Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Bakers - Chocolate Bakewell Tart with Strawberry 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.
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.
Bakewell Tart History and Lore
Flan-like desserts that combine either sweet egg custard over candied fruit or feature spiced ground almonds in a pastry shell have Mediaeval roots. The term “Bakewell pudding” was first penned in 1826 by Meg Dods; 20 years later Eliza Acton published a recipe that featured a baked rich egg custard overtop 2cm of jam and noted,
“This pudding is famous not only in Derbyshire, but in several of our northern counties where it is usually served on all holiday occasions.”
By the latter half of the 1800s, the egg custard evolved into a frangipane-like filling; since then the quantity of jam decreased while the almond filling increased.
This tart, like many of the world's great foods has its own mythic beginnings…or several mythic beginnings. Legend has it in 1820 (or was it in the 1860s?) Mrs. Greaves, landlady of The White Horse Inn in Bakewell, Derbyshire (England), asked her cook to produce a pudding for her guests. Either her instructions could have been clearer or he should have paid better attention to what she said because what he made was not what she asked for. The cook spread the jam on top of the frangipane mixture rather than the other way around. Or maybe instead of a sweet rich shortcrust pastry case to hold the jam for a strawberry tart, he made a regular pastry and mixed the eggs and sugar separately and poured that over the jam—it depends upon which legend you follow.
Regardless of what the venerable Mrs. Greaves’ cook did or didn’t do, lore has it that her guests loved it and an ensuing pastry-clad industry was born. The town of Bakewell has since played host to many a sweet tooth in hopes of tasting the tart in its natural setting.
Bakewell tarts are a classic English dessert, abounding in supermarket baking sections and in ready-made, mass-produced forms, some sporting a thick sugary icing and glazed cherry on top for decorative effect.
Enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee or just eat it sneaky slice by sneaky slice until, to your chagrin, you realise the whole tart has somehow disappeared despite you never having pulled out a plate, fork or napkin with which to eat it.
Is it a tart or is it a pudding?
Someone once said something like “The Bakewell pudding is a dessert. The Bakewell tart is that girl over there.”
It’s a debate that rages on and we aren’t taking sides on this one. But we will say that many people call this pudding a tart.
While we’re at it...The etymology of pudding is a rather interesting and slightly convoluted one.* The naming confusion may come from the British manner of referring to the dessert course as ‘pudding’ (as well as referring to fat babies by the same name, though we don’t think that is what was the inspiration in this case). And so any dessert is a pudding until another name comes along and adds clarity to what it really is.
Living in England I grew up eating these treats pretty regularly. Mr Kiplings Bakewell tarts with icing were a treat! So, even though I was really familiar with Bakewell Tarts I had trouble deciding if I shoudl stay true to the Bakewell's I know and love or do something different. Obviously, I choose something different. My take on this recipe was to add chocolate, of course! I enjoyed doing this as it was an uncomplicated recipe that turned out perfect. Thanks again Jasmine and Annmarie!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Saturday Market - Vacaville

Hope to see you at the Market this week!


Fruity Organic Chicken, Apple and Cheese Pie $5
Apple compote with organic chicken and a sharp English cheddar.

Asparagus, Basil, Non-fat Cream Cheese Tart $5
The cream-cheese adds a nice texture to this tart.

Tomato Summer Pudding $4/slice
This is along the lines of a terrine with Red Onion, cherry tomatoes, fresh mint and basil. A nice lunch.

Lemon and White Chocolate Parfait $4

White Stilton, Apple, Pecan and Pear Crumble $5
This would be great with some of our ice cream

Oatmeal Carmelitas $4
Homemade caramel, bittersweet chocolate and nuts . Cut into bars.

Carrot Bread Pudding $4
Made with soy milk, local honey, apples, bananas

Raspberry Gastrique $5
Almond cake, raspberry curd and raspberry gastrique

It is supposed to be hot this weekend. If that is the case we will have plenty of ice cream!