Sunday, June 28, 2009

Key Lime Bakewell Tart-ing? Pud-art? Tar-dding?

To tart – start I mean (ha) – I thought everyone should know that:

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.

The version we were dared to make is a combination of the pudding/tart: a sweet almond-flavored shortcrust pastry, frangipane and jam (or in my case, key lime curd). That being said, this post is being written in total procrastination in-between 6 hour study sessions in the library.
No, I’m not at school right now. Though you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference… The truth is, I’ve been missing from the face of the earth (in blogging terms anyway) thanks to my friends over at the US Green Building Council. I won’t go into much detail because nobody finds this interesting but architects/designers/civil engineers, but I’m racing against the clock to take a giant professional test known as LEED which allows me to coordinate/design nationally-recognized sustainable buildings and have a fancy title like “LEED Accredited Professional” next to my name. That and being a LEED AP at the tender age of 18 has got to be some sort of high-five worthy record… Or at the very least get me some sort of legit internship next summer (if I pass). For those of you who do know LEED, I’m sorry for dumbing that down for you. In any case, I’m taking the test now as opposed to later because the USGBC (see above) is changing the format of the test to make it harder and more expensive ($450!!!) to pass after June 30th.
So I’m taking the test at 11am June 30th. This is the part where I try to not hyperventilate. I thought about skipping this month’s DB challenge but then figured that taking a baking break in between the hours of studying might just keep whatever’s left of my sanity intact. Besides, Bakewell tarts/puddings/tar-ddings are British and I love anything British so I couldn’t pass it up. And here we are.
Last month was the strudel and it was fine, not my favorite, but fine. I’ve been crossing my fingers for something cake-y or pie-y or cupcake-y… Something simplistic and satisfying that my stress makes me crave like crazy these days. I didn’t get that, and that’s ok. Traditionally these suckers have a jam layer beneath the frangipane but I just wasn’t in the mood for jam as I’m having too much fun eating huge piles of fruit raw to go through the trouble of processing them into jam. And even though I was craving chocolate chip cookie dough (recall alert! Oh no!), I went with one of my other summer staples: key limes.

I love key limes.
I’m not a huge fruit-pie person, but key lime pie (cheesecake, tart, bar, cookie, you name it) is the one thing I can’t live without. It goes hand in hand with my addiction to citrus, but key limes are on a whole other playing field. They’re tangy, refreshing, have lovely yellow-green (maybe even chartreuse) coloring, taste amazing with whipped cream and graham crackers… I want some right now. And I wanted some when I was thinking of what to put in my pud-art too. So naturally I found a key lime curd recipe (compliments of Martha, what a dear) and decided to really go all out with the key lime flavor by adding key lime buttercream frosting to the top (hats off to Southern Living on that one). That and sprinkles.

Fun fact of the day: this is the first time I’ve used a scale in baking (aka haven’t converted all the measurements into cups, etc). It was exciting.

Bakewell Tart…er…pudding (little tartlettes style)
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: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin, I used little muffin tins.

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
(1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)

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 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. 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.
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)

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) vanilla 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

Frangipane (now with coconut!)
Prep time: 10-15 minutes

(4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
(4.5oz) icing sugar
(3) eggs
(½ tsp) almond extract
(4.5oz) ground almonds
(1oz) all purpose flour
Optional : 1/3 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened (sorry, no weighing out when I’m guessing on this)

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 color.

Key Lime Curd – Martha stewart

Makes 3/4 cup (note: for the tart I doubled this and then only put in 4tbsp of butter… Do what you want)
•1/2 cup sugar
•2 large eggs
•2 tablespoons grated key-lime zest, plus 1/4 cup freshly squeezed key-line juice (6 limes)
•4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1.Combine sugar, eggs, lime zest, and juice in a medium nonreactive saucepan, and set over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to thicken and holds the mark of the whisk, 10 to 12 minutes.
2.Remove pan from heat, and whisk in butter, a piece at a time, until well combined. Strain mixture through a sieve into a glass bowl. Lay plastic directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill 3 hours or overnight to set the curd.

Key Lime Buttercream Frosting
Southern Living, MARCH 2009
Prep: 10 min.
Yield: Makes about 5 ½ cups, I cut it in half for the tartlettes and I still came out with too much frosting... it is tasty by itself

•1 cup butter, softened
•3 teaspoons Key lime zest
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•2 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar (so 32 oz total)
•6 tablespoons Key lime juice
•2 to 4 Tbsp. milk

1. Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with Key lime juice, 1 Tbsp. at a time, and 1 Tbsp. milk, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Beat in up to 1 Tbsp. additional milk for desired consistency.


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