Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bakewell Tart

Tues 27 Jun 2006

Andrew over at SpittoonExtra is hosting a one off blogging event to re-establish the Bakewell Tart.

Up until a few weeks ago, I'd never actually eaten a bakewell tart ... which perhaps doesn't put me in the best position to start cooking one, since I've got no idea what I'm after. And hunting down a few recipes didn't help either ... was it going to be a Bakewell tart or pudding? Was it going to have no almonds, was it going to have a cake-like filling with almond essence, was it just going to have a sugar and butter filling, with ground almonds, with almond essence - PANIC! Someone at work helpfully suggested I go to Bakewell (no time for that) and the more research I did the less clear the picture became ...

I originally had brilliant (and conscientious) ideas about making one of every different type and trying out a variety of bought ones ... however, I ran out of time ... and if I hadn't I might have realised that a diet consisting solely of Bakewell tart is less than varied.

At the end of the day I made just one Bakewell, the recipe for which I found in Elegant Sufficiency: A Taste of Edwardian Times, which I received as a birthday present a couple of years ago (thanks Grandma!). It's a beautiful book, full of gorgeous looking treats - and despite calling for ground rice - the recipe seemed to tick a lot of Bakewell boxes.

So - first the pastry. I even followed their recipe which combined wholemeal and plain flour. I used about 40g of wholemeal flour to 120g of plain flour, added 1/4 tsp baking powder, and 90g of unsalted butter. I food processed it all and added just over 2 tbsp of milk to combine, before wrapping it in clingfilm and refrigerating for around half an hour. While the pastry tasted a lot like the pastry my grandma used to make it was also pretty difficult to handle and I suspect I wasn't patient enough combining the ingredients and made it a bit too wet.

For the filling, combine 125g caster sugar with 125g unsalted butter, 2 eggs, 60g ground almonds and 125g of ground rice. I eat pretty much everything before it hits the oven and the ground rice certainly adds an interesting gritty texture ...

Line your baking dish (20-23cm) with the pastry and spread a good amount of jam of choice over the bottom, before tipping in your almond mixture. Smooth it all out, and decorate with any left over pastry before baking in an oven preheated to 180C for about 40 minutes or until puffed and golden.

I think it looks rather spesh ...
And here's a cross section ...
I'm quite proud, as normally my food makes it from oven to plate to stomach rather sharply and there's never any time to be pretty ... in fact ... REALLY sadly, I've put these pics and some other on flickr - tagged with "bakewell tart".

The proof of any pudding, however, is in the eating ... so how did this eat? Well, the first slice was taken when it was still a bit soft and runny in the middle so I popped it back into the oven for a while longer. I ate the first slice and I thought it was very good - I was particularly impressed with the pastry, which was very crisp, light and tasty. Because the tart filling is sweet you don't miss not having sweet pastry.

Jenny ate the second slice (after the second trip to the oven) and made lots of appreciative noises. We decided it was very good warm and served with cream. It has a good firm, cake-like texture and the ground rice certainly adds an interesting bit of crunch. I'm not sure if all Bakewells are like that or not ...

But this one definitely goes into the baking repertoire!
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Blogger Andy said...

I didn't think it was gritty after cooking. I am used to bakewells with a more cake-like filling but I'd say this was an improvement.

What flavour jam did you use? Whilst there wasn't loads of it, there was definitely a strong fruity flavour to the tart.

1:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew will have a bit of trouble finding the book since it was published by the Art Gallery of South Australia to coincide with an eponymous exhibition. But it is beautiful - I had trouble following instructions and putting it in the post! Another recipe in it worth a try consists of prawns -Oz sized - dipped in pate a choux and deep fried (as I remember).

1:10 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

I used raspberry jam (with seeds) - I think the recipe said something like 3 tbsp of jam - I just spooned it into the pastry and spread it around until it looked like there was enough.

1:12 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

The book is available from Amazon (link in post) and various other online sellers - try www.addall.com for a price comparison depending on your shipping needs. :)

Since it is quite a slender volume I might even get around to posting a recipe list from it - and even get around to making the treacle and marmalade tart which is in it!

1:30 pm  

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