June has definitely been a strange month starting by my baking the latest Daring Bakers challenge the first week it was revealed. That has not happened in almost two years but there are too many work deadlines this month to monkey around with all forms of important business. Work and Daring Bakers that is. These Bakewell Cherry Tarts served with Cherry Pit Ice Cream Milkshakes don't monkey around either.
Oh yes, even after all this time I still take my DB very seriously!! Our challenge this month was to make this traditional British tart and beside the three key components of the shortbread pastry crust, preserves and frangipane filling, we were pretty much let loose to do as we desired. If you have been catching my latest Daring Bakers challenges, when I am given this much freedom, my mind goes in overdrive and the kitchen turns into super porduction for a few hours. All around me usually rub their hands knowing there will be an abundance of desserts for the next few days while B. sighs as he approached the scene of the crime.
This time, I decided to throw myself a real challenge. To only make one possibility. How did I do? Well, I thought everything was groovy, sticking to my one idea of cherry preserve and almond frangipane. Then my brain got a little looser and I had this urgent craving to make cherry pit ice cream while pitting a few boxes of cherries for jams. Summer is here, I am jamming people and stone fruits are definitely high on my list. I like to get the darkest one I can find for jams, makes the finished color really pretty.
Having made Bakewell tarts before, I wanted to fiz things up a bit and serve them with tiny milkshake shots. I have had cherry pit ice cream on my mind ever since Shuna from Eggbeater posted about it last year. I am not going to get into the whole controversy of using pits in ice creams (or jams for that matter). Shuna wrote three very detailed posts about it so please read them well if you are interested in the topic.
All I can say is I did not hear a peep out of my guests when dessert came around. I think that means they'll be back, ahahah!
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.
Cherry Bakewell Tartelettes:
Notes: The only change I made to the recipe given by our hostesses was to prebake the tart shells before filling them with jam and frangipane. The high ratios of butter in both the crust and filling can hinder the crust from baking all the way through while your filling overcooks.
Makes ten 3-inch tartelettes.
Sweet shortcrust pastry:
225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water
125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds (or other nut of your choice)
30g (1oz) all purpose flour
Jam or preserve of your choice
Prepare the dough:
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.
Prepare the frangipane:
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.
Assemble the tartelettes:
Place 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 pans, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Place the tarts on a baking sheet line with parchment paper and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
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.
For the milkshakes: process about one cup of the cherry pit ice cream (or you favorite one) in blender with enough milk to achieve milkshake consistency. Serve in glass shots alongside the tarts.