Red, White and Blue Bakewell Tarts

by zoe on June 29, 2009 · 37 comments  |  Print Email this to a friend

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 month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge, at first glance didn’t have me all that excited. It is a tart consisting of a simple shortbread crust, a layer of jam and frangipane (almond cream). Bakewell is a classic style of tart I’ve made lots of times and perhaps seemingly dull because I know it so well. But, after a good nights sleep, a cup of coffee and a burst of inspiration, I had renewed longing for the Bakewell tart. It is one of those challenges where you are basically given a blank canvas and told to paint a picture. This tart can take on the personality of the fruit or filling you introduce. I decided to play with many different flavors and add a bit of texture to the filling by adding fresh fruit, that compliments the jam.

In honor of the 4th of July I decided to make Red, White and Blue tarts; Cherry, Coconut and Blueberry.

Shortbread crust by Jasmine and Annemarie:

225g (8 ounces) all-purpose flour

30 g (1 ounce) granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

110g (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is best)

2 egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1-2 tablespoons cold water

Frangipane (almond cream) by Jasmine and Annemarie:

125g (4 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter

125g (4 1/2 ounces) icing sugar (baker’s superfine sugar)

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

125g (4 1/2 ounces) ground almonds

30g (1 ounce) all-purpose flour

About 1 cup of Jam for filling (I used the blue ribbon cherry jam by my friend Barb Schaller)

Fruit for top of tart, depending on the jam you choose. Or, you can top of the tarts with shredded coconut or sliced almonds.

To make the crust:

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and set in the freezer.

Grate the unsalted butter with box grater. (If the butter starts to soften while you are grating, throw the whole thing, including the grater in the freezer for several minutes.)

Add the grated butter to the cold dry ingredients. Rub the butter between your fingers until it looks like…

breadcrumbs. If the mixture is getting too soft and butter seems like it is starting to melt, place the bowl in the freezer for several minutes, before adding liquids.

Combine the yolks, extract and 1 tablespoon of the water. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients. If it still is not coming together add the last tablespoon of water.

Form the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Dough can be made the day before.

Once the dough is chilled, roll it out on a well floured surface, until it is 1/16-inch thick. Use your tart ring/rings to figure out how large to cut the dough with a Pastry wheel. Fit into tart ring/rings (I used my English Muffin Rings) to make individual size tartlettes).

Trim the excess dough off the top of the ring and freeze the dough while you prepare the filling.

To prepare the filling:

I chose to use cherries in some of my tartlellets, so I had to cut them in half and pit the cherries. I like to use gloves so I don’t stain my fingers.

To make frangipane (almond cream):

In a stand mixer or food processor, cream together the butter and sugar, until is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the eggs one at a time, scraping down after each. (The batter may appear curdled until you add the dry ingredients.) Add the extract. Add the ground almonds and flour, mix until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the tart crust from the freezer. Fill the tart with a layer of jam, about 1/8-inch thick. Spoon on the frangipane filling, it should be just below the top of the crust. I used cherry and blueberry jam for the fruit tarts. (For the coconut tart I mixed shredded coconut to the frangipane. About 2 tablespoons shredded coconut per 1/2 cup of frangipane.)

Add fruit to the top, to match the jam that you have used.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your tart/s.

They will be slightly puffy and golden brown. Remove, run a knife around the edge, to loosen any stuck filling from the molds and allow to cool.

Serve at room temperature with absolutley nothing at all or a scoop of ice cream or dollop of cream. I’m in love with this tart all over again. I have to say that the cherry was my favorite. *If I make the coconut one again I will put a layer of German chocolate coconut icing as the layer of jam.

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