Sunday, 28 June 2009

Daring Bakers Bakewell Tart

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.

Oh dear.. I'm a day late! Better late than never eh! I wasn't terribly excited by this challenge, I wasn't feeling too creative so I went down the traditional route, I also went down a less traditional route but they didn't work out so well!

The Challenge

Rough Durations: Please see individual recipe elements to see how much time you’ll need. You may pull it together in more time or less—it all depends upon your kitchen’s pace. You can complete the tart in an afternoon, or break it up into a couple of days by making the pastry one day in advance.
Measurements: These recipes were developed using weight and not volume metrics, so for better results, pull out your scales. We’ve done our best with the Metric to Imperial conversions.
A giant tart, medium tarts or little tartlettes: We’ll leave that to you.
Mandatory and Optional Elements
Mandatory element 1: Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
Yes, it’s a pie pastry. Don’t look at us like that. It’s sweet and tender and it’s not scary…and we’re encouraging you to do it by hand and put the food processor away (but if you really want to pull out the gadget, go ahead).

Mandatory element 2: Frangipane
We love onomatopoeia of frangipane: it’s rich, sweet and feels slightly luxurious, and can be used in several confections.

Optional element: Home made jam or curd
We know several amongst us are rather jammy with making their own jams and preserves. Go ahead get wild and creative or simply showcase whatever’s local and in season. If you haven’t jammed before and want some hints or recipes, take a look at Bernardin’s If you want to just make some jam for this challenge and not go through sterilising jars and snap lids, you can try a pan jam, similar to Jasmine’s Blackberry Pan Jam. If you do use homemade jam, please include your recipe or the link to the one you used in your post.

Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

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 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.

Jasmine’s notes:
• If you cannot have nuts, you can try substituting Victoria sponge for the frangipane. It's a pretty popular popular cake, so you shouldn't have any troubles finding one in one of your cookbooks or through a Google search. That said, our dear Natalie at Gluten a Go Go has sourced some recipes and linked to them in the related alt.db thread.
• You can use whichever jam you wish, but if you choose something with a lot of seeds, such as raspberry or blackberry, you should sieve them out.
• The jam quantity can be anywhere from 60ml (1/4 cup) to 250ml (1cup), depending upon how “damp” and strongly flavoured your preserves are. I made it with the lesser quantity of home made strawberry jam, while Annemarie made it with the greater quantity of cherry jam; we both had fabulous results. If in doubt, just split the difference and spread 150ml (2/3cup) on the crust.
Annemarie’s notes:
• The excess shortcrust can be rolled out and cut into cookie-shapes (heck, it’s pretty darned close to a shortbread dough).

Sweet shortcrust pastry

I didn't use the challenge recipe, I decided to use a low fat vegan pastry as I felt the recipe already had much more fat in it than I would normally use in a recipe. The recipe I used can be found here, I added 2 Tbsp of xylitol to the pastry, it worked really on the big tart but not the little ones, I think that's because I made the small ones from the offcuts.


Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened (soya marg)
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs (3/4 cup blended silken tofu)
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour (wholemeal)

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.

Annemarie’s notes:
• Add another five minutes or more if you're grinding your own almonds or if you're mixing by hand (Heaven help you).

The finished product!

I wish I had put more cherry jam in! I also put some whole cherries in which was really yum!

I made a few mini chocolate tarts too, these ended up too dry but the flavours worked well.. again didn't put enough in the bottom and a chocolate sauce or ganache as well as the chocolate chips might have done the trick!

Workout post is next, I promise! I'd completely forgotten about the DB challenge until I saw them all appear the other day!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Allergy free cinnamon buns and other bits 'n' bobs

It's bin a while! I was so tired after I finished all the uni work I had due a earlier this month I haven't really been up to much but I have been in the kitchen doing some nice relaxing baking! I decided to try Angela's Skinny Mini Glo-buns last week. Oh yum! They were so good my cinnamon hating boyfriend smelt them cooking and asked me to try making him a gluten free, soy free, sugar free version... I'm always up for a challenge so I had a go, to my surprise, my first attempt was pretty much the same as the wheat version I'd cooked up for myself, and if you're not worried about being sugar free you can always ice them up! Here's my recipe which is based on Angela's... These would be cool for a children's party as they go a wierd green colour from the avocado!

Green Cinnabuns
1 medium banana
1 small avocado
1 T rice milk
1/4 t apple cider vinegar

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt

  1. pre-heat the oven to 205c/400f
  2. blend the wet ingredient (should come to around 7 tablespoons)
  3. sift the dry into the wet
  4. form a dough and roll out onto a floured surface (I like to roll it onto parchment which I then use to roll it up as the dough is fragile)
  5. take a third of a cup of date paste (made by blending dates with just enough water to cover, hot water helps them blend quicker) mix a generous half tablespoon of cinnamon into the date paste and spread on the dough.
  6. roll up using the parchment and chop into slices
  7. for extra sweetness sprinkle with xylitol
  8. bake for 16 minutes
  9. Enjoy!

Green cinnabuns and skinny mini glo-buns in the background

skinny mini glo-buns with green cinnabuns in the background

green cinnabun

Skinny mini glo-bun

If you like the look of these desserts Sweet Freedom would be a great cookbook for you, I'm really hoping to get a copy soon but I'm short of money at the moment. :( sadface! Anyway if I'm lucky I will win a copy! Check out Shelly's blog, to win a copy and you can also be in with a chance of winning the book over at The Healthy Green Kitchen, fingers crossed!

Here's some yummy pasta I made by reducing lots of cherry tomatoes with garlic, mushrooms and spinach, I then added mange tout, green olives which were stuffed with sunblush tomatoes, sweetcorn and fresh basil, yum, yum, yum! The pasta is wholewheat with extra protein from ground lentils and chickpeas. Fairly simple but really tasty!

Stay tuned for a workout post soon.. I did an absolute killer of a workout on Tuesday!