Saturday, June 27, 2009

DB Bakewell Tart: In Which I Abuse British-isms

This month's Daring Bakers challenge was that most English of desserts, the Bakewell tart. Jolly good! Shortbread crust, a layer of preserves, and a frangipane (almond paste) topping, all baked up nice and brown, and Bob's your uncle.

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.
But the Barney Rubble* is, I don't really like aggressively almond desserts. You know, the ones that rely on lots of almond extract, like those almond danishes, or anything with lots of marzipan, or (sigh) this tart. And I kind of knew that going in, but I hope that through the magic of the daring bakers, my tastebuds would be transformed and I would enjoy it. Alas, the whole thing was just too almondy and fakey and, I don't know, chewy and cakey in a weird and dodgy way.
I made a custard sauce to go with the tart, because when I lived in England, it seemed like I couldn't get a dessert without custard, try as I might. Apple pie? Mandatory custard on the side. Chocolate mousse? Not complete without custard. Want a jam doughnut? Not without custard, you don't! Cup of custard? How's about a nice dollop of custard on top. Cor blimey, it was everywhere. Fortunately, vanilla custard sauce was a really nice accompaniment to this particular tart, and helped cut some of the almond flavor for me.

My absolute favorite part of this tart, though, was the homemade apricot preserves I used. The apricots were a little tart to eat on their own, which made them perfect for the jam and kept it from being too sweet. I had a little extra tart dough left over, so I made small shortbread cookies out of it, and topped them with the apricot jam. It was brilliant! So delicious.The jam was a slapdash experiment that worked perfectly, and I was chuffed to bits at how well it came out. And it couldn't be easier! This makes a little more than a cup of jam, perfect for filling this tart and nibbling on leftovers.

Apricot Jam

1 lb apricots, ripe but firm
12 oz sugar
1/4 cup honey
juice from 1/2 lemon

Pit the apricots and coarsely chop them--their skins are so thin, they do not need to be peeled. Place them in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and add the sugar, the honey, and the lemon juice. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the apricots are evenly coated.

Allow the apricots to cook and break down, stirring frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom. After a time, the mixture will start to produce an orange froth on top that bubbles vigorously. Use a spoon to skim this off the top. If you save the orange foam in a small container, it will liquify and become an amazing apricot syrup--great on french toast or pancakes!

Continue to cook the apricots until they have broken down and are at a consistency you like--for me, this was about 35-40 minutes.

*Speaking of Cockney rhyming slang, did you know "raspberry tart" is rhyming slang for "fart"? Think about THAT the next time you're blogging about a nice fresh berry tart.
...And many apologies for the wanton abuse of the English language, next post will be back to our regularly scheduled American slang.


  1. Thanks for your apricot jam recipe! My grandma's apricot tree just dumped a bunch of apricots, too many to eat, and I've been searching for a jam recipe. How long will it keep? Your tart looks awesome too!

  2. Ba ha ha ha - great abuse of the English language. And I do mean the King's English.

    Of course, I say that because my mom is from England. And I know what you mean about custard on the side of everything! Custard sauce for everyone!

  3. Ha,great post. Sorry you didn't love the tart. It looks nice. And YUM to the jam!

  4. the jam looks great--and i am going to try the tart but i'm not sure what i'll think of it (just joined DB last night)

  5. Haha - love British-isms :) And that apricot jam sounds delicious!

  6. Ahahah I had to laught about the custard in everything in the UK! Same thing for me when I lived there! Your jam (and tart) look pretty great, even with the custard, lol!

  7. I'm not big on almond desserts, either (especially if they have marzipan--blech!) but the apricot jam looks amazing! A friend is bringing me a couple of pounds of apricots I have my recipe!

  8. Delicious looking tart!

  9. la confiture d'abricots est ma préférée, mais je n'en avais plus, c'est pour cela que j'aurai adoré ta tarte ! elle est superbe :)

  10. "Cor blimey" I haven't heard that since I was in England - many many many years ago.

    sorry it wasn't your thing, but I have seen these w/out almond custard and still called Bakewell Tarts.

    Yous looks just perfect, by the way.

  11. Sorry you didnt like the tart. But it sure looks great :) And the jam sounds heavenly

  12. Too bad you weren't a fan, but you knew that going in. Your tart is gorgeous and your apricot jam sounds divine.

  13. Claire S10:05 PM

    Smashing. And there is nothing wrong with custard. Next time I see you, I will make you some!

  14. Well, does help to like almonds when doing a Bakewell Tart :) Love the custard (and the marbling).

    Thanks for participating.

  15. your bakewell tart looks picture perfect, like it could be in a cookbook :)