Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bakewell Tart

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.

SO... I'm not exactly sure why my tart looks like this. The other Daring Bakers had more cake-like results. Mine was more like a pie, really. In fact, it tasted a lot like a super lemony sugar pie. Perhaps it was because I used pecans instead of almonds in my frangipane? Or maybe because I used a lemon curd? Overall rating: It tasted good... it was highlighted by the tasty lemons of Italy... and I would put it in the "I probably won't make this again category".

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

Jasmine’s notes:
• I make this using vanilla salt and vanilla sugar.
• If you wish, you can substitute the seeds of one vanilla bean, one teaspoon of vanilla paste or one teaspoon of vanilla extract for the almond extract


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.

Lemon Curd

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice
3 lemons, zested
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Cook in the microwave for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.


  1. It would probably be helpful to know how to assemble it! Sorry!!

    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.

  2. I don't know why your tart tourned out not exctly as you expcted it... My was great - and in fact now it's one of my favourite desserts. I would say to try it again but this time sticking to the recipe more... meaning almonds and jam instead of the curd. Oh, maybe you baked it for not enough time, and it didn't have time to 'set up' completely...? Cheers.

  3. That is one beautiful Bakewell Tart! I love the way the lemon curd oozes outbut thickly, and gooey..not runny. Love the way you topped it too! Well done!

  4. What a cute plate and yummy looking dessert!

  5. My tart looks more like yours than any of the others I've seen! I think that maybe I didn't cook it long enough but my tart was really quite dark on top so I thought that it would set up more as it cooled.

    Next time I might lower the temp a bit and cook it longer.

    I agree with what you said... mine is tasty, but definitely not the sponge cake that others turned out. :(

  6. You might not have been happy with the way it looks but I think it looks fine. Great job on this month's challenge.

  7. I think yours looks great & citrus anything gets my vote! Well done. You can probably slip a loose piece of foil over the top whie baking, if you think the top is browning to fast.

  8. All that matters is that it TASTED good!! My large tart also turned out that way and I used hazelnuts instead of the almonds. Now that I have read yours I think that maybe it's the type of nut?!? Oh well, they tasted great! Bravo!

  9. I don't know - it looks pretty spectacular to me! I certainly wouldn't turn down a slice!

  10. Looks good to me too! I would love to try it!

  11. Even though yours turned out a bit gooey it looks amazing! I am actually very fond of gooey things so I kinda wish mine turned out more like pudding! That is awesome you live in Italy, my mother in law is Italian and she and my father inlaw are leaving in August to live in Milan for a year and a half. Darling blog-I'll stop by often!

  12. Mine didn't look like this, but different kitchens - weather - etc. - who knows! Yours looks yummy nonetheless! :)

  13. I was wondering if you had layers separate or if the curd and the frangipane melt together... Anyway, it looks nice despite the "different" result. I'd give it a go with another combination of nuts and jam - in my opinion it worths the try. ;)

  14. Sorry to hear it didn't work as well for you. Still looks good enough to me.


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