I’ve joined the Daring Bakers…

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.

It’s official – I have joined the Daring Bakers!  I have been thinking about it for a while, and was always somewhat intimidated.

So, when I saw that the June challenge was the Bakewell Tart, I must admit that I wasn’t thrilled.  I joined the Daring Bakers so that it would challenge me to attempt recipes I typically wouldn’t make on my own.  While I wasn’t thrilled, the Bakewell Tart was a perfect example!  I must say, though, that I was pleasantly surprised.  I waited to the last minute to make it, expecting it to sit uneaten on my counter.  Both my husband and I have really enjoyed it, though, and it’s almost gone.

The Bakewell Tart is composed of a sweet shortcrust pastry with a layer of jam topped with frangipane. I made one large tart with a quick homemade cherry jam.  With the exception of the jam, I followed the recipe exactly as it was written (I know – hard to believe). The recipe is displayed below along with my jam recipe and my photos.

Quick and Easy Cherry Jam

(My small contribution to the recipe)

  • 2 cups cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon water

Combine the cherries, sugar, vanilla, and water in a small skillet over medium heat.  Mash the cherries slightly with a potato masher as the mixture cooks.  Note – Be careful not to use a metal potato masher in a non-stick skillet.  If you are using a non-stick skillet, you may want to slightly mash the cherries prior to cooking.

Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow to cook until it thickens into a jam-like consistency.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool while preparing the rest of the ingredients for the tart.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

(Original recipe as posted for the challenge)

  • 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


(Original recipe as posted for the challenge)

  • 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.

Bakewell Tart

(Original recipe as posted for the challenge)

  • One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry
  • Bench flour
  • 250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability (Here’s where I added my cherry jam – I used the whole recipe for the tart)
  • One quantity frangipane
  • One handful blanched, flaked almonds

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.

31 Responses to I’ve joined the Daring Bakers…

  1. Good grief Jen, your bakewell tart came out AWESOME! So beautiful. And your photos are great too! You nailed your first challenge. Nice job!

  2. Congrats on your first DB challenge! I was also surprised how well it tourned out – it’s now one of my favourite desserts! Your tart looks really delicious :) Cheers.

  3. Beautiful looking tart!!! That lonely slice of tart above has my name written all over it. LOL. I love the the jam recipe too. I’m saving that!

  4. Your tart is perfect, and LOVE the homemade cherry jam! Way to go on a great Bakewell, and your photos are lovely!

  5. Jen, this tart looks amazing. And the photography is phenomenal. And the cherry jam is a great addition to the recipe. And Jenn (from B + B) is not going to be the only person saving this recipe- I am too; I will definitely be using it soon. I just need to figure out what I am going to use it in. LOL

    Great Job!

    P.S. I added you to the “Good Reads” section of my blog. It’s a compilation of my favorite food blogs / websites …and it keeps on growing.

  6. Congratulations on your first challenge! I have no doubt that some of the future challenges will be stressful enough to make you wish that we were baking to making simple Bakewell Tarts. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  7. I am just drooling here looking at your cherry jam! I was also really surprised at the taste. I thought I would hate it, but then I ate about 3/4ths of the large tart. Glad to hear you liked it also!

  8. A very warm welcome to you and a great bravo, for your beautiful accomplishment! The results are really great looking and I’m sure were just as tasty!

  9. Congratulations on joining the DBs. This challenge, although one you may not have made for yourself, combines two imporant pastry/confection elements that could be useful in future kitchen experiments. Well done!

    Thanks for participating,


  10. It was my first DB challenge as well! Yours is lovely. :) Cherry jam sounds so yummy! Your shortbread pastry looks amazing! I wish mine had come out as well!

  11. Congratulations on joining the Daring Bakers! I have been hesitating for months now and am just building up the courage to join after my move. I, too, want and need to be challenged and I do think this is a great way!

    Thanks for the wonderful cherry jam recipe! I wrote it down as I want to try my hand at making jam and cherry is all I eat!

    Your Bakewell Tart is just beautiful and a great first Daring Baker success!