Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Daring Bakewell!!!!

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.
Bakewell tarts…er…puddings combine a number of dessert elements but still let you show off your area’s seasonal fruits.
Like many regional dishes there’s no “one way” to make a Bakewell Tart…er…Pudding, but most of today’s versions fall within one of two types. The first is the “pudding” where a layer of jam is covered by an almondy pastry cream and baked in puff pastry. The second is the “tart” where a rich shortcrust pastry holds jam and an almondy sponge cake-like filling.
The version we’re daring you to make is a combination of the two: a sweet almond-flavoured shortcrust pastry, frangipane and jam.
What a fun and really easy challenge; it also got me back into making jam again, just what I needed, something more to make. I used fresh raspberries for the jam and now have several jars to eat over the next few months, yummy!!!

The was delicious and I can't wait to make it again.

You can use any kind of preserves you like so this is a versatile dessert! If you would like to make this tart here's the recipe:

Bakewell Tart…er…pudding
Makes one 23cm (9” tart)Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)Resting time: 15 minutesBaking time: 30 minutesEquipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin
One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)Bench flour250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadabilityOne quantity frangipane (recipe follows)One handful blanched, flaked almonds
Assembling the tartPlace 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. 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.
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.

Sweet shortcrust pastry
Prep time: 15-20 minutesResting time: 30 minutes (minimum)Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film
225g (8oz) all purpose flour30g (1oz) sugar2.5ml (½ tsp) salt110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)2 (2) egg yolks2.5ml (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

Prep time: 10-15 minutesEquipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula
125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened125g (4.5oz) icing sugar3 (3) eggs2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract125g (4.5oz) ground almonds30g (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.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Honey-Peach Ice Cream.....

This was just OK for us; not bad but not great, knock your socks off. I pureed all the peaches but it was still chunky; maybe if I had pureed the hell out of it the peach mixture it would have been smoother. I used 1 tablespoon of cointreau to help keep it soft but it still was a bit hard; flavor wise, I think using peach schnapps would have been the better choice. The peach flavor improved after a day or two but was never really peachy. I'm not a fruit ice cream person so will probably not make this one again, but it was still fun; I like to try recipes I normally would not even bother reading. And I love using my Cuisinart Ice Cream maker!!!
Thank you to Tommi of Brown Interior for an interesting recipe to try.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

SMS Chocolate Cookies with Toasted Almonds (Pecans)...

This has been a busy week and I almost decided not to bake, I'm sure, like that would ever happen. My DH came home from the hospital on Friday, he had shoulder replacement surgery, and things were a bit off last night. I don't think I slept at all and had to work this morning; at least I only had one client. Anyway back to the baking, this weeks recipe was chosen by non other than Melissa Murphy the author of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. I knew DH would enjoy these cookies and he did, I don't put nuts in my chocolate chip cookies but these added a nice crunch. I used pecans because I couldn't find the almonds hidden in the pantry, and I was not going back to the store. These tasted just fine with pecans, but I wish I had tried them with the macadamia nuts I found in the pantry. I didn't freeze the dough, just chilled it well before baking; they would never have lasted in the freezer so why waste freezer space, LOL. Nice change to a chocolate chip cookie and a very easy recipe.

Check out the other bakers from SMS, we have some amazing members!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

SMS Bear's Peach Cobbler.....

I just HAD to make this recipe! Why? Because my nickname for DH is Bear!!! Anyway, he loved this peach cobbler. I must confess, I used frozen peaches, and it still turned out great.

I made a mini, one serving size of the cobbler; but made the whole recipe for the topping. I cut out the topping and froze what I didn't use, now I have a cobbler I can put together FAST! I think you could use almost any fruit you have on hand and just add some sugar, cornstarch and spice.

Would definitely make again. Many thanks to Andrea of Nummy Kitchen for a fast and easy recipe, great pick!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

TWD Cinnamon Squares.....

This weeks recipe was chosen by Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. This recipe was easy and not too big, I didn't need to cut it in half. I used Cappuccino chips and mini chocolate chips in the filling, yummy. The cake rose beautifully and didn't sink in the middle, stayed nice and flat. For the frosting I used up all my bits and pieces of chocolate to make 6 ounces; turned out great and I got the swirls like Dorie's cake, LOL. A good coffee cake with a nice taste of cinnamon, would make again!