I’ve been having a three day cook-a-thon on my days off from work this week. Having missed the last Daring Cooks challange date 😦 I thought I best get enguarde! And I’m a bit exhausted of cooking now, not to mention the gymming I’ve also been doing to make up for all the ‘tasting’ I’ve been doing.
This months Daring Cooks challange is a Bakewell Tart or, um pudding. It consists of a short pastry crust, homemade jam layer, and an almond frangipanie top layer, baked up in some cute little tart shells 🙂
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.
I was so excited to use my small size tart tins, with the removable bottoms (I’ve never had a removable bottom for tart shells, and it’s a bummer when you always break your tart shell into a ragged mess trying to get it out of a pie dish). Well I was excited, till I couldn’t find them. I searched hight and low, and do you know, mum was right, they were in the last place I left them! Silly me. So once I had my tins, I set about making up the dough for the shell and creating my jam filling. As I was just doing little tarts, I halved the recipe, and decided to try two types of filling, a Blueberry and rosemary jam and a bittersweet chocolate ganache with pear (basically to use up some cream in the fridge, and pears are lovely and in season now).
The idea of rosemary as a flavour in a fruit jam is one I’ve seen around a bit on the web, paired with peaches and nectarines mostly. As they’re not in season, I used frozen blueberries. I do like rosemary, and thought since herbs like lavendar and basil can be paired with strawberries, the same would go for other berries. To make the jam I empties some of the frozen blueberries into a small saucepan, poured in about 1/4 of sugar, juice of a lemon, a little water and about 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, more the young tips than the woody bits, as I thought the oils from those might leave a bitter taste to the finished product. Then I just simmered it down till it was thick like jam, and removed the rosemary. I should have whizzed and sieved the jam for a smoother filling like a traditional bakewell, but I like blueberries whole, but now that the bakewell tart is made, and well, a bit rustic, I’d probably try to make it smoother for next time.
The ganache was simple, melted bittersweet dark chocolate with some cream, leave to set a little out of the fridge. I had meant to pre-cook the pear, to soften it for the tart, but ended up using the normal side of my new juliene peeler (my #1 fave toy at the moment….we are eating a lot of stirfry’s at the moment 🙂 ) to shave off some pear, and then lay it atop the ganache once I’d spooned some into the pastry cases. It did have the effect of keeping the ganache from bubbling up through the frangipanie, which was good.
I had to put a lot of effort into the frangipanie mix, as I had almonds around, so decided to use those, blanch, dry and grind them up myself. The ground almonds for frangipanie are to be sieved, so it is light and very fine, like a flour, not heavy and grainy, as mine looked. I had so sieve, whizz, sieve, whizz, sieve, whizz a number of times before I was able to get all of the measured amount of almond through the sieve.
The finished tarts were very deliscious, as was the blueberry jam, and the ganache, just the right amount of bittersweet. Even so I think I would prefer strawberry to blueberry jam in the tart next time. There’s something about good old fashioned strawberry or raspberry in a bakewell tart. I wouldn’t make the pastry again though. I didn’t think it was anything special, and have tasted far nicer that I still have in my recipe book. But as for the frangipanie, it was Loooooovely!
Hopefully back with more soon, if work isn’t too hectic! And will let you know what else I cooked while I was off 🙂