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.
Anyone reading this may have noticed that I've been slacking lately. Yes, it's true. Not for lack of wanting to write - I just have other things going on right now, so my cherished blog has taken a back ... burner, you might say. But I am going to try to keep up with one thing - the Daring Cook and Baker challenges. I am always in the kitchen anyway, so I may as well take some input, inspiration and ideas from others instead of always sticking with the usual suspects.
So, I apologize ahead of time if this entry seems like I phoned it in. (Actually my husband took the camera out of town, so I did actually phone it in). Some people might think that shorter entries are better...what do they know.
What was I talking about? That's right, Bakewell Tart. This tart consists of a slightly sweet, shortcrust pastry, spread with a thin layer of jam and topped with a golden puffy layer of frangipane. Check out the hosts' blogs for an interesting history of this dish.
As cherries are in season in Colorado, and delicious right now, I decided to attempt homemade cherry jam. I was a little worried that I didn't have fruit pectin* on hand, a common ingredient in many jams (I read a lot of labels). I decided to risk it and followed a pectin-free recipe on Jasmine's blog for a simple blackberry jam, subbing cherries for the blackberries. Although delicious, the jam unfortunately never set. It would have made a delicious sauce for something else (a frangipane tart, perhaps?)
The frangipane (a sort of dense custard of eggs, powdered sugar, butter and ground almonds) was easy to make and delicious.
The verdict on the crust? Hmm. I must have missed something in the instructions, or my jam (sauce) was simply too wet for the crust, because the cooked tart had a soggy and almost completely uncooked crust, while the frangipane on top was close to overcooked. I think a simple fix for this would be to blind bake the crust before filling and baking again.
But a soggy crust can be ignored - I have suffered through many a mediocre crust before... All in all, I enjoyed this challenge, especially getting to use the seasonal fruit. The almond taste definitely brought out the cherries and vice versa. I will make this again with the blind bake modification. Thanks to Jasmine and Annemarie for a very original suggestion.
* Pectin is a gelling agent that occurs naturally in many fruits (apparently not cherries) and is sold in various extracted forms, usually having been obtained from apples and/or citrus peel.