It’s been a full month, I feel able to talk about it now. Enough time has passed! Those of you who read my Bing cherry jam post quite some time ago have been waiting for the post in which I was to reveal a special bake using said jam in for Hungry Hubby’s birthday. Sadly, I had a true baking disaster and poor Hungry Hubby’s birthday bake ended up inedible!
You see, I planned on making a giant Bakewell tart as he loves them so much but it may have come out of the oven looking beautiful, golden, suitably over-the-top and grand to celebrate a birthday yet it was completely raw in the middle when cut into at 10 pm on the night of his birthday. He’d had the day off but I had to work and had a million things on my mind and I fear it fell victim to my preoccupation and the whole lot went in the bin.
I felt so guilty and it broke my heart to see how disappointed he was to have been waiting weeks for his extra special treat only for it to be unfit for human consumption. I did try to quickly rectify the situation by putting it back in the oven but it just came out raw AND burnt! Arghhh! I told my friends and readers on Facebook the birthday bake was a disaster but it’s taken me this long to be able to say exactly what went wrong! Fortunately, the baking gods were smiling on me today and I have managed to make it up to Hubs with these mini Vanilla Pastry Bing Cherry Bakewells :D
Now I’ve made many a Bakewell in my time – in many a different size, shape and form. I’ve used other people’s recipes and created my own. The deep dish tart I mentioned above was a Christmas treat a couple of years ago and it was a roaring success. So safe in the knowledge I *could* do it, I set to making some individual little tartlets in my new NordicWare tartlette tin.
I wanted to make them extra special so I used vanilla paste to make the pastry and I do believe it makes all the difference. There is something so very grounding, perfectly plain yet floral at the same time about real vanilla which makes it perfect against the super sweet almond frangipane. Thankfully I had enough of my special jam squirrelled away that I didn’t need to resort to store bought for my fuzzy man. I make my shortcrust in an unconventional way by using room temp, soft butter and simply creaming all the ingredients together to a paste before chilling and rolling.
I prefer the texture and find it less faff than using cold butter, as per tradition. Also, when it comes to Bakewell tarts, I never blind bake especially when I bake individual ones. I like the pastry to almost (but not quite) become one with the frangipane – I can not stand the crisp pastry which can be flaked away from the filling when blind baking has been performed. It really aggrieves to me find pastry that way so this is how I do it and it works very well indeed. Have a try and see :)
To make these sweet little tarts a little more modern and less sickly sweet; apart from using next to no sugar in the pastry, as little as I can get away with in the jam, I like to merely drizzle a little glacé icing on top. No glacé cherries, no thick layer of fondant here. Hungry Hubby has his own way of enjoying these tarts – he submerges them upside down in Bird’s custard! And why shouldn’t he? It was his birthday, a month ago today ;)
If you don’t have this tartlette pan you can make 6 individual 10cm tarts with the recipe – they bake for 25 minutes, no other modification required :D
- 130 g plain flour
- 60 g soft room temp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 1-2 tbsp cold water
- 12 tsp of cherry jam
- 80 g soft butter
- 80 g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp Amaretto or upto 1/2tsp almond extract
- 80 g ground almonds
- 2 level tbsp plain flour
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
Make the pastry by combining the flour, butter, vanilla, caster sugar until forming soft crumbles and add only as much cold water as needed to bring together to a dough. Knead very lightly to form a flat disk and wrap with cling film before chilling in the fridge until firm and cool to touch.
If using the same tartlet tin as mine, you will have enough for 12 – if using a muffin pan (which has larger cups) you will only get upto 10 using the above quantities. Roll the pastry out to 2mm thick and cut out disks with an approximately 3 inch scone or biscuit cutter. Get as many from the first roll as you can as all pastry toughens if you roll it out more than twice. Press the pastry into the well of your chosen tin using the warmth in your hands to mould it to the sides well. Use scraps to repair any tears – it is quite a forgiving dough. Return to the fridge whilst you prepare the frangipane.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Beat the butter and sugar together for the frangipane then beat in the egg and extracts. Fold in the almonds and flour.
Retrieve your tin from the fridge and pop a teaspoon of jam in each tartlet well/muffin cup and top with approx 1 tbsp of the frangipane. Try to cover all the jam but don’t worry about being neat – they sort themselves out nicely in the oven and rise evenly.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in the centre of the oven until the frangipane is browning around the edges and the centre of each tart springs back when pressed.
Cool on a rack for 10 minutes then gently encourage them out of the tin with a spatula or (my preferred implement of choice) a plastic knife from a picnic set. Nice and thin and flexible.
Once fully cold, mix 1 tsp of water into the icing sugar reserved for the topping and mix aiming for the icing to fall off the spatula in a thick ribbon. Drizzle over the little tarts in whatever fashion pleases you most. :D