Another challenge knocked off my 100 list! 😀
I have been in possession of a tart pan since Christmas. It’s a pan made by the oddly named company Fat Daddio’s. Now, it just might be me, but that makes me think of some kind of 50’s diner than solid cooking wear. Luckily, the pan didn’t live up to the greasy spoon association and was brilliant at baking delicate tarts. The biggest plus? The pan isn’t coated with any type of nonstick surface. I’m looking into their tube pan as a bundt pan since recipes like this one are tempting me.
Having said that, you don’t need a “special” tart pan as long as you have one, but what you do need is a cherry pitter. I can’t sing its praises high enough. I don’t know how I was living my day to day cherry eating days before the pitter came into my life. It looks like this:
It doesn’t look like much, and to be honest, I thought it would spit cherry juice everywhere as it pulverized each ex-plump cherry.
The reality? It just clicks the pit right out of the cherry leaving the round fruit untouched except for a little hole at the end. Wonderful, easy, mess-free and quick. I can pit a few cups of cherries in no time and I’m even setting my sights on a cherry pie this week. I wouldn’t have given a pie a go in the old days since pitting that many cherries was about as appealing as watching potatoes bake.
So, what’s one to do with a tart pan, a cherry pitter and a hankering for merrie England? Why, make a cherry bakewell tart!
It was like a vacation on Saturday for me – I had carefully selected my recipe from use real butter’s blog (Daring Baker’s approved), made my list, bought my ingredients and set to work. I had already made my cherry jam spread on Wednesday, so all I had to do was put together the shortcrust and frangipane.
The bakewell tart has always scared me – it looked difficult and had a lot of separate stages. I had never made a tart before, and I was worried that I would do something wrong.
Let me put all of your fears to rest: this recipe is easy and straightforward.
It’s easier than most desserts and in fact, I’d say it’s easier than cake or pie. Why? There’s no crusts to botch up (as I do), or cakes to deflate (as I do). It’s almost foolproof (as I’m not). The tart came out tasting exactly as it should and it was beautiful to behold (if I do say so myself). Definitely a project you should put on your plate!
- The measurements in the recipe are metric , or as I like to call it, mystic. I have a scale, but it’s so bad that if you even tap it, the meter can bounce a whole 100 grams. Not very accurate to say the least. I looked up conversions for the metric units and did my best with my rickety scale, but this is such a forgiving recipe, that everything came out just fine.
- I was able to find almond flour (meal) from Bob’s Red Mill at my local Whole Foods. They wanted $13.99 a bag for it, which was steep, but seeing as how it was ground almonds, I should have known that it would be expensive (I checked at my local grocery today and they had it for $8.49 – should have known). You can freeze what you don’t use and I know I’ll be making more bakewell tarts in the near future!
- We like our bakewell tarts to have a thick layer of icing just like Mr Kipling’s, so I made a simple icing using water and added almond extract for flavor. It was perfect and we can’t imagine what the tart would have been like without. If you like the idea of a plain tart better, just add sliced almonds to the top of the batter during the last 5 minutes of baking.
- I’m in love with making my own jams, so I quickly (enter cherry pitter!) cooked up a batch of cherry jam using the recipe below. It was perfect and the large pieces of fruit didn’t hinder the look and taste of the tart in any way. You can add whatever jam/curd you wish, but I highly suggest giving the homemade cherry jam a go for real flavor and fun!
Fresh Cherry Jam:
About 1 cup pitted bing cherries (truthfully, it could be two cups and it won’t matter, except you might have some extra!)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar (I think I’ll go Spenda next time)
1 tbsp potato (or corn) starch
1/4 tsp almond extract
- Pit cherries and place in pan on medium-low heat.
- Add lemon juice and sugar. Mix and “tear” the cherries in half a bit as you stir.
- Boil for about 5 minutes. Add starch and stir until thick.
- Take off heat and add extract. Mix well and let cool.