Daring Bakers Challenge : Bakewell Tart


(Rhubarb, hazelnut and black sesame Bakewell tart)

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 humble Bakewell tart is a simple pleasure. It is easy to bake and is the consummate crowd pleaser. I’m quite fond of frangipane too, especially when it’s freshly baked. Often when I make such tarts, I like to brush a bit of syrup on top of the tart while it’s still warm. It adds a bit of flavour (eg. use an Armagnac syrup, if you’re making a prune frangipane tart) and also ensures that the interior is moist. I also don’t mind saying that it’s nice to get the odd challenge where you have to think of nothing more complicated than what jam it is you’d like for your tart base.

However, time managed to rapidly sift through my hands this month such that the real challenge was trying to find a moment to make the tart. So unfortunately, this turned out to be a bit of a last-minute effort.


My version of the Bakewell Tart for this challenge uses a vanilla rhubarb compote as the jam option, and I have varied the filling to include hazelnut and black sesame flavours, which I prefer to plain almond meal.

Because frangipane is also extremely delicious as a tuile (spread thinly on a silpat mat and baked until crisp), I decided to throw together a parfait/verrine version of the Bakewell tart, with some toasted almond milk froth to boost the nutty flavour you would get from eating a normal slice of tart.

Many thanks to Jasmine and Annemarie for the tasty challenge!


Sweet shortcrust pastry :

225g plain flour
30g sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g unsalted butter, cold
2 egg yolks
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 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 :

125g unsalted butter, softened
125g icing sugar
3 eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract [I used vanilla instead]
125g ground almonds [I used a combination of hazelnut meal and ground black sesame seeds]
30g all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, 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, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

To assemble, roll out the sweet pastry to line a 23cm tart tin. Trim the excess pastry, chill for 15 minutes, then spread the base with 250ml of jam or curd of your choice. Top with frangipane and bake in an oven preheated to 200’C for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, remove it from the oven and top with a handful of flaked almonds, then return to the oven for the last five minutes of baking. When tart is done, remove from the oven and cool before slicing.

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Gettin’ fizzy with it.

(Strawberry, rhubarb, lychee and gingerbeer)

While out running today, I caught a glimpse of the perfect wisp of a cloud. It trailed like the fabric of a dress and hung in the sky, glowing with the orange of a setting sun. I can’t adequately express the emotions I felt when I saw this cloud, but it made me think that one day I would like to create a dessert that could elicit a similar reaction.

In the meantime, I have this strawberry dessert that seems to be missing a certain something, though I can’t decide what it is. It has strawberries, marinated in a little sugar, rhubarb strips lightly cooked in gingerbeer, gingerbeer jelly, some frosted pistachios, coconut snow and a scoop of lychee sorbet. It is light and refreshing with a faint hint of ginger from the jelly, which ties all the elements together. Yet, something in the back of my mind tells me that it’s incomplete.

Maybe it’s just a symptom of this general disatisfaction I’m feeling at the moment. There are currently aspects of my life that concern me but thankfully there are also certain people around I can talk to or have a laugh with, which enables me to stand back for a moment and think (with a little humour), How on earth did I get myself into this situation?

I was reminded of it when I read Helen’s recent post, and while my concerns pale in comparison to hers, I feel as though I can relate. So, I’m dedicating this post to her with hope that it will brighten up her day a little.

(Gingerbeer marshmallows, rolled in ginger sherbert)

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Poppyseed parfait, lemon tuilles, rhubarb and ginger.

I had been waiting for what seemed like an excrutiatingly long time, for my preordered Fat Duck cookbook to arrive. A couple of days ago, I got home to the sight of a huge parcel leaning casually against our front door. I dragged it into the apartment and ripped it open, rather excitedly. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the Fat Duck book, which at the time I thought I actually forgot to order. Instead, amongst the plastic packaging was a copy of Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit. Oh, when did I order that?

Flipping through the book (always from the back first, where the desserts are!), the words poppy, seed, parfait, caught my eye. I had never really thought about this before, but I seem to have a certain fondness for most things poppyseed-related. Lemon and poppyseed cake would be the first thing that comes to mind, but I’ve also seen lots of creative ways in which people utilise poppyseeds, such as in a vinaigrette dressing and in pasta dough. My friend Gabby also makes the most amazing Hungarian poppyseed pastry rolls called beigli.

This dish is my interpretation of Marcus Samuelsson’s recipe. The rhubarb in particular was very delicious – rhubarb and ginger are one of those heavenly matches that always leave me reaching for more. With the leftover cooking liquor, I diluted it a little, and froze it to make a pretty-in-pink granita to complement the rest of the dish.

As for the Fat Duck book? Well, I’ve since realised that I didn’t forget to order it afterall, so now I’m the ridiculous owner of not one but two copies of that gorgeous book. How, I ask you, do I manage to do these things!? 😛

Poppyseed Parfait :
(from Aquavit, by Marcus Samuelsson)

1 cup poppyseeds
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
scant 1/4 cup honey
3 cups heavy cream
5 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise in half

Combine the poppyseeds, pine nuts and honey in a small saucepan and heat over low heat for about 5 minutes, until the honey is liquefied. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Set aside.

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, and rum in the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the seeds to the pan. Set over simmering water and heat, whisking constantly, until hot to the touch. Remove from the heat and continue to whisk until thick, pale yellow, and cool. Fold in the poppyseed mixture, then fold in the whipped cream.

Divide the parfait among eight glasses. Cover and freeze for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

Poached rhubarb:
(a variation on Marcus Samuelsson’s recipe for a rhubarb compote)

300g trimmed rhubarb stalks
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, lightly smashed and cut into 4cm lengths
1 small piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise in half

Cut the rhubarb into 4cm lengths. Slice each piece into 1/2, or 1/4 if they are thick pieces.

Combine the sugar, water, lemongrass and ginger in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the seeds and pod to the pan. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and let stand for 20 minutes to infuse the liquid with flavour.

Strain the infused liquid and return it to the saucepan. Add the rhubarb and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the pieces are just tender. Remove from the heat. Strain the liquid and let cool slightly before serving.

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