Monday, March 26, 2012

Bakewell Tart

sweet pastry...raspberry jam...almond cream...mmm !

Bakewell Tart. No, I'm not singing my own praises...that's the real name of this delicious and oh-so-easy sweet treat. Named after a small town in Derbyshire, England, this is an old-time recipe, for sure...the story goes that in about 1820, a cook at the White Horse Inn in Bakewell was told to make a  pudding with jam and almonds, but accidentally layered it instead of mixing it together. The crowds went wild, and a star was born ! Well...not so fast, maybe. In reality, this sort of tart dates back to medieval times, when almonds and almond-based dishes were extremely popular.

I had actually never heard of this tart (I know, I couldn't believe it either !) until I was surfing the interwebs over the weekend and, as is my wont, checked in on the awesome Smitten Kitchen. SK has this neat little feature where links to the dishes from the past few years around the same date are shown - and it said that two years ago at this time, there was Bakewell Tart. The only "Bakewell" I had ever heard of was Bakewell Cream, which is a special baking power they use in Maine, and I couldn't figure out how the heck you'd make a tart out of that stuff. So I had to click...and once I saw what it was, I knew I had to make it for Mark. Mark is a nut about anything raspberry, and is a big fan of almond pasty-type items too.

SK recipes are always awesome and work perfectly, but I knew I'd be tweaking this one a bit - way more raspberry for the raspberry fiend, a few other tweaks to get the type of almond filling (or frangipane) I wanted...and a much easier tart shell. SK's was based on a Dorie Greenspan recipe, and even Dorie herself says that pressing the tart shell is perfectly fine and less fussy. I don't mind rolling dough, of course...but it cuts way down on the prep time if you can just press it in and avoid all the extra chilling. I promise, it comes out just as good this way...and gets you to the tart-enjoying much quicker :) Don't stress about the tart pan, can actually usually find surprisingly decent ones at a well-stocked supermarket. You could also probably use a springform pan - if that's all you have - instead. The tart pan does make it look all cool and professional, though !

My only regret here is that I didn't photograph along the way...I will definitely be making this again (possibly with a change in jam...blueberry, for me !) and promise more pictures.

Bakewell Tart

Based on a bunch of sources, though mostly Smitten Kitchen :)

1 Super Easy Sweet Tart Shell, partially baked in a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan (at least 2" deep)

1 cup almonds - skinless, and preferably blanched (slivered, chopped, or whole all work)
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Zest of 1 medium lemon
3/4 cup raspberry jam
Slivered or sliced almonds and powdered sugar , for garnish (optional)

If your almonds are not already chopped, chop them well in the food processor. Add flour, and finely grind the mixture. Mix in sugar, then butter, extract and zest. Blend until smooth, then blend in eggs. Transfer filling to medium bowl. Cover and chill at least an hour .

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread jam over base of tart shell. Dollop the almond filling all over, then spread it carefully with an offset or small metal spatula (do not mix into the're going for layers here). If using slivered or sliced almonds as garnish, sprinkle them over the top. Bake tart until golden and tester inserted into center of filling comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

To serve, push pan bottom up, releasing tart from pan. Cut tart into wedges and sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired.

Super Easy Sweet Tart Shell
Makes enough for one 9-inch tart crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, with about half of the egg white separated out (save the white if you are fully baking shell)

Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (You’re looking for some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.) Stir the egg yolk (just to break it up and mix the bit of white in), and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds (it will look like wet, clumpy sand). Turn the dough out into the buttered tart pan.

Press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, before baking.

To fully or partially bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375. Prick holes all over the crust with a fork. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. If you have pie weights or beans, use them here as well…just added insurance against it puffing up too much. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil (and weights, if using). If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.

To fully bake the shell, brush with remaining egg white and bake about 10 - 15 minutes longer, or until it is firm and golden brown. To partially bake it, brush with the egg white but only bake an additional 5 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe

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