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.
As usual, I left this month’s Daring Bakers challenge until the last possible minute! Fortunately, it was a pretty easy one to throw together. We made a Bakewell Tart, which I am to understand is a classic British dessert (or “pudding”, as they say across the pond). It’s basically a pastry crust with a layer of jam spread on top, filled with a batter of eggs, butter & ground almonds (aka frangipane). Thanks to the help of my food processor and stand mixer, I was able to put this together Thursday after work and before band practice. (I went up north Friday, so had to have it done before we left.) Fortunately, the intense heat of the past couple days subsided just in time for me to heat up my kitchen with a 400-degree oven!
The results of my tart were somewhat mixed. It’s hard to say if it was successful since I’ve never tried or seen one of these with the exception of looking at other DBers’ photos, but the first thing I noticed was that my frangipane didn’t puff up whatsoever; it was fairly dense. Also, the quantity of pastry crust called for seemed much more suitable to a 10 or 10.5″ tart pan rather than a 9″ (I used the whole quantity as specified, and ended up with a pretty thick crust that didn’t fully cook through).
Perhaps I would have had a better result if I had cooked the tart 5 minutes or so longer, but the top looked slightly browned and felt firm so I thought it was done. However, my crust ended up pretty pale. I don’t want to call the result a “fail”, but it just wasn’t to my taste. I’m not a fan of baked goods that seem so moist that you feel you’re almost eating raw batter (I can’t stand doughy cookies or overly “fudgy” brownies), and this tart was verging on that texture. I was, however, quite pleased with the flavor combination I chose. I used apricot-orange preserves from Trader Joe’s for the jam, and the flavors of the fruit paired brilliantly with the almonds.
Verdict: If you’re a fan of almonds, and are looking for a fairly easy dessert recipe to put together, I would give this a go. You may just want to bake it a little longer, or possibly add another tbs of flour if you prefer a less damp texture. Also, the ground almonds I used were not skinned, so perhaps that’s why my tart had a denser texture (although the recipe did not specify skinned ground almonds). I think skinned almonds would have lent a more refined appearance and possibly allowed the frangipane to puff up more.
6/29 Update: I went away for the weekend and stuck the remainder of my tart in the fridge; I had a piece today, cold, and liked it much better! The texture was more like a firm bar cookie rather than a squidgy undercooked tart.