The summer months always seem to fly by much faster than the rest of the year. Having my little boy off from school and trying to keep him busy is always a full time job. Daily trips to the pool or story time at the library are the activities occupying most of my time these days and I like it like that. I remember as I child how I always looked forward to the month of August when my parents took a month off and we spent the entire time camping.
All this to tell you that I am not baking as much lately, but I had to make time for this month’s Daring Bakers challenge which are these delicious Bakewell tarts that I brought with me to a dinner that some friends were hosting.
I took advantage of the great looking berries we found at the market this week, made a blueberry compote to go inside the tarts and topped that with coconut frangipane and fresh berries. The lukewarm tarts just melt in your mouth. Perfect.
Hope you are enjoying the summer and have a great weekend!
And the mandatory words…. 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.
Sweet shortcrust pastry
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
200 grams fresh blueberries
100 grams sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
pinch of chinese five spice
Place the blueberries, sugar, vanilla bean and spices in a medium saucepan and cook until blueberries pop pen and the compote starts to thicken, about 10-13 minutes. Let it cool before filling the tarts.
125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) dark rum
60g (4.5oz) ground almonds or almond meal
65g shredded coconut, unsweetened
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 dark rum and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts, coconut 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.
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 200C/400F.
Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of compote 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.