It's Saturday, and I haven't been home for a while, so today I'll keep it sweet and short: sweet because that's what a Bakewell Pudding is, and short because you don't need a large slice to feel that you've reached heaven. Yes, it's that good!
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 Tart with Vanilla Plum Jam
Inspirations and References: Allan Davidson, Tamasin Day Lewis, Anton Edelmann, Jane Grigson, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver
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.
My vanilla plum jam
(Eat immediately / keep in the fridge)
750g red plums, cut into large chunks, peel on but stoned
125g granulated sugar
half a vanilla bean, seeds scraped + bean
Put the fruit and the sugar with the vanilla seeds and bean in a pan. Place the pan over a low to medium heat. Stir occasionally for 15-20 minutes, until syrupy. Remove from the heat, allow to slightly cool. (Wash and dry the bean to further use)
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 200ºC/400ºF.
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.
My thoughts on the challenge:
~ I've kept my eye on this Bakewell tart for a while, and I'm really glad Jasmine and Annemarie chose this for June's challenge.
~ My idea for the jam had to do with the fruit I had and the reddish layer I had in mind to cheer up the crust and the frangipane. The recipe for the jam is my usual one with little sugar but it won't keep for a long time.
~ As usual, I've used half the crust and 2/3 of the frangipane - yes, I'm that complicated!
~ No problem with any of the components - all done without any mess.
~ I'll definitely be doing this again with other fruit jams.
Sorry for my absence. I still have a post about Slovenia to write, and a few recipes to share, plus a few complains about the weather and my usual nonsense. But once again it won't be today. It's time for another short trip to Paris - I'll be joining a conference this week but didn't want to leave you all without a little something to evoke la cuisine française. My (british) friend N. always says that "if you want a perfect queue ask a briton, if you're craving for an awesome crumble trust a frenchie!" And from my experience N. is absolutely right! This Crumble à la Ratatouille is a nice version of a French classic dish in a traditional British fashion. All I can say is that everybody loved it, and I'll be making this again. À bientôt
Crumble à la ratatouille
Adapted from Trish Deseine, recipe here
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 aubergine, cubed
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 green pepper, cut into strips
3 courgettes, peeled if you like and cut into chunks
1 kg tomatoes, skinned and deseeded
Fresh thyme and rosemary
For the Crumble Topping
100g very cold salted butter,
150g plain flour
80g parmesan cheese, grated
50g pine nuts, toasted
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic and add the aubergine and the red and green peppers. When they have softened, add the courgettes, tomatoes and herbs, some salt and pepper, and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until cooked. While the vegetables are cooking, preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF and prepare the crumble. In a food-processor, or with your fingers, rub the butter into the flour and parmesan. When you have a mixture resembling breadcrumbs, mix in the toasted pine nuts and some pepper. When the ratatouille is soft and cooked, put the vegetables into a gratin dish, cover them with the crumble mixture and cook in the oven for about thirty minutes or until the top is golden and crispy. Serve hot or warm, with a crisp salad.