27 June 2009

Daring Bakers' Challenge - Bakewell Tart....er, Pudding

I'm going to preface this post by sharing an old adage that you have all heard a million times, "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it." That's how I felt about this month's Daring Baker challenge results. :(

When I found out about the challenge, I spoke with a British friend's mom who told me in her day Bakewell Tarts certainly did not include frangipane and are traditionally served with a layer of cherry or strawberry preserves and icing on top. But since the challenge told us any curds, jams, etc, were welcome, I decided to mix things up by making 3 varieties: one with lemon curd and blackberries, one with confiture du lait and one with a fig/violet jam. The results were less than stellar but as I said, my lips are sealed.

If you have always dreamed of making a Bakewell Tart, this very well may be a recipe you want to try. As for me, I'm sticking with cupcakes! What follows are the mandatory info and the recipes/directions from Daring Bakers. Enjoy!

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.

The version we’re daring you to make is a combination of the two: a sweet almond-flavoured shortcrust pastry, frangipane and jam.

Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
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 flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

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.

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


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.


  1. I'm sorry your tarts didn't turn out the way you were hoping, but they look beautiful, and I love the way you presented them - plus the flavors sound nummy! lso love the Go Go's link! Love that song..memories!

  2. Félicitations! J'aime beaucoup tes différentes versions et ta présentation. Je suis désolée que cela n'a pas été à la hauteur de tes attentes...

  3. Even though they didn t turn out perfect. they look delicious and presentation is awesome

  4. Sorry they didn't work perfectly, but your tarts look really good =D. I love all of the flavours you tried, they sound wonderful!!

  5. Thank you all, I think it was the flavor combos plus the almonds that didn;t work for me. I'm just not that into frangipane.

  6. Oooph! Sorry that you were disappointed with the Bakewells. Maybe next month will be a better challenge for you.

  7. So sorry to hear that this challenge wasn't a successful one for you. Hopefully next month will be much better

  8. Daring Bakers for me is a lot like my book club. I joined because I want to try different things, things I may not have chosen for myself personally. Whether I like the results of a recipe (or the story of a book) is kind of inconsequential. It's more about discovering something different and gaining new experiences. So in that aspect, The Bakewell was a success!