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Daring Bakers- June Challenge 2009- MY FIRST!

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 History and Lore

Flan-like desserts that combine either sweet egg custard over candied fruit or feature spiced ground almonds in a pastry shell have Mediaeval roots. The term “Bakewell pudding” was first penned in 1826 by Meg Dods; 20 years later Eliza Acton published a recipe that featured a baked rich egg custard overtop 2cm of jam and noted,

“This pudding is famous not only in Derbyshire, but in several of our northern counties where it is usually served on all holiday occasions.”

By the latter half of the 1800s, the egg custard evolved into a frangipane-like filling; since then the quantity of jam decreased while the almond filling increased.

This tart, like many of the world’s great foods has its own mythic beginnings…or several mythic beginnings. Legend has it in 1820 (or was it in the 1860s?) Mrs. Greaves, landlady of The White Horse Inn in Bakewell, Derbyshire (England), asked her cook to produce a pudding for her guests. Either her instructions could have been clearer or he should have paid better attention to what she said because what he made was not what she asked for. The cook spread the jam on top of the frangipane mixture rather than the other way around. Or maybe instead of a sweet rich shortcrust pastry case to hold the jam for a strawberry tart, he made a regular pastry and mixed the eggs and sugar separately and poured that over the jam—it depends upon which legend you follow.

Regardless of what the venerable Mrs. Greaves’ cook did or didn’t do, lore has it that her guests loved it and an ensuing pastry-clad industry was born. The town of Bakewell has since played host to many a sweet tooth in hopes of tasting the tart in its natural setting.
Bakewell tarts are a classic English dessert, abounding in supermarket baking sections and in ready-made, mass-produced forms, some sporting a thick sugary icing and glazed cherry on top for decorative effect.

Enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee or just eat it sneaky slice by sneaky slice until, to your chagrin, you realise the whole tart has somehow disappeared despite you never having pulled out a plate, fork or napkin with which to eat it.

Is it a tart or is it a pudding?

Someone once said something like “The Bakewell pudding is a dessert. The Bakewell tart is that girl over there.”
It’s a debate that rages on and we aren’t taking sides on this one. But we will say that many people call this pudding a tart.

While we’re at it…
The etymology of pudding is a rather interesting and slightly convoluted one.* The naming confusion may come from the British manner of referring to the dessert course as ‘pudding’ (as well as referring to fat babies by the same name, though we don’t think that is what was the inspiration in this case). And so any dessert is a pudding until another name comes along and adds clarity to what it really is.

Recipe: Bakewell Tart

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.

We had 2 types of jams in the cupboard....mixed berry and orange....SO I USED BOTH:)

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.

The Frangipane Before it got popped into the oven

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

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.


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.

YAY! This is my first post on the Daring Bakers! I was so very excited to do this months challeneg (in fact i did it the day it was posted;)) However, I didnt get the chnace to post now because my mac had to go in to the store for a fix up-change the casing- (and it still didnt get fixed!) It was supposed to be back in my arms on Sat, but alas it took longer than intended, So I had to wait till I got it back....(today)

I will hopefully update soon! Im just rushing to get this posted up MY FIRST DARING BAKERS :D It was tons of fun and SO YUMMY! aight well its almost 1AM so Im off to bed!:)

(Who am I kidding...prob another hour of mindless facebook/youtube/twittering/tastespotting)


Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache and Fondant Decorations :)


Sorry about the lack of posts! Ive been really busy! To name a few things is a broken mixer (deadly fro any baker!) I also bought a new camera lens! (which is what I used to take these pictures with!:) ) I just got a new full time summer job, (my first full time job ever!:D) and that has kept me uber busy..... I sometimes come home so tired that i just want to plop onto my bed and not get up ever again! But alas I do....bright and early at 6am :/ *sigh*

But alas....I cant complain, I have a pretty good job (Program Assistant aka Administrative Assistant for the Ministry of Child and Youth Services) lol , but more on that later.

Im also trying to fix up my old blog know..those pesky labels? Im actually doing it right now ;)

Now on to these yummy nummy cupcakes! I actually made these almost a month ago but never got around to posting!

It was my first time making chocolate ganache, and I have to say, I fell in LOVE! It was SO smooth, and velvety and rich...and CHOCOLATY! Chocolate buttercream dilutes the chocolate flavour in my opinion but this ganache had a very pure chocolaty flavour.

I had 2 packets of chocolate on hand, and I ended up using Hershey's Extra Dark Reserve 70% CACAO, and also some Hershey's semisweet chocolate chips.

I ended up adding the chocolate chips because I'm not a fan of very dark chocolate, but I love the intensity of it. Next time I will probably add more semisweet chocolate chips :)

But either way it was SO YUM on a nice moist vanilla cupcake!

And the best part? It was SO EASY TO MAKE!

I adapted my recipe from a few places, according to what I thought would work.

Rich Chocolate Ganache:

*100 gr dark chocolate
*1/4cup-1/2cup semisweet chocolate (depends on personal taste)
* 100 ml whipping cream

1. cut up chocolate into small pieces and place into a bowl
2. bring your cream to an almost boil
3. pour over the chocolate and allow it to sit for about 5 min
4. slowly mix until melted (try not to incorporate air into the mixture)
5. You can beat it (optional) then put it in the fridge to firm up a bit to desirable spreading consistency

As well a big hello/welcome to my new followers!:D Thanks for following! **maybe I shouldpost sooner just for you lot ;)


Cupcake Fever


So much for not taking so many pics and blogging more regularly. *sigh*

But in my defense I have been pretty busy! Why? because my cupcake fever came back!:O

(The fondant-ness started when I found 3 unfrosted cupcakes left over from this(they were rock hard! so we didnt eat these 3....but they inspired the rest) .... so ignore the burned paper parts :P)

What is cupcake fever you ask? Well it is a devastating disease. When one succumbs to it, they have this need for constant cupcake baking and cupcake decorating. The more they bake the more they need it. Scourging through online blogs and through cookbooks, in search of that PURRR-fect next recipe to try. In a given week, depending on just how bad their disease is, they may bake anywhere between 2 batches of cupcakes to as much as 10! This obsession not only affects the poor victims waist line and sanity, but also that of their family, who are forced against their will to consume more cupcakes than is intended for a human. These poor victims will do anything for their next bite of cupcake-y goodness....

The most unfortunate part? there is no cure. NO CURE. It is quite interesting to note....that at times some people just get over it and become good as new (though they still have those haunting dreams about when they would stay up until 2 am baking cupcakes and slathering on frosting, with crazy people hair and a mess of a kitchen). Whilst others....never do get over their cupcake fever....and others (like myself) go into remission...and come crashing back at the slightest smell of a cupcake, or the prettiest picture of piped frosting on a flickr picture .... (shakes fist at flickr)

Now, for me, I am ashamed (well not really) to say that I was weak...that i crashed....I now have cupcake Fever.

About a year ago, I got hit, for the first time with this disease....I baked quite literally every day after school , though my friends loved family....(and their getting bigger waistlines...)did not! After a few months I managed to go into remission... cupcake clean for almost a year ( with the occasional craving now and again which I admit - I satisfied.)

These pics are a few pics of cupcakes I made...while trying to make my first ever cupcakes with fondant. (cupcake fever will make you do the craziest things ;) )

(I made quite the mess!)

The past few days I have been playing quite a lot with my fondant, and will post more about that later. I hope to update soon. I should prob note that i didnt intend on writing this post like this AT ALL, but alas, it seems the cupcake fever is that severe ;)

Do you or someone you know, ever been effected by the cupcake fever? If so, let me know. We are not alone.

My name is Zahra, and I am a Cupcakeholic.


Random Fun Stuff

Song of the week: Glee Season 2!!

Watching: Criminal Minds season 6 (man! its mind blowing)

Inspirational Quote:

"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself"

Random Foodie Fact:

"The world's first chocolate candy was produced in 1828 by Dutch chocolate-maker Conrad J. Van Houten."

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