Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Bakewell Tart

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.

Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

Another knock out of the park for the Daring Bakers! This was such a fun recipe to make. And the fact that is was pretty quick and easy didn't hurt either. I actually threw it together today. My mom and dad came over and my mom has requested this dessert for her birthday which isn't until March! She couldn't stop raving about it and said it's her new favorite dessert. I must say it was delicious. I am a sucker for anything almond flavored and this was just exploding with it! I made homemade strawberry jam to go the the bottom, I got the recipe from Ina Garten. I have yet to be disappointed by one of her recipes. I think everyone should try making this tart, it's very impressive and is simple enough to make. Enjoy!

Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart
Place 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 5mm (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 200C/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.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Jasmine’s notes:
• If you cannot have nuts, you can try substituting Victoria sponge for the frangipane. It's a pretty popular popular cake, so you shouldn't have any troubles finding one in one of your cookbooks or through a Google search. That said, our dear Natalie at Gluten a Go Go has sourced some recipes and linked to them in the related alt.db thread.
• You can use whichever jam you wish, but if you choose something with a lot of seeds, such as raspberry or blackberry, you should sieve them out.
• The jam quantity can be anywhere from 60ml (1/4 cup) to 250ml (1cup), depending upon how “damp” and strongly flavoured your preserves are. I made it with the lesser quantity of home made strawberry jam, while Annemarie made it with the greater quantity of cherry jam; we both had fabulous results. If in doubt, just split the difference and spread 150ml (2/3cup) on the crust.
Annemarie’s notes:
• The excess shortcrust can be rolled out and cut into cookie-shapes (heck, it’s pretty darned close to a shortbread dough).

Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

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

Jasmine’s notes:
• I make this using vanilla salt and vanilla sugar.
• If you wish, you can substitute the seeds of one vanilla bean, one teaspoon of vanilla paste or one teaspoon of vanilla extract for the almond extract


Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

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.

Annemarie’s notes:
• Add another five minutes or more if you're grinding your own almonds or if you're mixing by hand (Heaven help you).

Ina Garten's Strawberry Jam


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved


Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the strawberries and continue to cook over very low heat for 20 minutes, until the strawberries release some of their juices and the mixture boils slowly. Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate. (I keep one in the freezer.) Pour carefully into 2 pint canning jars and either seal or keep refrigerated. Use immediately, or follow proper canning guidelines below.

Tips on Sterilizing Jars:

Properly-handled sterilized equipment will keep canned foods in good condition for years. Sterilizing jars is the first step of preserving foods.

Sterilizing Tips:

Jars should be made from glass and free of any chips or cracks. Preserving or canning jars are topped with a glass, plastic, or metal lid, which has a rubber seal. Two piece lids are best for canning, as they vacuum seal when processed.

To sterilize jars, before filling with jams, pickles, or preserves, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids open sides up, without touching, on a tray. Leave in a preheated 175 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Or, boil the jars and lids in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 15 minutes.

Use tongs when handling the hot sterilized jars, to move them from either boiling water or the oven. Be sure the tongs are sterilized too, by dipping the ends in boiling water for a few minutes.

As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies, and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.

After the jars are sterilized, you can preserve the food. It is important to follow any canning and processing instructions included in the recipe and refer to USDA guidelines about the sterilization of canned products.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

100th Post! And a Whopper of a recipe!

It's very exciting that this is my 100th post! This blog has been so much fun for me. It enables me to share with others what I love-food! I am not the most creative writer nor am I the best food photographer, but I have been very dedicated to posting only the recipes I think are exceptional so I hope you guys have enjoyed them. Now I couldn't post just any recipe for my 100th post. I knew I had to make something special: Introducing the Jumbo Malted Chocolate Chip Cupcakes. If you are a fan of malt you will love these! I have been wanting to make these for a while. I am a HUGE malt fan, anything with malt I am all for it. This recipe called for regular malted milk powder, however my grocery store only had chocolate malt powder. I was a little disappointed but after I made them and took my first bite, any disappointment I had immediately disappeared! I think what makes these cupcakes really special is the buttercream. I think if you make this you will find yourself liking the bowl clean as I did. This recipe recommends you make the jumbo sized cupcakes which i didn't have a pan for so I just made them in regular cupcake tins and it worked out great. Hope you enjoy this lovely recipe!

Jumbo Malted Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
from Shelly Kaldunski's book "cupcakes"

1 2/3 c. flour
2/3 c. malted milk powder
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. whole milk
6 T. unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350. Line a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan with jumbo liners.

in a bowl, whisk together the flour, malted milk powder, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl whisk together the mlk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Add teh milk mixture to the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, Stir in teh chopped chocolate.

Divide the batter evenly among the prerared muffin cups, filling each about one half full. Bake until lightly golden and a tooth pick inserted in teh center of a cupcake comes otu clean, 25-28 min. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 min. Transfer teh cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Frost cupcakes with buttercream. Top with chopped chocolate malt balls.

3 large egg whites at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces at room temp
1 tsp vanilla

In a large, clean heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over simmer water in a saucepan (but not touching) and heat the mixture, whisking constantly, utnil the sugar has completely idssolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch (about 160 f on an instant-read thermometer), about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites mixture until it is fluffy, cooled to room temp, and holds stiff peaks, about 6 minutes.

With the mixture on medium-low speed, add the salt and the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating well aftert each additions, If the frosting appears to separate or is very liquid afer all the butter is added, continue to beat on high speed until it is smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes more. Add the flavoring and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Use right away.

Chocolate Malt Buttercream: Make buttercream as above, add: 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder whisked into 4 oz semisweet chocolate, meltede and slightly cooled; and 1/4 cup malted milk powder whisked into 1/4 cup milk until dissolved

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pioneer Baking

My little brother and sister are going on a pioneer trek this week. My sister had to make some pioneer candy and cookies so of course I was in. So let's start with the Honey Candy.

1 cup Honey
1 cup sugar
...thats it!

Bring to a boil over high heat stirring constantly.
Pour onto a buttered pan and cool just enough to handle.
Stretch until it is a light cream color and too stiff to handle.

Notice the difference after stretching it.
The taffy is now done, so you can let it cool and then break it into pieces, or do as we did and stretch it and then cut with buttered scissors.

Now for the yummy ginger cookies. These cookies are really delicious! We had a few kinks at the begining that we worked out, but once we did they were fabulous!

Ginger Cookies
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 c. shortening (I did 1 cup butter half cup shortening)
2 eggs
1/2 c. molasses
1 tsp salt
4 2/3 c. whole wheat flour (my mom made these a second time and used 2/3 c. white flour and said they turned out great)
4 tsp. soda
2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp cloves

Cream sugar, shortening, eggs and molasses. Add salt, soda and spices and flour and mix well. Form dough into balls and roll in granulated sugar. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Ok so this cookie dough was delicious. I was so surprised by how amazing it
was because it was made with wheat flour, but it was
definitely hard to stay out of.

We used a cookie scoop so they would all be even....

and then flattened the top

Ok so here is the kink we worked out. The balls of cookie dough
were way too big! I use my cookie scoop for all the cookies
I make and have never had a problem, but I think because there is
so much baking soda in these cookies it made them expand a lot.

So we made much smaller balls of cookie dough and they turned out great.
We probably used a tablespoon of dough.
Both of these were a lot of fun to make. I will definitely be making these cookies
again soon they were so yummy!

Home sweet, SWEET home!

Micah and I have been back for over a week now. It's definitely good to be back although I will always miss certain things about Europe, but I think we brought the best of it back with us.

We brought home our favorite treats that we can't get here. We may have gone a little overboard....ok we definitely went overboard! But we couldn't help ourselves.