June's Daring Bakers Challenge was: Bakewell Tarts!
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.
As much as I kept thinking the "Bakewell" part of the name had something to do with how the tarts are cooked -- Baked -- it turns out it's actually the name of the town from which the tarts originated: Bakewell, England.
I had to make these in my mom's kitchen a couple days ago since I was quickly running out of time and had an afternoon there with nothing else I needed to do! It's amazing how even though I grew up baking/cooking in my mother's kitchen -- and she is ONE FANTASTIC COOK. My baking has advanced even beyond what I'd learned from her. Therefore, I felt a bit limited by certain things. She has a very old scale that isn't precise (think: balancing act), was out of lemon extract and doesn't rush to replace it like I would, only has one microplane with a rather course grate so my lemon zest was "bigger" than I would have liked, all her dishes have colored patterns on them (not what I really like to photograph) and her work area is lit with fluorescents - AWFUL photography lighting! Haha - how accustomed we become to working in our own kitchens...
(l) Mom's butter was frozen in 1 pound blocks and I only needed 2T, so I just used my pastry blender with chilled (not frozen) butter ~~~~ (r) And THAT is Mom's scale. Put it on the weight you need, then add the ingredient until the notches balance evenly. Wow.
I'm sorry to say that as I read the recipe for this month's challenge, I was a little disheartened and not very excited about it. This happens, and that's fine. Everyone is different and everyone likes different things. I tried to doctor the finished product into something I thought I'd like more (and also be able to serve to my parents - who dislike almond flavoring). I came up with these small variations:
- I made only half a recipe which resulted in 4 tarts.
- I made my favorite lemon curd and made lots of it!
- I threw a bit of lemon zest into the almond frangipane, while replacing the almond extract with vanilla (would have used lemon, but as I mentioned, Mom was out!)
- I put WAY more curd into the middle than was recommended. I just wanted as little of the almond cake as possible.
The result was... actually quite decent - which is great! I put A LOT of lemon curd in there. LOTS. So much that I originally thought it wasn't baked all the way through. But then I realized the curd had just redistributed as it bubbled and boiled inside the tart. It actually sorta tasted like a big lemon bar!
Browse and enjoy!