Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jun 27: Daring Bakers' Bakewell Pudding ???

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/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.

The version we Daring Bakers are baking is a combination of the two: a sweet almond-flavoured shortcrust pastry, frangipane and jam.

Many thanks to the two hostesses for creating this challenge. For those interested in the full Bakewell Tart History and Lore, feel free to visit their blogs.
Hostess: Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict
Co-hostess: Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar

A pudding that looks like a tart? So is it a pudding or a tart?
Being an inquisitive person, I had to find out more.
In the US, pudding refers to a very soft milk based/custardy dessert. Many of us from our childhood remember comedian Bill Cosby being the pitchman for "Jel-looooooooooo Pudddddding" and "Jel-looooooooooo Pudddddding POPS"

However, according to Alton Brown, pudding in the UK refers to a cooked (baked, boiled or steamed) bready concoction, such as figgy pudding (sweet) or Yorkshire pudding (savory).

Ah... now the pudding/tart part makes sense!

The Challenge
We have two mandatory elements:
1) Sweet Shortcrust Pastry - Yes, it’s a pie pastry, with the addition of eggs. We’re encouraged to make it by hand.

2) Frangipane - It’s a rich, almondy and sweet bread-like/pudding (in the UK sense) topping.

The Recipe: Bakewell Tart…er…pudding
Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Baking time: 30 minutes at 400F

Sweet shortcrust pastry
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.

Most of us have made pies, but using a box grater to grate the butter into something that looked like mozzarella.

Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

My bread crumb look... :)

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

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 [by volume... it worked out to 1 1/2 cups of slivered almonds.]
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

The neat part of this challenge is grinding the almonds (using another gadget!) Ground almonds is something new to me, but I really like the taste of almonds.

Ground 1/2 C at a time using a blender.

Shake the container a little while the blender is running. The shaking will ensure the big pieces do make it to the blender blades.!

Pass the ground almonds through a sieve to strain out the larger chunks.

Comparing the ground almonds with the slivered almonds. The ground almonds looked like Parmesan cheese from the can. lol! :)

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.

Really. It’ll be fine.

Sure enough... adding the egg creates a curdled appearance.

Fortunately, the egg whipped in easily.

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.

Assembling the tart
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

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.

Since I'm making a tart, I trimmed the crust flush with the pie pan.

Remove shell from freezer, spread an even a layer of jam (1 Cup) into the pastry base.

1 C Raspberry Preserves (store bought)

Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart.

Smooth the top.

Using an offset spatula to smooth the topping.

Ready to pop into a 400F 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.

Important: Based upon my results, you need to check the tart about 20 minutes in. The sugar content of the frangipane will brown quickly. If it's too dark, you can cover with aluminum foil. Removed the foil for the last 5 minutes.

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.

After 30 minutes...

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.

Oops! The center isn't quite set. Did I cut the Bakewell a tad early or should I have baked a little longer? I think it's a little of both. I should have done the toothpick test on the center before removing from the oven.

The initial bite you're hit with a very sweet taste. However, the tartness of the raspberry preserves acts to temper/counteract the sweetness. I enjoyed the almonds flavor of the dessert. I don't think the pudding was fully set and had a polenta like mouth feel. Overll, the dessert was still delicious.


Anonymous said...

Not only did your tart come out lovely, but I love how the frangipane browned on the outide, and remained so yellow and creamy like on the inside - almost like a puff of sunset clouds. I could not find a good almond flour, so I ground my own, hence all the specks..argh! Great job as usual, John!

Audax said...

John you always amaze me on your fab postings all those pixs showing every step of the process and I have the colour of the frangipane layer. Cheers Audax

Anna said...

Your tart is mouth watering! Can I have some...? ;) Very nice photos.

Anonymous said...

I love the photo series. Great looking tart in the end. Beautifully done!

Dragon said...

Absolute perfection! Great job on this month’s challenge.

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

The colours looks good. And you did the challenge with step-by-step pictures too.
Ground my almonds the same way but from whole almonds. Don't get slivers here.

Lauren said...

Yum!! Your tart looks amazingly good =D. I love the colour of your jam!! Beautiful job on this challenge!!

ice tea: sugar high said...

Same here, the pudding i know growing up is the custard or jelly kind, not the baked bready thingy.

Your tart looks wonderful, love the oozy jam filling =)

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and your tart came out looking really delicious. Love the step by step photos.

Amy J. said...

Mmm, that looks like such a comfort food Home Run!