The British have a way of naming food that hide any clues of what it they could possibly contain. But as far as a Bakewell Tart goes—June’s Daring Baker’s challenge—the name is at least halfway helpful. It’s a tart. Yes, it could be savory or it could be sweet, but at least one can bet that the resulting thing will be shallowish in nature and contain some kind of filled crust.
One can always bet.
Take for instance, Bubble and Squeak. From the name, the closest thing my eight year old self could guess was something kind of squeaky. Which would be a mouse. As it turns out, Bubble and Squeak are fried mashed potato patties filled with leftover chopped vegetables like broccoli. These are better than just plain leftover patties, because my British grandmother had a tendency to fry most things in bacon fat.
Also in my British-bacon fat experience in the Quadruple Bypass. Not the most appealing or revealing of names, but on a guess one could get large quantities of artery clogging goodness. Starting with bacon, of course, and sausages. Then, reserving the bacon fat, my grandmother would fry Bakie Toast—fried bread— in the bacon fat, as well as eggs and tomatoes. Of course, one can fry essentially anything in bacon fat and make it more delicious. Just a little creative license here and there.
Back to the Bakewell Tart. It’s a tart, yes. To be completely clear, in a non-Brit sort of way with food, it’s a short crust pastry layered with homemade preserves and then topped with frangipane. Simple and fail proof, and in no way resembling a pudding.
The Daring Baker’s lines….
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.
To adjust the tart I made a fresh cherry jam scented with almond extract and lemon and replaced 2 oz. of the flour in the crust with almond meal. I also used almond meal in the frangipane. This tart is similar to the French poached pear and apple tarts so I was tempted to just through the cherries in the frangipane and leave it at that. But then, of course, the name Bakewell Tart might have been a little misleading.
Cherry Preserves (Jam)
1.5 pounds fresh, unpitted Bing cherries
½ cup white sugar
1 cup water, plus ½ cup water for the slurry
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup corn starch
1. Wash and pit the cherries, placing them in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan with 1 cup water and sugar. With a wooden spoon, stir and mash the cherry mixture before putting it over medium high heat. Cover until the liquid comes to a boil and then bring to a simmer.
2. Stir the mixture and add the corn syrup, lemon juice, and extracts. Continue to stir while the mixture simmers. Mash the cherries to break down the fruit; I use a large fork against the wooden spoon. Continue simmering and mashing the mixture until it is reduced and thick, about 20 minutes.
3. Mix together the corn starch and ½ cup water until the corn starch is dissolved for the slurry. After combine, add to the simmering cherry mixture and cook until the slurry has cooked down and the cherry mixture no longer has a floury texture. Simmer until thickened.
4. At this point, one could take the filling off the heat and refrigerate until use. I prefer a smoother filling so I blended the cherry mixture until smooth and then refrigerated until use.
Adapted from thedaringkitchen.com, Hosts Jasmine and Annemarie
6 oz. flour
2 oz. almond meal or ground blanched almonds
1 oz. white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, cold or frozen and cut into small chunks
2 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon almond extract
1-3 tablespoons cold water
1. Sift together flour, almond meal, salt, and sugar into a food processor or large metal bowl. If using a food processor cut in the chunks of butter using the pulse function, if not cut in the butter using a pastry cutter until just barely combined and there are still large chunks of butter visible. This will keep the pastry flaky.
2. Add the egg yolks and pulse or mix until just barely combined. Dribble in the water until the pastry is just holding together in a ball. The trick to a flaky pastry is to work it as little as possible. Take the pastry and flatten in a disk and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Adapted from thedaringkitchen.com, hosts Jasmine and Annemarie
½ a cup and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
4.5 oz. white sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 large eggs
4.5 oz. almond meal or ground blanched almonds
1 oz. all purpose flour
1. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, mix after each addition. Mix in the almond extract and then the blanched almond and the flour until just combined.
1. Roll out pastry until ¼ inch thick and line your tart pans. Freeze for 30 minutes. I choose to prebake my tart shells at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, after pricking with a fork to reduce air bubbles. During cooling I made the frangipane.
2. Spread cherry preserve on the bottom of the cooled tart shells and then level off with the frangipane. Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 400 degree oven or until set, light golden brown, and poofy. Press sliced almonds into the top of the tart and return for 5 minutes. Let cool completely and then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Slice and serve.