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Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Daring Bakers Strike Again! Bakewell Tart Challenge

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.

What is a Bakewell Tart (sometimes also called Bakewell Pudding)? I had no idea but I just made one! It is a popular dessert hailing from the other side of the pond which consists a sweet shortcrust pastry, preserves (homemade of course), and a frangipane filling. I didn't know what frangipane was either, and it turns out that it is a delicious filling made with ground almonds!

Making the homemade preserves was optional (you could use purchased ones) but I was really excited to make my first jam. I had been wanting to make a strawberry freezer jam for a long time, which is as easy as can be. I just bought one of those pectin freezer jam kits from Meijer, crushed 4 cups of strawberries, let it sit in the fridge overnight, and voila! My mom made strawberry freezer jam when we were kids and it brought back lots of memories.

I made the jam a few weeks ago, and the "due date" of the Bakewell Tart/Pudding was today. Well, today is my first day of my July shutdown vacation so in the manner of the auto industry "Just In Time" manufacturing, today I finally made these tarts!

With the jam done and plenty of other flavors of jam in the fridge for an assortment, I only had two other tasks this morning - the crust and frangipane. I had a mental block and botched the first batch of dough - for some reason I was thinking 4 oz of butter was half a stick.. didn't notice that was 50% too little until much later. No worries, the sweet shortcrust recipe comes together very quick - flour, sugar, salt, egg yolks, almond extract, and water.

That chills for at least 30 minutes and then I rolled it out into two styles of mini tart pans I found. I had some low wide ones and some smaller tall ones. The next step is to roll out the crust and fill the tart pans, and pop them into the freezer for 15 minutes before filling.

The frangipane also comes together pretty quick - I had to grind my own almonds but everything else was fast - cream butter, sugar, then eggs, almond extract, ground almonds and flour.

With the tarts out of the freezer, you simply spread the preserves along the bottom of the tars and then fill them up with frangipane. I used all sorts of crazy jams that I found in my fridge besides my fresh strawberry freezer jam. We had apricot, orange marmalade, blackberry, and raspberry.

These little guys got baked in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown, throwing on some sliced almonds at the end. I let them cool for quite some time but then it was time for some quick photos and the taste test. These are delicious! I wasn't sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. The frangipane and crust both have excellent almond flavors and all the different preserves add so much. My favorite fillings so far have been the strawberry and orange - the sweet ones.

Well I am happy to have completed this challenge in the nick of time, with just enough daylight to take pictures, yay! Thanks to Jasmine and Annemarie for this challenge, I wouldn't have ever had tried this recipe otherwise and I can't wait to give away these delicious little tarts to unsuspecting friends. :)


  1. The strawberry ones look soo good! I am glad you had success with your freezer jam. Congrats on a job well done!

  2. I love that you went crazy with the jams in your fridge after making and using the strawberry freezer jam, which sounds awesome. Such a colorful array of beautiful Bakewell's! Awesome job all the way around!

  3. The tartlets were a great choice as well as the different jams.Congrats.

  4. Gosh, the choices. I want them all please =)

  5. Wow, look at all that jam choice. Nice little mini tarts. They look good.