Archive | June, 2012

Bakewell tart for a baker’s missing mojo

29 Jun


Dear Cake Doctor

I used to love baking all the time – cake here, sponge there, slice and cookies everywhere! Lately though, I find I’ve lost my baking mojo. I can’t even bring myself to make scones! What can I bake to bring back that loving feeling?

Love,

Count Bake-ula

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Dear Count Bake-ula,

What an awful thing to happen! You’re not only depriving your friends of home-baked goodness, but missing out on the soothing feeling brought about by spending quality time ovenside, elbow-deep in dough and pastry. We need to get your baking mojo back, and quickly.

To rediscover your soft spot for sweets, I think we’ll need to take you back to the classics. That’s why I’m prescribing Bakewell tart. Bakewell tart’s a typically English confection, with a base layer of shortbread, topped with raspberry jam and an almondy sponge, and finished with toasted almonds. It’s very easy, very satisfying, and guaranteed to bring back your baking bounce. What’s more, it’s delicious with a hot cup of tea and is easily transportable – invite friends over for a taste, go visiting with slice in hand, or just pop some in the post. The murmurs of delight and twinkling eyes after just one mouthful of this nutty, sugary concoction will see you back in the kitchen in no time, resurrecting your favourite recipes and baking up a storm.

And once you’ve mastered the classic Bakewell of raspberry jam and almonds, why not branch out a little – apricot jam’s sufficiently tart to balance the sweetness of the almond frangipane just as well as raspberry, and ground hazelnuts in place of almonds are delightful with rhubarb jam (you may never go back to the original!).

Best of luck Count Bake-ula! You’ll be the go-to guy for delicious sponge-based treats again in no time.

Love,

The Cake Doctor x

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Complaint: A baker’s missing mojo

Prescription: Bakewell tart (inspired by Rachel Allen’s Bakewell Bars in her book ‘Bake‘)

Ingredients – base

75g unsalted butter at room temperature (or, if fridge-cold, zapped in the microwave for 30 seconds)

25g caster sugar

1 egg yolk

175g plain flour

raspberry jam (a generous half a jar)

Ingredients – topping

100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs (preferably at room temperature)

100g ground almonds

100g semolina

100g caster sugar

flaked almonds, lightly toasted in a medium oven

Method

Line a flat tin (like a brownie tin, about 32cm long, 22cm wide and 4cm high) with baking paper, and preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (or for non-fan forced, up the temperature to 180).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put the 75g of butter and 25g of caster sugar in a medium bowl, and beat with a freestanding electric mixer (use the ‘paddle’ attachment), a handheld electric whisk, or just a wooden spoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the egg yolk and continue to beat until the mixture is well combined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, remove the bowl from the electric mixer, or change to a spatula if you were using a wooden spoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sift the flour into the bowl and gently combine, using a spatula, or your hands if it’s easier. The mix will be crumbly and resemble wet sand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip the wet sand mix into your prepared tin and press into each of the corners so that the mix is evenly distributed over the base of the tin. A small (but strong!) water glass should help even out the surface.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, spread a thick layer of jam over the dough, and place the tin in the fridge to chill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the dough chills, make the topping. Put the 2 eggs in a medium bowl and beat with a whisk or fork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add 100g melted butter to the beaten eggs and mix until combined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, tip in the ground almonds, semolina and 100g caster sugar and continue to stir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove the chilled tin from the fridge and dot spoonfuls of the almondy mixture on top of the jam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, gently spread the dollops out with a butter knife or spatula until it’s even all over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scatter the flaked almonds over the top of the almondy mix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, place in the oven for 28 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden and your tart passes the wobble test. This means a gentle push won’t produce a jelly-like quiver.

Cool in the tin for about 15 minutes, then carefully pull the slice out and on to a cooling rack or plate, using the baking paper to help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, slice into squares as large or small as you like, revel in the tart, nutty deliciousness of Bakewell, and welcome back your inner baker!

And remember, Bakewell’s just the beginning – once you’ve nailed this classic, you’ll be back on top baking form in no time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love,

The Cake Doctor x

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