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.
After a month break I'm committed to my Daring Bakers again. This month is a British dessert that I'll admit I'm not too familiar with and something that I've never made before, so I'm glad to have checked it off the list.
What is a Bakewell Tart? Well in a "pie shell" its an almond cake baked in a pie shell spread with jam. I would say these could be compared to the butter tarts or nanaimo bars of my area of the world. They are common and beloved and everywhere from bakesales, family dessert trays and mass produced for every major supermarket and bakery chain in the country. And like those same ubiquitous squares and tarts in my city, they are also often bad interpretations of the original. So we Daring Bakers attempt to bring attention and honour to a relevant member of the British tea tray and a pastry with a longstanding history and do it right.
(If you really want to know the history of this beloved British dessert, visit Jasmine's site.)
With my jam supply still a little on the heavy side and berry season firmly upon us this was a perfect dessert to use a jar of beautiful, tart, raspberry jam. It was spread on a sweet tart shell crust and then covered with frangipane, an almond cream of sorts that turns into cake. I'm not unfamiliar with this and have used it in many a tart usually with whole fruits of the season, an application I prefer, but with a highly flavoured bright jam its an easy way to showcase your homemade or gifted preserves. In reference to the mini versions that are commonly seen sporting a white iced topping and a sliced cherry, I drizzled mine with a raspberry icing and scattered a few raspberries on top, a reminder of what's hidden below.
On our first trip to the UK a year ago this month we ventured north to Windermere and had a proper English afternoon tea in a cozy tearoom on a windy, grey and rainy day. On that huge 3 tiered silver tray hovering over our small 2 person table, was certainly a bakewell tart. And its this memory that I recalled when I had my first bite of my bakewell tart. As a dessert alone, after a big meal, it didn't appeal to me. It seemed heavy and one dimensional. But alongside an uplifting cup of Earl Grey or a bracing English Breakfast tea, I imagined it the perfect afternoon pick me up, something light enough for mid day, but heavy enough to get you through to dinner. And this afternoon that's exactly what I craved with my mid afternoon beverage. So pay homage to a dessert that's been through a couple world wars, a few kings and queens and at least one low carb diet phase, and is still going strong. I can't say this one will be in my repertoire very often, but I'm certainly glad I've given it a chance.