Saturday, June 27, 2009


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.


Anula said...

Chocolate instead of jam is a great idea! I have to try it myself. Your tart looks delicious :) Cheers.

Elissa said...

Simple as your tart might be, it looks really lovely. The chocolate is a great idea and it looks beautiful!

Engineer Baker said...

Chocolate sounds wonderful! It needed something not-too-sweet to counteract the frangipane, imo.

Anonymous said...

Chocolate what a great idea!! Makes perfect sense, beautiful job.

Dragon said...

Chocolate was a great choice! Great job on this month's challenge.

Lisa said...

Chocolate and almond is ALWAYS a winner in my book. Nicely done.

sijeleng said...

Your tart looks wonderful and I'm sure the chocolate worked very well with the frangipane.

Anonymous said...

Your bakewell reminds me of the chocolate=almond croissants they used to sell at Au Bon Pain. YUM, and it looks incredibly pretty!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very well done! Your tart looks so delicious!



Jo said...

Great job on your challenge. Chocolate is such a great choice.

sweetakery said...

nice chocolate is a good idea and looks lovely and yum!

Amy J. said...

Omigosh, that looks tasty. Great job on the tart!

ice tea: sugar high said...

chocolate always works for me. Great idea.

Jill said...

You can never go wrong with chocolate! What a perfect flavor pairing!

Jill said...

You can never go wrong with chocolate! What a perfect flavor pairing!