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 mandatory elements of this month’s challenge were making our own pastry dough for the tart and the egg/custard like topping: frangipane. I had never even heard of frangipane before this and since I am partial to chocolate desserts, I was skeptical. I chose to make my own Strawberry Peach Jam and I am infinitely glad I did. It was the reason that I kept craving this tart after I first tried it. The jam was nothing short of amazing, I wish I had made enough to have left over but I didn’t anticipate it being so good! The strawberry peach jam went perfect with the almond frangipane topping. It was a great dessert! And not too difficult either! I think next time I make this I would probably use a store bought pastry crust (shocking, I know) because I actually like Pillsbury’s pie crust better than the crust I made from scratch.
It’s hard to describe the consistency and texture of the frangipane without grossing you out…it was spongey and moister than a cake, light, sweet, and tasty. I think the ground almonds add a much needed texture because otherwise the frangipane alone would just be too spongey and plain. The sweetness of the jam complements the frangipane perfectly and who doesn’t like pie crust? I would encourage y’all to try this dessert! I had never heard of it before and as I said, I was skeptical, but it was delicious. I know I say that me and my friends devour most things I bake in around 48 hours, but really…this was gone almost as soon as it cooled and the left overs were eaten the next morning. I actually had to throw away some of the extra for fear I would eat the whole thing. Yummmmm it was so delicious! This is perfect for summer when berries are in season and everyone’s in the mood for fruity desserts. Even Ariel my toughest critic loved it! The Strawberry Peach jam is my new jam, so good, and I owe it to this month’s challenge because otherwise I never would have been inspired to try my hand at making jam.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
8 oz all purpose flour
1 oz sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional, 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.
Lightly beat the egg yolks and the almond extract together, 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 wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
4.5 oz (a little more than one stick) unsalted butter, softened
4.5 oz confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract (I used vanilla)
4.5 oz ground almonds
1 oz all purpose flour
Cream the 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, don’t panic! Really, it’ll be fine. After all 3 are in, pour in 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 color.
Strawberry Peach Jam– you need about 1 cup
Click this LINK for the recipe!
Assembling the Tart
Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface, if it’s overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimated for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 1/4 inch 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 desire size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes and tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove shell from freezer and 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 the oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to oven for the last 5 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 oven and cool on the counter for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm with creme fraiche, whipped cream, or custard sauce if you wish.