Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Artful Tart: Better Late Than Never

Bakewell Tart

I don’t know if I am speaking to the converted, but for me nothing attains maximum visual appeal better than a tart. When it comes to food, tarts constitute what I consider to be visual chow; where looking at one can be just as satisfying as devouring one. Turn anything into a tart and I promise you, you will have doubled its prettiness stakes. In the family of pastries the tart is the high-achieving, perfect scoring, can-do-no-wrong child. You could say it’s the Marcia Brady of pastries, even with a banged up nose its appeal isn’t lost. Really the tart can do no wrong. There’s something about its culinary chic and rustic charm that just appeals to me.

So, it's only been three days since my
last excursion into pastry making, but I couldn’t restrain myself. Like a moth to a flame, I was lured once again by the exquisite torment and gratification that accompanied making my own pastry. I have yet to master the finer points of “Patisserie 101”, but I will give myself 10 extra points for the brazenness in which I have approached this task that was formerly beyond my capacity.

I have duly noted that this is a little late in coming, the deadline has come and gone, but for the sake of saving one of British culinary history’s disappearing gems, here I bring to you the Bakewell Tart. I had no previous intentions of participating, although my newly unearthed pastry skills beckoned for me to have a bash.

Andrew from
SpittoonExtra came up with a one-off blogging event in an effort to revive this British dish from the ash heap. And I think that there really is no need for me to supply you a ten-page dissertation on the what, who, where, when and how of the Bakewell Tart. I think this has been adequately delineated on other blogs and websites, and besides isn’t that what a search engine is for? Anyhow, in order for this lovely dessert to remain in our gastronomic landscape, here I bring to you my adaptation of the Bakewell Tart.

St Dalfour Cranberry with Blueberry Jam

NOTE: Instead of the traditional strawberry jam, I used a jar of St. Dalfour's Cranberry an Blueberry Fruit Preserve, a recent acquisition from last month's Sydney Good Food and Wine Show.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
90g unsalted butter, slightly chilled and diced
2 tbsp cold water

Sift flour, sugar and salt into a dry bowl.
Add the cubes of slightly chilled butter and using the tips of your fingers begin to rub the flour into the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Slowly add cold water and cut through the mixture with a knife until the dough comes together into a ball.
Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Bakewell Tart
(makes 6 individual tarts)

Bakewell Tart

½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp almond extract
1½ cups ground almonds
2 eggs
6 tbsp jam
crème fraîche, for serving

For the Frangipane:
Cream butter and sugar until combined.
Add the almond extract, eggs and almond meal and beat until smooth.
Set aside.

Assembling the tarts:
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Evenly spread a tablespoon of jam onto the base of each pastry shell.
Fill the pastry shells with the frangipane mixture.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the frangipane is browned on top and crispy.
Remove from oven and cool tarts on a wire rack.
Serve with some crème fraîche.


Anonymous said...

I think Never is sinful and late is glorious!
The top photo is beautiful but it's the last where you've cut the tart in half that takes by breath and then makes me drool. My keyboard can no longer be under my chin.
Very entertaining read! Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Those little tarts look amazing! And I'm also a major fan of St Dalfour's jams - my local organic foods store has an entire shelf full of different varieties! Yum~

Anonymous said...

Hi Jen! Wow! You're baking a lot! I've got a question, is icing sugar the same as confectioners' sugar? One thing I noticed - i think you forgot to place the quantity of the ground almonds in the Bakewell recipe. Have a nice weekend!

wheresmymind said...

First of all...I love the monkay on your profile pic! Secondly, I totally agree...your tart is very charming :D

Anonymous said...

i can't bake so, its a good thing these beautiful tarts are food for the eyes as well

Anonymous said...

Yum... I agree tarts are definitely the way to go for desserts when you need a visual oooh la la!

I must work on my short crust technique!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those Bakewell Tarts look awsome! I love those tarts and your pictures make me salivate!...

Helene said...

Hwy Jen ! Your tarts are so yummy looking. Work has kept me away from my own blog (unbelievable, I know!), but I am making up for it tonight by making a White Chocolate Strawberry Mousse Cake for a bbq tomorrow. Posting soon!
Will be making your tarts next!

Anonymous said...

That looks absolutely fantastic!

Anonymous said...

WOW! That looks so perfect. I think you're being humble for a score of 10. It should be more :)

I thought i was looking at a Bakewell Tart straight from a packet! Really a great job.

Sam said...

Indeed they do look deliciously moist and yumsome. perfect!

Anonymous said...

Lovely looking tarts!!

Jen said...

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments. It was a nice surprise to come to after the weekend!

Daisy- here in Aus, confectioner's sugar is the same as icing sugar. Basically it is powdered sugar, and not the icing mixture that contains some cornflour. Hope that helps.

lobstersquad said...

ooh, beautiful.
and that little jar of jam, so sweet! I can only ever find the very tall st.dalfour jars, and when they´re almost empty they can be annoying.

Jen said...

Lobstersquad- this particular jam was a sample from the Good Food and Wine Show, that's why it was so teeny tiny. We also, only get the very tall jars that are hard to scrape clean when near empty. I resort to licking it clean, but that's just me.

Anonymous said...

They look absolutely beautiful!

Krithika said...

Your tarts look fabulous

Jeanne said...

Hi Jen
Wow - those look too beautiful to eat! I loved the variations that people came up with - and it was fun to be able to try three from the London bloggers when we all got together 2 weeks ago. Maybe next time you will have to fly over and join us for our picnic?! ;-)