Sunday, June 28, 2009

[Daring Bakers] Bakewell Tart


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.

Bakewell tarts…er…puddings combine a number of dessert elements but still let you show off your area’s seasonal fruits.

I turned mine into tartelettes, frangipane tartelettes and used mirabelle jam!

Bakewell Tart History and Lore

Flan-like desserts that combine either sweet egg custard over candied fruit or feature spiced ground almonds in a pastry shell have Mediaeval roots. The term “Bakewell pudding” was first penned in 1826 by Meg Dods; 20 years later Eliza Acton published a recipe that featured a baked rich egg custard overtop 2cm of jam and noted,

“This pudding is famous not only in Derbyshire, but in several of our northern counties where it is usually served on all holiday occasions.”

By the latter half of the 1800s, the egg custard evolved into a frangipane-like filling; since then the quantity of jam decreased while the almond filling increased.

This tart, like many of the world's great foods has its own mythic beginnings…or several mythic beginnings. Legend has it in 1820 (or was it in the 1860s?) Mrs. Greaves, landlady of The White Horse Inn in Bakewell, Derbyshire (England), asked her cook to produce a pudding for her guests. Either her instructions could have been clearer or he should have paid better attention to what she said because what he made was not what she asked for. The cook spread the jam on top of the frangipane mixture rather than the other way around. Or maybe instead of a sweet rich shortcrust pastry case to hold the jam for a strawberry tart, he made a regular pastry and mixed the eggs and sugar separately and poured that over the jam—it depends upon which legend you follow.

Regardless of what the venerable Mrs. Greaves’ cook did or didn’t do, lore has it that her guests loved it and an ensuing pastry-clad industry was born. The town of Bakewell has since played host to many a sweet tooth in hopes of tasting the tart in its natural setting.

Bakewell tarts are a classic English dessert, abounding in supermarket baking sections and in ready-made, mass-produced forms, some sporting a thick sugary icing and glazed cherry on top for decorative effect.

Enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee or just eat it sneaky slice by sneaky slice until, to your chagrin, you realise the whole tart has somehow disappeared despite you never having pulled out a plate, fork or napkin with which to eat it.


Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart
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 pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

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. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Jasmine’s notes:
• If you cannot have nuts, you can try substituting Victoria sponge for the frangipane. It's a pretty popular popular cake, so you shouldn't have any troubles finding one in one of your cookbooks or through a Google search. That said, our dear Natalie at Gluten a Go Go has sourced some recipes and linked to them in the related alt.db thread.
• You can use whichever jam you wish, but if you choose something with a lot of seeds, such as raspberry or blackberry, you should sieve them out.
• The jam quantity can be anywhere from 60ml (1/4 cup) to 250ml (1cup), depending upon how “damp” and strongly flavoured your preserves are. I made it with the lesser quantity of home made strawberry jam, while Annemarie made it with the greater quantity of cherry jam; we both had fabulous results. If in doubt, just split the difference and spread 150ml (2/3cup) on the crust.
Annemarie’s notes:
• The excess shortcrust can be rolled out and cut into cookie-shapes (heck, it’s pretty darned close to a shortbread dough).

Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

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

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

Jasmine’s notes:
• I make this using vanilla salt and vanilla sugar.
• If you wish, you can substitute the seeds of one vanilla bean, one teaspoon of vanilla paste or one teaspoon of vanilla extract for the almond extract

Frangipane

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

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.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kitchenaid sale starting June 16th!

Note: You prefer Oulala? Read this post on my French blog: La cuisine de Babeth

Who never dreamed about having a Kitchenaid Artisan? Well let me share with you a great bargain deal! Tomorrow June 16th starting at 7AM on vente-privée they will sale Kitchenaid appliances at outlet prices!
I know with this economy everyone is stretching every dime, but being careful doesn't mean you cannot indulge great products at discount prices!

To take advantage of those bargains you need to be a member, and it's only on invitation. Well you will tell me, great but how I can get a VIP invitation? Simple! Just click here I'm inviting you :-)
They ship to France, UK, Germany, Spain and Italy!


So see you tommorow at 7am in front of your computer?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Follow me!

Note: You prefer Oulala? Read this post on my French blog: La cuisine de Babeth
Rare cancer awareness: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

menthe

Follow me into my little "garden" right on the French / Luxembourgish boarder.

Predator ...

The nice round Bay laurel was "imported from Nantes (from Design by Suzanne's garden). With it I will save a lot but not cutting back on taste, those Bay leaves are really expensive. My plan is to spare some leaves and dry them to enjoy Bay leaves feast all winter long.

laurier

My 3 different mint species (easy to grow, like step 0 of gardening for dummies) made friend with the chive pot.

mint
herbes aromatiques

And then parsley, basil, dill and physalis:

Persil
Aneth


And the rose rose bush:

rose rose

Thursday, June 11, 2009

wild asparagus / asperges sauvages

Note: You prefer Oulala? Read this post on my French blog: La cuisine de Babeth
Rare cancer awareness: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

scallop_asparagus

Wild asparagus are in season later in Eastern part of France (Lorraine / Luxembourg) compare to South of France were they are ready be enjoyed mid February / March. In Provence you can either find them in the nature - but not easy to unearth -, or at farmers market -where they are very expensive (almost same price as an Hermes scarf). Until recently I was convinced that wild asparagus (asperges sauvages in French) were only growing all around the Mediterranean Basin. Few weeks ago I was really surprised coming across some fresh asperges sauvages at Thionville's farmers market, and even more surprised when asking the farmers from where in Provence they were from he replied " M'am they're from Lorraine!"

asperges_sauvages

Those little palate's bounty are usually accomodated in France with a little vinaigrette (steamed them for 4minutes, then cool them under cold water and add your favorite vinaigrette) or with scrumbled eggs -brouillade- (simply stir them with your scrmbled eggs).

In kitchen they got married to scallops, and served with bulgur.

Ingredients: (serving 2)
-about 10 wild asparagus
-1 red bell pepper
-10 scallops
-butter
-salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions:
1- Rinse the asparagus under running water, if needed trim the tough lower edge. Cut them in small sections.
2- Rinse the bell pepper under running water, remove the seeds and cut in thin strips.
3- Warm some butter in a pan, stir fry the asparagus, bell pepper and scallops for few minutes.
4- Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.






Other asparagus recipes:
asparagus
-no brainers citrus asparagus

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mochis

Note: You prefer Oulala? Read this post on my French blog: La cuisine de Babeth
Rare cancer awareness: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

mochi

It's spring cleaning in our house!

God it's crazy how much stuff one can keep or store! We are no exception. I'm not organized like Martha Stewart is, but once in a while I got the urge to organize, de-clutter, give to charities or sell (One man's junk is an other man treasure!). The kitchen is also the theater of my de-cluttering operations! While digging into all the accumulated edibles I found glutinous rice flour and some Azuki (red beans paste). In a second I was baking mochis, those little glutinous rice-based Japanese delicacy. When filled they are called daifuku mochis.

My mochis' recipe was published on La vie in English back in March 2008 at the time of cherry blossom and where I also told you a little bit more about my almost 4 years in California.

Ingredients (24 pcs):
Filling (optional)
½ cup dried peeled mung beans or Azuki (red beans paste)
1 cup water
½ cup raw or caster sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil 100g sweet potato, peeled and steamed
Pinch of salt

Mochi
2 cup glutinous rice flour
½ cup cornstarch
3-4 tbsp condensed milk
1 cup & 1 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Food coloring (optional)

Other
1 cup coconut flakes
Directions:
  1. Filling: Rinse the mung beans and discard any residual peels. Combine beans with water and bring to boil. Cover and let it simmer over low heat, stir occasionally until all water is absorbed by the beans. It can also be cooked in the microwave using a microwave rice cooker as if cooking rice.
  2. Combine cooked mung beans, sugar, oil, sweet potato and salt in a food processor. Blend all ingredients to form smooth paste. Remove paste from food processor, divide and shape paste into 24 small balls. Keep in refrigerator until ready to assemble.
  3. Mochi: In a large mixing bowl, mix together glutinous rice flour and cornstarch. Pour in boiling hot water and stir rapidly to mix. Add in condensed milk and oil, mix well and knead to form a soft dough. Divide and shape dough into 24 small balls. Cover with damp cloth until ready to assemble.
  4. Assemble: Take a dough ball, make a deep impression with thumb (like a well) and place a filling ball in the middle. Bring all edges together and pinch to seal. Roll it around with palms to smooth out the edges and form a ball.
  5. Steam mochi balls over medium heat for 10 minutes. OR drop them into a pot of boiling water (medium heat), once they floated on the surface remove it with a spoon. I used boiling method, find it easier.
  6. Roll cooked mochi balls in the coconut flakes while they are still hot. Ready to serve.
Quick trick: Don't try to keep mochis in the fridge! Unfortunately they became hard and tasteless. Enjoy them fresh!

Other pink recipes:
Pink mousse(dip)
Pink mousse video
Quinoa mixed berry muffins
Lamb shoulder chops with pomegranate

Monday, June 1, 2009

Smell and lick!

Note: You prefer Oulala? Read this post on my French blog: La cuisine de Babeth
Rare cancer awareness: don't forget to check: Help beat sarcoma

Elle à table 10ans

Or why it does smell good in my purse!

I was a long time subscriber to Elle à table (the food edition of the French Elle magazine) and kept carefully recipe's cards cut out Elle weekly edition. (Note: Elle the fashion magazine, it's available in French, English (US, UK, New Zealand ...), German, Russian, Japanese and so one. In most places it's solely a monthly fashion magazine but in France Elle is actually published weekly, with 4 detachable recipes cards at the end.) Last May (read the full story here) the love story got tainted. At that time they changed the layout and the pictures were dull. Few issues passed and pictures started to become mouth-watering again (important in the appealing process with food).

Anyway Elle à table celebrates their 10th birthday! Happy Birthday !! A great publishing success as well as a chic but not too stiff magazine!

To celebrate in style with the magazine you have a free booklet with 50 spring recipes and a perfumed cover! Yes a perfumed cover, it smells cotton candy or a bit like perfumed rubber I used to collect in my young teenage age.

Cherry on top a 20000 euros sweepstake is organized, check it out!

timbre chocolat

One more thing for chocolate lovers. It also smell chocolate in my purse. The French post office publish a 10 stamps booklet that look like a chocolate bar and smell like chocolate!
I'm sure you will lick those stamps with appetite!

[daring baker] Apple strudel


The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Preparation time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Apple strudel
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Strudel dough
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

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