Daring Bakers Challenge: Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

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.

When I saw that this was going to be the June challenge I got really excited… thoughts of making 3 mini tart/puddings filled my head… however, time got the better of me, and I ended up with only 1 – a tart that was filled with lemon curd (back to the lemons my friends!) and then topped with frangipane (there is always a first time…)

While I was in Italy I spent a weekend on the Amalfi coast… and if that region is known for anything it has got to be its LEMONS!!!! Lemons have honestly got to be one of my all time favourite smells. I knew coming home that I would have to incorporate these little goodies into this baking challenge :0)

This recipe is broken into 4 parts – the sweet shortcrust pastry, making the lemon curd, frangipane and then the final directions – assembling the entire dessert together! (patience for the length of this entry)

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

225g whole wheat pastry flour
30g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. butter, COLD
2 egg yolks
1 – 2 tbsp cold water

Sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse in your food processor. Add your butter (you can either grate it in, or cube the butter) and pulse everything until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Again, pulse your food processor – slowly incorporating the water – you want to add the water in slowly so that you form a slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Lemon Curd
3/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest (the zest of an entire lemon)
2 tsp butter
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, flour, water, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Put the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring until it comes to a boil and slightly thickens.

Remove it from heat and stir in the butter. Take about 1/2 c. of the mixture and add it to the egg yolks – it’ll temper the yolks and keep them from curdling. Whisk the egg yolks well – once they’re smooth, pour them into the saucepan. Return the pan to the heat and cook it, whisking constantly – bubbles will form in the mixture. That’s when you’ll know that it’s ready to be poured into the prepared pie crust.

125g unsalted butter, room temperature
125g icing sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp almond extract
125g ground almonds
30g all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is very fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter looks like its curdling… don’t worry – keep beating – it’ll be fine :0) After all three eggs are in, add the almond extract and mix, then with the beater still on, spoon in the ground almonds and flour. Mix well – you want the result to be soft, bright yellow in colour and looking slightly curdled (it’s the almonds).

Now to assemble everything together…

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Take out the pastry dough and roll in out on a lightly floured surface. Roll in one direction, picking up the dough and turning it a quarter of a turn after each roll (it prevents the dough from sticking to the counter). Once you get your desired thickness, transfer it to your tart pan.

Spread an even layer of the lemon curd onto the pastry base. Top with the frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface (use a spatula). Smooth the top and pop it into the oven for 25 minutes.

Remove the tart from the oven and spread a handful of slivered almonds on top, return the tart to the oven for another 5 minutes.

The finished result is a tart with a golden crust and the frangipane is golden, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove it from the oven and cool on a wire rack on the counter.

A taste of Italy with a British tradition :0)


ahhhh cake….

Who doesn’t love a good chocolate cake? I’ve been eyeing this recipe for quite some time and decided that it was time to give it a shot.

I saw it on the sugarlaws blog and noticed that it’s a bakers recipe challenge (from February). My first challenge(margarita cheesecake)went so well I figured this cake would probably be a winner too (plus the pictures on the blog made it way too tempting)!

I picked up some good quality chocolate with hazelnuts and decided to try the simplest, least complicated recipe ever… when a recipe only calls for 3 ingredients, you really can’t go wrong… (note: the original calls for semi-sweet chocolate, so use whichever you prefer)…

Chocolate Valentino
400g bar of milk chocolate and hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 c. milk chocolate disks
1/2 c. butter @ room temperature
5 large eggs, separated

Heat your oven to 375F. Take a round pan and butter it, line it with parchment paper and then butter the parchment paper (I find it easiest to take a paper towel and cover it in butter and spread the butter that way).

In a bowl over simmering water melt the chocolate and butter together. Continue to stir the mixture until everything is well combined and smooth. Remove it from heat and allow to cool.

While the chocolate is cooling, simply separate the eggs. The egg whites should go into a glass bowl (they whisk better that way) and you should put your egg yolks in a large bowl.

Using a hand-held mixer, whisk the egg whites until they form peaks. Set aside. Take the mixer and quickly beat the yolks together. Add the melted chocolate to the yolks and combine well (everything should be incorporated).

Take 1/3 of the egg whites and fold them into the batter. Once they are folded in, add the remaining egg whites and fold those in too. You want to make sure that your cake doesn’t loose the volume – so don’t over mix, but make sure you don’t see any more white.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan (it should go about 3/4 of the way up). Place in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes.

When you remove it, the top will look like a brownie. Remove it from heat and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Now… be careful removing it from the pan (a spring form pan is best) since the middle is really gooey. Allow it to cool… sigh. I can’t wait to try this with some peanut butter. The result is like a truffle.

Really easy – but you’ll impress the pants off of everyone!

Daring Bakers Challenge – Cheesecake!

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

Well… I joined the Daring Bakers website and challenge. All of my favourites blogs participate and I thought it would be fun… and take me outside of my baking box (aka Lemon Meringue Pie). So this month we were challenged to bake a cheesecake. We had to follow the cheesecake directions but could play around with the flavours and we could decorate it however we liked… my problem is that I haven’t taken a picture yet… but my cheesecake sure was taste tested. Seriously delicious.

Margarita Cheesecake

Note: rather than using graham cracker crumbs for my crust, I made a batch of my margarita cookies (see recipe) and crumbled 8 of the cookies (makes 2 cups crumbs).

Margarita crust
2 c. margarita cookie crumbs
1 stick butter, melted
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp lemoncello

3 sticks of cream cheese (24 oz total) @ room temperature
1 c. white sugar
3 large eggs
1 c. heavy cream
1 tbsp lemoncello
1 tbsp lime zest
1 tbsp lime juice

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

Mix together the crust ingredients and press into a 9 inch springform pan. You should have enough to press just into the bottom of the pan – make more if you want a crust along the sides.

Because you’re going to be baking this in a water bath, seal the springform pan well with tin foil. You want to use enough so that the water doesn’t seep into the pan and make the crust soggy.

Set your crust aside and start preparing your cheesecake batter.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar, and cream until smooth using a hand-held mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next one. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add the heavy cream, lemoncello, lime juice and lime zest and blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour the batter on top of the prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all the air bubbles to the surface. Place the pan in a larger pan (roasting pan) and pour the boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.

Bake your cheesecake for between 45 – 55 minutes (mine took 50 minutes) – until it’s almost done. To judge, you want the cake to hold together, but still have lots of jiggle to it in the centre (not completely firm). Close the oven door, turn off the heat, and let the cake rest in the cooling oven for 60 minutes. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven and lift it carefully out of the water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, then cover and put in the fridge to chill overnight. Once completely chilled – it’s ready to serve.

This is a really lovely treat – and next time I make it I’m going to add some dark chocolate to it too… a layer between the crust and the cheesecake batter… that will punch it up a notch again!