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.
This tart, or pudding depending on who you ask, is made using a sweet shortcrust pastry tart shell, topping it traditionally with jam, and covering it with frangipane - similar to an almond pastry cream. I decided to move away from the fruity jam (I had just made a pineapple cake, and felt like something a little more chocolatey) and simply layered the bottom with some melted chocolate.
Sweet shortcrust pastry:
225 grams all-purpose flour
30 grams sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
110 grams butter, very cold or frozen, cut into medium pieces
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1-2 tablespoons cold water
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to bring together. Add the butter chunks and pulse until all the large pieces have been broken up, and you have remaining a mixture of small pieces of butter with some the size of a split pea. Turn the processor on, and add the egg yolks, followed by almond extract, and 1 tablespoon of water. Add half-teaspoons of the remaining water until the dough begins to come together, forming a slightly sticky dough. Wrap in cling wrap and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
125 grams butter, room temperature
125 grams icing sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
125 grams finely ground almonds
30 grams flour
Cream together the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, medium speed, until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl to bring everything together. Add the almond extract, and continue to stir. At this point, the mixture will look curdled. Mix almonds with flour and add in one portion to the stand mixer, then mix on low speed until combined.
Remove tart dough from the refrigerator and roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Butter a tart pan and press the tart dough into place, saving any leftover dough for cracks that may form. Freeze the tart for 15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 400ºF and melt 3.5 ounces of high-quality bittersweet chocolate (I use Valrhona). Pour this chocolate into the frozen tart dough and spread with a spatula until it evenly coats the bottom. Place in the freezer for an additional 2 minutes to let it set in place. Remove from freezer and top with frangipane, spreading the top until even. Bake 30 minutes, or until fluffy, golden brown, and springy to the touch. Allow to cool 15 minutes before slicing, or enjoy at room temperature if you want to wait longer.
The dessert is that easy to put together, but immensily enjoyable for anyone who is a fan of almonds. It's not overly sweet like many desserts, and I feel that the chocolate pairs nicely with the almond, though you could easily make this a more spring- or summer-themed dessert by using some strawberry preserves or some other tasty jam. When you use the jam, you can use anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1 cup of it, depending on how thick you want that layer.