daring baker!

I'm finally a daring baker! For the past year or so, I've eagerly checked my regular blogs at the end of every month to see what the daring bakers were dishing up next. I can't say that I had the time or inspiration to be as creative with this one as, say, Helen of Tartelette or Aran of Canelle et Vanille, but it's a start. I hope to get to some of the previous daring baker challenges as well: streudel, eclairs, and tuiles, ...

This month's challenge was the bakewell tart. I thought these tarts were good, but I won't be rushing to make them again too soon (personally, I think Dorie Greenspan's sweet tart dough is better). I made 6 muffin-sized tarts and two brioche-mold-sized tarts. I had a lot of frangipane leftover. I think the main problem with the tarts was the filling: I did some with a milk chocolate ganache, some with raspberry jam, and some with a combination of the two. The jam got very jelly-like when cooked, so the texture was a little on the rubbery side. The chocolate was better, but I've definitely had more interesting chocolate tarts. Check out the rest of the daring bakers to see other interpretations of these tarts.

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.


For the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Dough

Makes enough for one 9" tart or 8-9 smaller muffin-size tarts.

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
½ tsp salt
1 stick (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 egg yolks
½ tsp almond extract (I used vanilla)
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. (I used the food processor)

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the extract, 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.

For the Frangipane

9 Tbsp (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) powdered sugar
3 eggs
½ tsp almond extract (I used vanilla)
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 color 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, but it’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the 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 color.

Assembling the Tarts:

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 center 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 filling (I used raspberry jam on some, a chocolate ganache on some, and both the jam and ganache on others) 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 (for the full-size tart, about 20 minutes for the smaller tarts). 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. I had quite a bit of frangipane left over.

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.

*Thank you Derrick for the photographs!

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1 comment:

  1. your little tarts look great. i bet the chocolate was especially delicious!