Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I hope you've all had a wonderful and relaxing Memorial Day weekend! There's nothing better then an extra day off work...unless you love your job, in which case I'm sure you still had fun. I spent the day at my parent's house where they unintentionally attempted to recreate the experience of a traditional churrascaria. While my dad whipped up lamb, chicken and pork kebabs on the grill, my mother, worrying about possible rain, roasted up a rack of lamb in the oven. Add to that three watermelons (everyone brought one worrying there wouldn't be enough) and enough dessert to send a person into a sugar coma, and you'll have an idea of what my Monday afternoon looked like.
Wanting to contribute, along with my watermelon contribution, I decided to make a Bakewell tart and use up the last jar of last summer's strawberry jam. This was a baking challenge a few months ago for the Daring Bakers and I had everything needed on hand, which made it perfect for a last minute treat. I used Tartlette's version of the tart, swapping the jams and simplifying the crust process by using a food processor. When making tarts, you can't go wrong with a recipe from someone who named her blog after them, and I think they turned out fantastic. I did have a hard time trying to explain to my family what the heck they were though. I mean isn't it sort of preposterous to say that the tarts are baked well? It's not like they're ruined steaks or something. Otherwise, it was a very easy and a very quick recipe to make, and I think wrapped up in a bit of wax paper, they'd make great "to go" treats to share. Leave the explanations for some other day.
P.S. I'd have shown you the beautifully layered inside of the tarts, but they disappeared pretty quickly, so you'll just have to make them yourself.
Strawberry Bakewell Tarts
adapted from Tartlette
Notes: I'm listing the measurements and steps as I used them, but feel free to check out her instructions if you wish. I'm starting to prefer to weigh everything instead of going by cups/teaspoons.
Makes six 3-inch, two 2-inch, and one 6-inch tart...or 10 3-inch tartlettes
Sweet shortcrust pastry:
8oz all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1-2 Tbsp cold water
4.5oz unsalted butter, softened
4.5oz icing sugar
1.2 tsp almond extract
4.5oz ground almonds (or other nut of your choice)
1oz (2 Tbsp) all purpose flour
Jam or preserve of your choice (I used homemade strawberry jam)
Prepare the dough:
Sift together flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Cut up the cold butter into small cubes and dump into the bowl. Using just a few quick pulses, incorporate the butter 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. Pulse two or three times. Keep pulsing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.
Form the dough into a disc, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare the frangipane:
Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is very light in color 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, but it's okay, it'll come back together. 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 color.
Assemble the tartelettes:
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 center and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. Don't worry too much if it rips, you wan always just fix it up in the molds. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pans, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Place the tarts on a baking sheet line with parchment paper and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
Remove shells 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 or the jam will escape and burn. 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. Eat them warm or at room temp. Either way, they're great.