27 Jun

Backwell steps

I am a poor blogger. I rarely post and when I do it is rushed and disconnected.

Thank goodness for Daring Bakers….not only does it make me blog, it makes me bake.  I take seriously the challenge to try and experiment with the recipes and I have a lot of fun doing it.

This months theme: Bakewell Tart.

A traditional British recipe for which I have a bunch of recipes (thank you Good Food Magazine).  But I wanted to make it my own.  So I took apart the recipe provided to us and put it back together as a layered dessert with stacks of almonds/blueberry/vanilla crunch, hence deconstruction.

Part One: Frangipane

An almond filling that acts almost like a cake. Typically, spread on top of the tart, I baked it separately making a sort of almond sponge cake.

Part Two: Blueberry Pate of Fruit

Inspired by Tartlette’s blog on pate de fruit I decided to try my hand at it. I had a freezer full of Maine blueberries (from last season) and since it is almost time to pick again I figured I would use up the last of them and try my hand at this lovely light candy.  It did not turn out so well. It never solidified into a true fruit jelly and I think I will eventually try my hand at it again. But it tasted lovely, I substituted lime juice which set off the berries very nicely.

Part Three: Sable Cookies

The base for my Bakewell tart was not a traditional pie dough but rather a sable cookie.  This not so sweet cookie, topped with vanilla sugar was the perfect crunch to off set the smooth and cakey topping.


And now for the requisite tag and the recipe.

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 Tart…er…pudding

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)
Bench flour
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.

• 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.

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


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.


7 Responses to “Deconstruction”

  1. sara June 27, 2009 at 13:56 #

    Yum, this looks really delicious! I love the idea of the blueberry filling…sounds really yummy. 🙂

  2. Sky June 27, 2009 at 16:28 #

    hey there,

    please put up the recipe for egg salad with mango pickle. i want to make it. it was yummy!!!

  3. Lauren June 28, 2009 at 02:10 #

    Cute =D. I love the deconstructed version of this tart!! Wonderful job on this challenge!!

  4. JeanZ June 28, 2009 at 04:11 #

    What a creative deconstructing idea! I love the flavors you chose as well. Vanilla, blueberries, almonds, YUM. Congrats on a job well done!

  5. asti soehoed June 29, 2009 at 13:13 #

    Fantastic take on the original recipe. Great job.

  6. BitterSweet June 30, 2009 at 01:21 #

    Nice, I like your take on this challenge! Very creative indeed. 🙂

  7. deserthomespun July 2, 2009 at 17:25 #

    so so yummy!

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