The Daring Bakers bake a Bakewell well

Once again the challenge for the Daring Bakers turned out to be something we never would have encountered otherwise:
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.
A Bakewell what? Luckily, Jasmine and Annemarie provided us Daring Bakers with an ample background history in their challenge presentation post:
This tart, like many of the world's great foods has its own mythic beginnings…or several mythic beginnings. Legend has it in 1820 (or was it in the 1860s?) Mrs. Greaves, landlady of The White Horse Inn in Bakewell, Derbyshire (England), asked her cook to produce a pudding for her guests. Either her instructions could have been clearer or he should have paid better attention to what she said because what he made was not what she asked for. The cook spread the jam on top of the frangipane mixture rather than the other way around. Or maybe instead of a sweet rich shortcrust pastry case to hold the jam for a strawberry tart, he made a regular pastry and mixed the eggs and sugar separately and poured that over the jam—it depends upon which legend you follow.

Regardless of what the venerable Mrs. Greaves’ cook did or didn’t do, lore has it that her guests loved it and an ensuing pastry-clad industry was born. The town of Bakewell has since played host to many a sweet tooth in hopes of tasting the tart in its natural setting.

Bakewell tarts are a classic English dessert, abounding in supermarket baking sections and in ready-made, mass-produced forms, some sporting a thick sugary icing and glazed cherry on top for decorative effect.

There are different versions of the Bakewell Tart, er, or pudding. Yes, there's apparently also some confusion as to whether it's a tart or a pudding. Since there is a British habit of calling any desert "pudding", let's just say that this pudding is a tart.

The version of the Bakewell tart we were asked to make had three elements.
1. Sweet shortcrust pastry
2. Jam or curd (what flavour was up to the Daring Bakers to decided themselves)
3. Frangipane

For the recipes, visit the blogs of our lovely hosts, or go to the Daring Kitchen recipe archive.

A Bakewell tartelette, decorated with pastry dough.

Here are a few notes on our experience of making the Bakewell tart:
- The hardest part of the process was probably to transfer the rolled out dough for the crust from the working area to the pie tin. It wanted to break up in way too many pieces, but by carefully rolling it up Markus managed to make it without any serious breakage.
- We ground the almonds for the frangipane ourselves, using our wonderful almond grinder/mill, that I have inherited from my grandmother. It makes great almond meal. We didn't remember/care to blanch and peel the almonds before grinding them, so our frangipane had some dark speckles of almond skins in it. We didn't think it mattered.
-After reading the experiences of some fellow Daring Bakers on the private forums, we decided to blind bake the unfilled shortcrust before chilling and filling it. Some Daring Bakers reported problems with an underbaked crust, but this seemed to solve that problem.
- The options for the jam filling are of course endless. We went with the bounty of the season and used rhubarb from my dad's garden. Recipe for the rhubarb jam below.

We decided to bring the Bakewell tart as a desert to our Midsummer's celebration, held the following day. Since we wanted to make sure it tasted good before serving it to our friends, we also made small sample tartelette that we ate while it was still a bit warm from the oven. It was absolutely lovely - the crust had perfect texture, the frangipane was fluffy and luxurious, and the tangy rhubarb jam went wonderfully with the almond flavour of the frangipane. Our friends really enjoyed it too, and almost the whole thing disappeared. You see, that's very Swedish, leaving the last piece of something. Nobody wants to be the one eating the last piece of cake. Well, I'll usually eat it, but I was just too full after a whole day of gorgeous food.

A slice of Bakewell tart. You can't really see the jam, but you could definitely taste it... Yum!

Unfortunately we didn't get any good pictures of the big Midsummer Bakewell tart. We couldn't really tell our friends to hold their spoons while we ran around looking for good lighting and angles. I just got a quick, and bad, shot of my slice before devouring it.

Thank you Jasmine and Annemarie for a really fun challenge - we are definitely adding this to our regular baking repertoire. I can't wait to try this with plum jam later this summer...!

Rhubarb jam

400 g rhubarb, cut in small pieces (peel the stalks if necessary)
200 g jam sugar (sugar with added pectin)

Put the rhubarb and sugar in a pot. Let it bubble on medium heat, stirring often, until it turns into jam.

This makes enough to fill one big Bakewell tart (our pie tin has a diameter of about 25 cm). You will also get some leftovers - pour it into a jar and keep in the fridge. It is lovely on freshly baked scones...

Previously completed challenges:
February 2009: Chocolate Valentino
March 2009: Lasagne of Emiglia-Romana
April 2009: Cheesecake
May 2009: Strudel

1 comment:

  1. Rhubarb jam sounds so yummy! Good job on the June challenge!