This is my first Daring Baker's challenge I've been able to participate in! I was so excited to try this. I'd never even heard of anything like this: essentially, a tart with almond cake baked inside of it. I knew I had to try this as soon as I read about it. The only thing that bugged me was that it seemed a little...flavorless. With both an almond dough and cake, I knew I had to put something more than just a layer of jam at the bottom. The seasonal fruits that are available during the summer are just too good not to include, so I added peaches into the mix. I wanted to maintain the cake feeling of the dessert, but get sort of fruit tart thing in there, too. I ended up layering the peaches on top of the raspberry "jam."
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.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
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) 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
125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour
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 colour.
5 medium white peaches; pitted, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
In a medium sauté pan, mix peaches, sugar, and lemon juice. Turn heat on medium-high, and wait for the peach juice to fill the pan. Stir frequently with a spoon until when put pressure on, the peaches cut very easily. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and cook 1 minute more, and stir. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
For the raspberries, use the same procedure as for the peaches, but omitting the nutmeg and cinnamon. Once cooked, transfer to a food processor, blend until smooth.
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 200C/400F.
Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Next, layer peaches on top, and end with a layer of frangipane almost to the top of the tart shell. Smooth the top and place one raspberry in the middle and press it slightly into frangipane. Cook for about 25 minutes if making tartlets. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish.
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.