Even with a British background, I hadn’t tried a Bakewell Tart. With a sweet shortcrust, sticky jam and a classic almond frangipane, it sounded delicious and seemed easy enough to try. The only question left was which jam flavour to layer beneath the frangipane. Almonds are the main inspiration in the tart, so I wanted to pair that as best I could. I had homemade jams in my pantry, but of course, for the Daring Bakers I couldn’t reach for just anything, it had to be specific. As I thought about what the best things are that match with almonds naturally, apricots came to mind, but since they aren’t in season, and I don’t love them anyway, I checked the “U-Pick” mailer and the answer arrived. Cherries.
I set out to make a jam just for the occasion. A simple but delicious combination of sweet cherries, sugar, brandy and chocolate. Yes, chocolate cherry jam. My only regret really was only making enough for the tart. I’ll have to figure out the ratio to increase the recipe later to preserve it for toast!
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.
The recipe below uses a scale but once it’s out the mixing is easy. Besides, the finished tart it’s well worth it’s weight.
CHOCOLATE CHERRY BAKEWELL TART
SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY
225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water
Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.
Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.
Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour
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.