Today is the 27th of the month and once more the time for yet another Daring Baker post. I do sometimes wonder what those who are not Daring Bakers must think when so many similar posts pop up on food blogs all over the world.
Do they look forward to seeing our efforts or do they think "Not another one!" I wonder……….
But before I go further, may I mention that 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 tarts…er…puddings combine a number of dessert elements but still let you show off your area’s seasonal fruits.
Like many regional dishes there’s no “one way” to make a Bakewell Tart…er…Pudding, but most of today’s versions fall within one of two types. The first is the “pudding” where a layer of jam is covered by an almondy pastry cream and baked in puff pastry. The second is the “tart” where a rich shortcrust pastry holds jam and an almondy sponge cake-like filling.
This version is a combination of the two: a sweet almond-flavoured shortcrust pastry, frangipane and jam.
Another challenge that was new to me, though I had heard of the Bakewell Tart and there's a recipe and picture of it in one of my cookbooks. You can find a detailed Bakewell Tart history and lore on the hosts' blogs and the recipe here.
It wasn't too difficult to do, and I actually did this challenge early in the month to avoid last minute disasters (I don't work very well under too much pressure!).
My Bakewell Tart Experience:
In my usual fashion, I wanted to see if I could do an egg-free challenge. I halved the recipes for both the dough and the frangipane and decided to make 6 mini-tarts instead of 1 big tart. We were given the option of making our own jam, but I took the easy way out and chose to use a store bought mango jam.
Sweet shortcrust pastry:
I simply left out the egg yolks in the pastry dough and added very little of chilled water to bring the dough together.
Making the dough was a breeze. I prefer to use the food processor for making tart/ pie-crust dough because it means that since my hands aren't warming up the dough, it stays cooler and I get a better texture for my tart/ pie shell.
I divided the dough into 6 pieces, rolled out each into a circle just right to fit my muffin pans. This also meant that I had very little leftover dough scraps.
Cardamom flavoured almond frangipane:
I started out making my own almond meal as that's something we don't get here in the stores. I have made this before for some of the other DB challenges and grinding whole almonds to as fine a powder as possible. Too much grinding can make it a paste.
I store my stock of nuts in the freezer and this time I just blitzed the almonds in my mixer/ grinder, straight out of my freezer. I got a slightly finer almond meal than usual, but I'm sure this wasn't very kind on the blade!
Substituting for 1 egg is always easier.
One suggestion at the Alternative DB forum was to use egg replacers like Ener-G, but this is something I don't get here. So I used what I had previously used in my cheesecake challenge. Since the frangipane here is also somewhat like a custard, I figured using a paste of 3 tbsp tofu + 2 tsp cornstarch for every egg to be substituted.
I also added 1/2 a tsp freshly powdered cardamom which would pair well with the mango jam I was going to use. I also left out the almond extract here and used vanilla extract instead.
Otherwise, this step was also easy to do.
Assembling the mini-tarts:
This wasn't too difficult. I lined the muffin pans with the rolled out pastry, trimmed the edges and fluted them. Then I chilled them for about 15 minutes. This helps keep their shape while filling them.
Sometimes, it happens that the jam leaks out of the pastry shell during baking. One way to prevent this is to brush the bottom of the tart shell with egg white and then blind-bake it. Another is to brush a layer of chocolate. So naturally, I chose chocolate!
So, I spread a nice layer of melted semi-sweet chocolate on the bottom of my mini-tarts and chilled them for 10 minutes to set the chocolate.
Then I spread a thin layer of mango jam and chilled the mini-tarts again, for another 15 minutes before filling them up with the frangipane. I decorated them with halved almonds as I don't get flaked almonds either, and I just wasn't keen (or daring) enough to that by hand!
I ended up baking my mini-tarts for 40 minutes, 10 minutes more than specified, before they took on a nice brown colour. They were still a little soft to touch, but cooked through.
My mini-tarts had puffed up beautifully in the oven but they caved in slightly once they had cooled down. Other than this minor aesthetic hitch in the whole process, this was one easy challenge.
The sweet short-crust pastry was very flaky and the frangipane was soft and almost cake-like in appearance and texture. The chocolate I used also balanced out the sweetness of my mango jam. And using tofu worked.
An interesting textured and tasty dessert on the whole was the general consensus.
You'll find lots more beautifully baked Bakewell Tarts…er…Puddings here.