This is my first month participating in the Daring Bakers Challenge! I don’t know why I haven’t participated up until now, but I’m glad that I’m now in the loop. My first Daring Bakers Challenge and Foodie Fights all in one week! Wow.
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.
I had never heard of a Bakewell Tart before, so I was very intruiged. I have to admit, having never been terribly impressed with British food in the past, I was in the same boat as our friend Shelly. I just wasn’t terribly excited about this one. Ah, silly me.
Here is a real look at what my kitchen looks like when I bake. It’s kind of sad, a crowded counter, overflowing onto the stove top, and my ever-present laptop providing entertainment. I’ve been on a Mad About You kick lately. Can you believe those fools at NBC have only released the first 3 seasons on DVD? What is wrong with them?
A Bakewell Tart has a shortbread crust, a thin layer of jam and is then topped with a top layer that is almost a cross between a pudding and a cake. The top we used for the challenge was a frangipane, which consists of primarily butter, eggs and ground almond meal. Given that I’ve never had one before, I wasn’t sure how to approach veganizing the eggs, as all different egg replacers have such different consistency. I read someone describe it as being reminiscent of pound cake, so I opted for silken tofu. My almond meal was not blanched, so there are dark specks of skin.
I was going to use some of my homemade jam, but given that we are down to the last 2 jars and I was feeling some trepidation about this recipe, I opted for some tart cherry preserves from the store.
Now, topped with the frangipane… it was looking a little sickly and I started to lose faith.
Now, occasionally, I am wrong. This would fall into that category. The crust was fantastic, perfectly crisp and EB-buttery. The tart jam nicely contrasted with the soft, slightly creamy frangipane topping. I baked it a few minutes too long, as evidenced by how brown it was, but it was very forgiving.
The house smelled so wonderful, it was hard to let it cool. The frangipane married the crust so beautifully, I hesitated to cut into it. Appetite trumps aesthetic, however.
The crust was firm enough to eat it like a slice of pizza, which is great because I tend to eat at my desk and this was my breakfast for a couple of days this last week.
I am so happy to have added this to my baking repertoire. It’s amazing what you can learn when you pull your head out of your ass. I’m sorry for doubting you, England!
I based both elements of this recipe off of the recipe given to us for the challenge. Here it is, with my alterations added in. I did pull out my scale to ensure accurate proportions, and I’m glad I did because the Imperial measurements below didn’t match up. I did not, however, bother to write down what it did come out to, so weigh it if you can!
Sweet shortcrust pastry
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
(I made this in my food processor in about 2 minutes)
225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) Earth Balance
3 tablespoons soy yogurt
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 soy yogurt 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) Earth Balance, softened
125g (4.5oz) powdered sugar
9 tbsp. firm silken tofu, blended with 2 tbsp. soy milk.
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour
Cream EB 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 tofu in three batches, beating well after each addition. 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 and easily spreadable.
To make the tart:
Preheat oven to 400. Roll out the crust to fit a 9 inch tart pan. Press it in, and trim edges as needed. Place prepared crust in freezer for 15 minutes. While crust is chilling, prepare frangipane. After 15 minutes, remove crust from freezer and spread a layer of jam in the bottom of the crust to coat the bottom. Cover with frangipane and spread to coat. Bake for 30 minutes, sprinkling on sliced almonds 5 minutes before finished baking. Let cool completely before slicing.
Be sure to stop by on Monday to see my Foodie Fights entry and to vote on who you think did best with their ingredients!
Squirrel’s Vegan KitchenGo back in time to my original blog: Squirrel's Vegan Kitchen!
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