27 June 2009

Almond Tart

I found this month's Daring Bakers Challenge to be very simple. I've made many pie crusts, but found this to be the easiest pie crust recipe that I have ever made! I did not finely grind the almonds for the frangipane, therefore I did not like the texture. My family loved the desert, though!

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.

Bakewell Tart…er…puddingMakes one 9” tart
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 9” pie plate, rolling pin
One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
1cup (8 US fl. oz) seedless rasperry jam, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds
Assembling the tartPlace 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 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 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.
Sweet shortcrust pastryPrep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film
8oz all purpose flour
1oz sugar
½ tsp salt
4oz unsalted butter, cubed, cold (frozen is better)
2 egg yolks
½ tsp almond extract
1-2 Tbsp cold water
Using food processor fitted with the dough blade, pulse together flour, sugar and salt. Drop butter by pieces through top while pulsing. Pulse until mixture resembles bread crumbs.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract. Pulse 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
FrangipanePrep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula
4.5oz unsalted butter, softened
4.5oz powdered sugar
3 eggs
½ tsp almond extract
4.5oz finely ground almonds
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. 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 and retain its pallid yellow colour.