Jun 27, 2009

Bakewell Tarts-Daring bakers

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.

I have never had a bakewell tart before and I'm not sure what it's supposed to taste like. As far as tarts go though, this is delicious. The shortcrust pastry is really tasty, like a shortbread cookie. I made little individual tarts with many different types of fillings. I made some with blueberry jelly, strawberry jam and also with some semi-sweet chocolate. My favorite was the blueberry jelly, the combination of the blueberry and almond go very well together. What a great challenge!! Hopefully one day I will make it to England to try a real bakewell tart. =P

Bakewell Tart…er…pudding
Inspirations and References: Allan Davidson, Tamasin Day Lewis, Anton Edelmann, Jane Grigson, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

1. Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatized 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 center 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.

2. Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

3. 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. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

4. 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.

Sweet shortcrust pastry

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 (1/2 tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

1. Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in color 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.

Jun 18, 2009

Brown butter madeleine

Whenever I see madeleines, I think of the scene from My lovely Sam Soon when Sam Soon is telling Henry the story of a Madeleine. Henry doesn't speak Korean and Sam Soon's English is very limited. She's describing the story of madeleines..and in the end, she tells Henry, madeleine is a sexy cookie. It's a very cute scene.

Anyway..back to the food. This is a recipe I found from 101 cookbooks. I have only made madeleines twice..the last time I used a recipe from Cook's Illustrated. This recipe definitely has more flavor because of the brown butter, but the Cook's Illustrated recipe is much lighter in texture. I think overall, I like this recipe better, but I would love to be able to combine the two. For now, here's the recipe.

Brown butter madeleine
from 101 Cookbooks
Makes makes 2 -3 dozen regular madeleines

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for greasing pan)
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
a pinch fine-grain sea salt
2/3 cups sugar
zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar
a bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Melt the 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a small pot over medium heat until it's brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, roughly 7-10 minutes (see note). Strain (using a paper towel over a mesh strainer) - you want to leave the solids behind. Cool the butter to room temperature. By doing the butter first you can complete the rest of the steps while it is cooling.

3. While the melted butter is cooling, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to grease the madeleine molds - get in there and make sure you get in all the ridges. Dust with flour and invert the pan tapping out any excess flour. Lanha uses "cooking spray" with flour to simplify this part (see note).

4. Put the eggs with the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until thick - you are looking for the eggs to roughly double or triple in volume - approximately 3 minutes. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony. Now with a spatula fold in the lemon zest and vanilla (just until mixed).

5. Sprinkle the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture. Only stirring enough to bring everything together.

6. Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each mold 2/3 -3/4 full. I use a small cup filled with batter to keep things clean and manageable, it is easier than using a spoon (see note).

7. Bake the madeleines for 12 - 14 minutes (7-10 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the edges of the madeleines are golden brown. Remove from oven and unmold immediately. Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.

  • *The original recipe says you need to brown the butter for about 20 minutes. It only took me 7 minutes to obtain a caramel color and the bits were already starting to burn.
  • *Make sure you grease your pan liberally into all the crevices of the madeleine pan.
  • *I attempted to use a measuring cup to fill the pan in the beginning, but because the batter is so thick, I had a hard time not overfilling it. I ended up using a spoon, it was much easier for me.

Jun 2, 2009

Pumpernickel bread

I love the pumpernickel bread from Cheesecake Factory. I have been trying to find a recipe for this bread because it seems silly just to go to Cheesecake Factory to eat their bread. Finally..I found this from Recipe Circus. The recipe says to just put everything in a bread maker. I don't have a bread maker, so I followed the steps for a Simple Pumpernickel bread from The knead for bread (a wonderful wonderful bread blog, btw)

The results? Eh...the texture is there, but it's missing the sweetness that I like in Cheesecake Factory's. It almost has a bitter taste to it. When I first looked at the recipe, I was shocked that no sugar was added to the bread. But I figured I would try the recipe as is. Next time I will definitely add some sugar to it. Here's the recipe.

Cheesecake Factory's Pumpernickel bread
adapted from Recipe circus

1 1/2 cups warm milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons molasses
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup rye flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Combine the warm milk and the yeast. Allow to stand for five minutes.

2. Mix the bread flour, rye flour, cornmeal, salt, and cocoa powder together.

3. Add the vegetable oil and molasses to the milk.

4. Slowly add the liquid to the flour mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until a rough dough is formed.

5. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Allow the dough to proof in a oiled bowl for one hour or until dough is doubled in volume.

6. Cut the dough in four equal pieces. Form the dough balls into a loaves.

7. Allow to proof for another 30 to 45 minutes.

8. Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

8. Bake the loaves for 15 to 20 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Template by Best Web Hosting