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.
That would be the mandatory “blog checking” statement for Daring Bakers. If I do not include it they will send their stable of high powered attorneys out to hunt me down and hang my by my toes from the nearest Bakery Sign. Well, not really, but they will kick me out … eventually. But enough chit-chat, lets get to the money shot!
There were two mandatory elements to this challenge, one was the Frangipane Top and the other was the Shortcrust Bottom/sides. What went in-between was up for debate. Apparently the traditional filling is Strawberry Jam. So of course, being completely traditional I just went ahead with that.
ummm, yeah, like anyone believes that. I spent some time on the DB forums spying reading what others were doing and Audax commented on how he prevented soggy crust by putting a layer of chocolate over the bottom before baking. Brilliant! But I could not swipe the idea directly so I kept that on the back burner. Wracking my poor little noggin I tried to decide what kind of fruit filling I would like to go with.
Many of the other bakers, after actually doing the challenge, remarked on how much they liked the fact that it isn’t an overly sweet dessert. PHOEEY ON THAT! I want my teeth to rot out of my head. Armed with the knowledge that the topping & crust come out not too sweet I was better able to decide what to add. And in the end I decided to on a riff on a classic American flavor treat for this classically British dessert. Caramel Apples.
So, sandwiched between the Frangipane and Shortcrust are a layer of caramels melted in a little milk to keep them from setting up too tight and Apple Butter. I adore apple butter. It’s cinnamon-y lusciousness is something I could eat with a spoon, but usually you have to put it on some biscuits or something – just to keep up appearances. But not this time, I dumped the entire jar in there, and it was good.
I am not certain if I can actually post the recipe here, so I will hold off until the reveal. If it turns out I can I will update with the recipe and the issues I had.
Early the next day, we return to find our Heroine hard at work …
I have checked some of the more experienced bakers posts, and yes indeedy I can post the recipe. Here goes it!
Hardware: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges) [I used a 9″ round straight sided cake pan], rolling pin, big hole grater, bowl, hand mixer
Software for the crust:
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 [I ended up using 4 T and I don’t know if that was enough]
Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater [this was a giant pain in the butt]. 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 [ooooh fancy Brit word for Saranwrap] and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
Software for the Frangipane:
125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar [fancy Brit word for powdered sugar]
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds [I ground my own in the blender, didn’t bother to take the skins off]
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 [fancy Brit spelling for color].
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability [I used a whole jar of Apple Butter – probably 2+ cups]
One handful blanched, flaked almonds [I bought what they had at the store – which was skin on]
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 [oooh more fancy Brit spelling] 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.
For my filling:
I bought a bag of Kraft Caramels and peeled about 28 (I did not peel extra and eat them, at least you cannot prove it) and chucked them into a double boiler. Or I chucked them into a metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water – you guess what actually happened. I added a few glugs of milk to make sure that it didn’t set up hard enough to pull out my mom’s new crown. Those things are expensive and painful, I didn’t want her to have to go through that again.
For assembly, I poured the caramel in the crust and spread it out. Then topped it with the apple butter. First I put in a cup as the recipe said, and it didn’t look like enough. Then I put in another cup and it looked pretty good, but there was only about 1/4 C left in the jar and I didn’t want to keep that in the ‘fridge to interfere with my other science experiments – so I dumped the whole thing in. Proceeded with the recipe as written.
After the allotted cooking time it still wiggled like Santa’s tummy and it was getting really brown on top. So I dropped the heat to 325 (no clue what that is in Celsius) and let it cook longer. And longer, and longer until it appeared to be done. All total I think it was in there for at least 50 min to an hour. Your results may vary.
I am glad I finished my first Daring Bakers challenge and look forward to the next one. This is something that I never would have cooked left to my own devices. heh heh heh