This month’s Daring Bakers challenge was that most English of desserts, the Bakewell tart. Jolly good! Shortbread crust, a layer of preserves, and a frangipane (almond paste) topping, all baked up nice and brown, and Bob’s your uncle.
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.
But the Barney Rubble* is, I don’t really like aggressively almond desserts. You know, the ones that rely on lots of almond extract, like those almond danishes, or anything with lots of marzipan, or (sigh) this tart. And I kind of knew that going in, but I hope that through the magic of the daring bakers, my tastebuds would be transformed and I would enjoy it. Alas, the whole thing was just too almondy and fakey and, I don’t know, chewy and cakey in a weird and dodgy way.
I made a custard sauce to go with the tart, because when I lived in England, it seemed like I couldn’t get a dessert without custard, try as I might. Apple pie? Mandatory custard on the side. Chocolate mousse? Not complete without custard. Want a jam doughnut? Not without custard, you don’t! Cup of custard? How’s about a nice dollop of custard on top. Cor blimey, it was everywhere. Fortunately, vanilla custard sauce was a really nice accompaniment to this particular tart, and helped cut some of the almond flavor for me.
My absolute favorite part of this tart, though, was the homemade apricot preserves I used. The apricots were a little tart to eat on their own, which made them perfect for the jam and kept it from being too sweet. I had a little extra tart dough left over, so I made small shortbread cookies out of it, and topped them with the apricot jam. It was brilliant! So delicious. The jam was a slapdash experiment that worked perfectly, and I was chuffed to bits at how well it came out. And it couldn’t be easier! This makes a little more than a cup of jam, perfect for filling this tart and nibbling on leftovers.
1 lb apricots, ripe but firm
12 oz sugar
1/4 cup honey
juice from 1/2 lemon
Pit the apricots and coarsely chop them–their skins are so thin, they do not need to be peeled. Place them in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and add the sugar, the honey, and the lemon juice. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the apricots are evenly coated.
Allow the apricots to cook and break down, stirring frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom. After a time, the mixture will start to produce an orange froth on top that bubbles vigorously. Use a spoon to skim this off the top. If you save the orange foam in a small container, it will liquify and become an amazing apricot syrup–great on french toast or pancakes!
Continue to cook the apricots until they have broken down and are at a consistency you like–for me, this was about 35-40 minutes.
*Speaking of Cockney rhyming slang, did you know “raspberry tart” is rhyming slang for “fart”? Think about THAT the next time you’re blogging about a nice fresh berry tart.
…And many apologies for the wanton abuse of the English language, next post will be back to our regularly scheduled American slang.