Monday, 19 April 2010

British Bakewell Tartlets

With a haude of new zealanders nesting in my house, I've been trying to think of classic English desserts, any suggestions much appreciated. Britain is famous for it's teatime treats and classic desserts, and one of my all time favourties, is Bakewell Tart. I really like the taste of almond in any recipes, and Bakewell Tart is an almondy delight. I'd made it once before, and it didn't really work. The sponge went stodgy and I completely lost the glorious alomd taste. So I was somewhat apprehensive about making it again, but I figured I'd take the jump, and try Smitten Kitchen's version. Deb always presents her recipes with such beautiful recipes, and I have bookmarked so many that you'll undoubtedly see on here soon. So I have faith in her, and this is my version of her Bakewell Tart.

Having chopped whole almonds, add them to flour, and grind.

To produce this almondy flour ??

Deb's recipe says add butter, orange and extract first, THEN the eggs. I added all at once, and forgot the orange. Don't think it hindered it too much...This makes a pale lumpyish batter, leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

I made my own pastry for the crust, it's a Delia Smith recipe, and I'll post it along with the Bakewell recipe.

My pastry is no pageant winner, I'll give you that ! But it's made with love, so I can forgive it's imperfections.
The best part. Always add a thick layer of jam ! Drop on teaspoons of the almond mixture and bake.
This recipe is superb. It creates a light, airy, alomd sponge, that has a slight crunch on the top. The sticky raspberry jam compliments it so well, and the flakyness of Delia's pastry just topped it off. Her recipe is slightly different, and may seem daunting, but I promise you it's so worth it! It's always my fail safe recipe, sadly this time it failed me. Bakewell is a favourite dessert of mine, and although I made tartlets instead of one big one, I think nothing was lost. This recipe is good all year round, in summer with a raspberry conserve, or my preference, in winter, with warm vanilla custard. Or break the mould, and have the custard in the summer !

Bakewell Tart
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, blanched if you can find them
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
9 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest (I forgot this!)
1/3 cup raspberry jam
Slivered or sliced almonds, for garnish (optional)

110g butter
175g plain flour
splosh of almond extract

1.Finely grind almonds and flour in processor. Mix in sugar, then butter, extract and orange zest. Blend until smooth. Mix in egg and egg white. Transfer filling to medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.
2. Pastry: First of all remove a pack of butter from the fridge, weigh out 4 oz (110 g), then wrap it in a piece of foil and return it to the freezer or freezing compartment of the fridge for 30-45 minutes.
3. Sift the flour into a large bowl
4. Then, using the coarse side of a grater placed in the bowl over the flour, grate the butter, dipping the edge of the butter on to the flour several times to make it easier to grate. What you will end up with is a large pile of grated butter sitting in the middle of the flour.
5. Take a palette knife and start to distribute the gratings into the flour – don't use your hands yet, just keep trying to coat all the pieces of fat with flour.
6. Now sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cold water and extract all over, continue to use the palette knife to bring the whole thing together, and finish off using your hands. The pastry should easily come away from the edges of the bowl, add more water if needed
7. Roll out and press into tartlet pans.
8. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 100 degrees. Blind back the pastry for about 20 minutes until it's pale gold and starting to go crunchy.
9. Turn up oven to 180 degrees. Spread jam over base of tartlets. Dollop the almond filling all over, then spread it carefully with an offset spatula. If using slivered or sliced almonds as garnish, sprinkle them over the top now. Bake tart until golden and tester inserted into center of filling comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack.

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