Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: The Bakewell Tart

These tarts were delicious. I would make them again and before I tell you more about my experience with this month's challenge, let me introduce our hosts:

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.

When I first looked at the recipe when it was announced, I thought "Hmmmm, this looks really good". But as I began to make it, I realized I had made a tart very similar to this (using frangipane) at a bakery I used to work at in California, but didn't know the official name Bakewell Tart. The recipe is easy and the components can be done ahead of time. I've included my notes in orange.

Makes one 23cm (9” tart) - I've been so excited to use my new french tart rings, so instead of making a 9-inch tart, this amount yielded (6) 4-inch tarts.
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin
One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz))
jam or curd, warmed for spreadability - I used Apricot Jam & Raspberry Jam (store bought), because I was limited on time, but I will be making some Apricot Jam and will post about that later this summer.
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

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. *I froze my butter, then used the grater attachment with my food processor--this worked really well!

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


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.

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.

*I sliced some apricots and placed them on top of the frangipane, in addition to the apricot jam on the bottom.

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.

*You'll notice in the picture below, that I overfilled one of the tarts and it did spill over, but after they are baked and cooled slightly, the overflow peeled away from the ring--no worries!

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.

*Although these tarts are tasty even while warm, I highly recommend that you wait till cooled and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to an hour. You'll thank me when you taste them and enjoy the flavors that have melded together.

P.S. My favorite was the Apricot Tart with the Apricot slices--it worked great with the almond flavors.


  1. Jill. I'm so awed by your beautiful tarts and delicious flavors! They look straight out of a high end patisserie! Amazing work on this challenge! You've got some mad talent :)

  2. Wow! I love what you did with this challenge =D. All of your tarts are gorgeous, and your flavours sound divine!!

  3. Great pictures AND you made two versions? Fantastic. Congrats on completing the challenge!

  4. Oooooh how pretty!!! I wish I could try yours.

  5. Great job Jill! Lovely toppings.

  6. oh wow! gorgeous tarts...great work!

  7. The sliced apricots on top give your tarts a completely different -- and gorgeous! -- look. I also love the almond-flake "flower".

  8. They are beautiful, great job!
    (And those look like the rings that I told you I wanted to buy!)

  9. Gosh, the choices. All looks divine. Well done

  10. Beautiful tarts and delicious flavors! Great pictures.

  11. Thanks for everyone's kind comments! I'm sorry it took me so long to reply over on your blogs. I was out of town and didn't have access to a computer on the reveal date. I'm looking forward to see what everyone comes up with in the next challenge!

  12. Hi Jill! Beautiful pictures... I just love those tart rings! How cute! :)

  13. Your little tarts look beautiful. The apricot topped ones are my favourites. I should remember that when I make these again. :)

    Just saw the cake you made for your friend's wedding. Looks gorgeous.