Monday, 27 May 2013

Bakewell Tartlets for My Mama

Since I have dedicated a bake to my dad, it wouldn't be very fair at all to not do one for my mum. While Dad's been an inspiration for baking because of his insatiable hunger for currant buns, Mum has been what's taught me why baking is so much fun. Although she doesn't quite enjoy baking as much as I do, my wanting to bake has come from her. I'm sure you would probably agree, your mum's cooking and baking automatically is a lot more delicious than anyone else's. My mum's cooking has always been amazing, and her baking (although she hasn't baked often) has been great. My mum has lovingly put a lot of effort into countless deliciousness for much longer than my 19 years (because of my older siblings), and it's only fair that I pay homage to her through baking her favourite dessert: a Bakewell! Call it a tart, call it a pudding, a Bakewell tart is definitely in my top 10 favourite things to gobble up. Even though this is highly sacrilegious, Mr. Kipling Bakewell tarts have always been a favourite of mine, too. Fun fact: Bakewell tarts gain their name from the town in Derbyshire, which oddly enough takes its name from the fact that the people in Bakewell could bake, and they could bake well.

While I love a good traditional bakewell tart, I prefer a cherry bakewell, and the following recipe will yield mini cherry bakewell tarts.

You will need to preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4

For the pastry (shortcrust)
  • 225g / 8 oz plain flour
  • 110g / 4 oz butter
  • 80g / 3 oz sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • Milk

And for the filling (we call this type of filling a frangipane)
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, plus one yolk, beaten
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 50g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 5 tbsp seedless raspberry jam, warmed in a pan
  • 175g icing sugar
  • glacĂ© cherries, halved, to decorate

  • Disposable gloves (if you don't like getting your hands buttery)
  • Rolling pin
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Cupcake/tartlet/bun baking tin
  • Wooden/metal spoon
  • Whisk
  • Baking beans
  • Sieve
  • Pastry cutters
  • Cling film
  • Baking parchment/tinfoil
  • Little jug

Making pastry is fun, I love doing it, so all aboard the amazingly entertaining pastry rollercoaster, whee!  Sweet pastry is a little less forgiving to roll out than basic pastry, but it is delicious and the tarts would be nothing without it. This pastry recipe should make enough for the tartlets and maybe have a bit left over. I hope you don't mind getting a bit dirty, because this will involve using your hands: 

So, first you'll need your flour and butter. Get them both in the bowl together and with your fingertips, gently break the butter down into smaller chunks, then tumble it around in the bowl to ensure it's coated with flour. Keep on breaking the butter into chunks, all the while making sure you're tumbling. Be careful! If you're hot-handed like me you may well melt the butter, so work quickly! Eventually you should end up with a bread crumb like mixture in the bowl, and it'll look fluffy. Now stir your sugar in until evenly combined. Once the sugar's in, this bit gets a tad trickier, because you don't want to make a sticky dough, but you do want a nice smooth, soft one. Add your egg and stir it with a knife until combined, then you need to add your milk. Stir it with your knife, then you need to knead with your hands to fully combine it until it's soft, but not sticky!

Filling your cases now will be a little tricky because of the nature of the dough, but you'll be okay if you roll it the right way: We don't want to dry the dough out by adding more flour so it won't stick, so if you roll it out between two pieces of cling film, it won't stick to either your surface or your rolling pin. Always roll in the same direction, but don't worry about keeping it circular. The pastry cases will be no good if they're too thick, so roll it out to a little thinner than a pound coin. Trust me. I know you think this is too thin. It's not. Cut the circles out and make sure you handle them carefully. Before you press them into the tin you should lightly grease it with a bit of butter just to be sure they'll pop out when they're baked. Line them with some baking parchment or tinfoil and then fill them with the baking beans. Pop the tin in the fridge for around 20 minutes or so.

Blind bake: Pierce them all on the bottom with a fork before you put them in the oven to prevent any air getting trapped underneath, then pop them in for 15 minutes. After this time has passed, take the baking beans and foul out, then bake for a further 5 minutes until you've achieved a sandy colour.

And now for the filling! Just like our last bake, you'll want to cream the butter and sugar together until you've a light fluffy texture and a light yellow colour. Mix your almond flavour into the eggs and beat them in the little jug until they're smoothly combined, then you'll need to pour it bit by bit into the mixture. Every time you add a bit, whisk it like crazy (my sincere apologies to your arms) to ensure it's combined, or the mixture will curdle. Now mix in your ground almonds until the mixture is smooth. The last step is to add your flour and baking powder, and as before we'll sift to ensure a fluffy texture in the filling. This frangipane filling should be creamy and fluffy when it's baked. Now to fold it in; remember to do this slowly and lovingly until the mixture is smooth and silky, quite like satin but in liquid form.

And now the second and final bake! Yay! We're almost done, hang in there! In the pastry cases, with the width of one pound coin again (I like my pound coins, okay?), spread a layer of jam, and then carefully spoon the almond mixture over the jam. Bake them on a lower shelf of the oven for around 30-40 minutes until set.

When you take them out, make sure they're cool before adding the icing. For the icing, put enough water into it so it coats the back of your spoon, then add some almond flavouring to it. Just a couple drops will do, then spread the mixture over the tartlets. Add your glacé cherry in the middle, then wait for the icing to set.

Preparation photostrips :)

If the icing is set, what are you waiting for?! Get munching! :D

I hope you've enjoyed this bake, in my family (especially Mum and I) we certainly do!

Thanks ever so much for reading! Until next time!

x x x

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