Bakewell Tart

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Do you what is more terrifying to me than yeast? Baking a pie or a tart. There is something about baking the pie crust or tart shell that may shrink that scares me. I guess the many unknown possibilities are what boggle the mind of an OCD like me.

But who knows what came over me yesterday when I decided I want to bake a Bakewell Tart. I don’t even know what it is. I have never tried it in my life. Perhaps is what the beautiful picture I saw – so innocent and delicious looking. Perhaps it is because I bought a pie/tart pan a few weeks ago and I’ve been finding a reason to use it.

We all have to start somewhere don’t we?

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So I did. I started with the tart shell – seems easy enough. In fact, all I did was add all the ingredients into the food processor. If there’s ever a fire and if I’m allowed one equipment from the kitchen, I’ll run with my food processor. I love my stand mixer but the food processor has kept me sane through tough times. Anyway, once the ingredients were combined and formed a dough, I wrapped it up in plastic wrap and left the dough in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.

Who is ready to make some tart filling? Mixer bowl – check. Add the flour, butter, extract, egg and egg white. Yes, in that particular order and we’re done. It is time to put it away to chill for 3 hours.

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So… what’s next?

Lunch – I made corn fritters served with bacon, maple syrup and guacamole & hot sauce. Hello, delicious! My new favourite lunch. To be honest, anything with bacon and guacamole will be an instant favourite. If you ask nicely, I will share the recipe with you.

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Now this is the part where I find most difficult and almost cried – rolling out the dough to fit into the pan. I cannot seem to get it to roll without tearing. After many attempts, I decided to try the other option which is to press the dough into pan. No tearing this time around but trying to evenly press the dough onto the pan is quite a mission. It took a while before I decided it was ‘okay’ and that if I don’t stop now, the dough will only get too soft. Game over.

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Safe to say when the tart shell came out from the oven, the sides were a little uneven. I remember taking deep breaths. Before I can make any drastic decision (like starting all over again), I quickly covered the base of the tart with raspberry jam and dollop the almond filling all over and off it went into the oven.

That was it. The success of my first tart will be known in 45 minutes.

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Appearance wise, my tart definitely isn’t about to win The Most Beautiful Tart of The Year award. Let’s be honest about that but the taste… if the many descriptions of the Bakewell tart I’ve read are accurate, I’ve aced it. The taste of the almond is prominent but not overwhelming, complimenting the jam which makes it not overly sweet.

You know what? The tart is amazing. I’m not even going to try to pretend. I love it and I don’t even like jam. I love it so much I have had 4 slices in the last 2 days.

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Have I overcome my fear of baking a tart?

I think we’ll need a few more pie and tart experiments before that will ever happen.

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Bakewell Tart
recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1 Great Unshrinkable Sweet Tart Shell, partially baked in a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, blanched if you can find them
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
130g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup raspberry jam

In a food processor, finely grind almonds and flour. Add in sugar, then butter and almond extract. Blend until mixture is smooth. Whisk in egg and egg white. Transfer filling into a bowl and cover. Chill for at least 3 hours.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 175°C.

Spread jam over the base of tart shell. Dollop the almond filling all over, then spread it carefully. Bake tart for about 45 minutes, until golden and toothpick/thin blade inserted into center of filling comes out clean. Allow tart to cool in pan on rack.

To serve, push pan bottom up to release tart from pan. Sprinkle with icing sugar if desired before slicing.

The Great Unshrinkable Sweet Tart Shell
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Makes enough for one 9-inch tart crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
130g very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, whisked

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in. Slowly add the egg, little at a time, pulse after each addition. Once the egg is in, process in 10 seconds pulses until the dough forms clumps and curds. The sound of the machine working the dough will change right before this stage. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and lightly knead the dough to incorporate any dry ingredients. Wrap the dough with plastic and let chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours before rolling.

Once the dough is ready to be rolled out, butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of baking paper to 12-inch round. Using the paper as aid, turn dough into the tart pan; peel off the baking paper. Seal any cracks in the dough. Trim overhand to ½ inch. Fold overhang in, making double thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.

Alternatively, dough can be pressed into the tart pan as soon as it is processed. Press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides.

Place the tart pan in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before baking.

To fully or partially bake the crust – Preheat oven to 190°C. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Since the crust is frozen, it can be baked without weights. Bake the tart shell for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, pressed it down gently using the back of a spoon. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes longer to fully bake it, or until it is firm and golden brown.

To partially bake it, bake the crust for only 5 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of the tart recipe.

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