Saturday, June 27, 2009

June DB Challenge: Is it a Tart or a Pudding??

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.

Now for the review.  I thought this came together beautifully and fairly easily.  There was some math/conversion research involved.  I don't have a scale, so I couldn't use the metric measurements.  And I don't have committed to memory how many cups of flour equals 4 ounces by weight.  But the information is widely available online, so no worries there.  I do want a scale, so this recipe gave me some incentive to finally get one....but I still haven't bit the bullet.  I'm not sure which to get. Maybe you guys can give me some recommendations.  I also need to get a 9" tart pan.  I only have an 11".  So my frangipane layer is a bit thinner than it should've been and the tart only took about 20-22 minutes, rather than the 30-35 called for in the recipe. 

Other changes: I didn't make homemade jam or curd.  I did cook down a 12 oz bag of frozen cherries into a sort of pie filling.  So my "jam" layer is a bit thicker than called for I believe and makes this dessert a bit more substantial.  I think it worked out well.  I had commercial black cherry jam I could've used.  However, I wasn't sure how sweet the frangipane layer would be and I was concerned if I used the jam the entire dessert would be too sweet.  As much as we like dessert here, we don't like an overly sweet one.  I thought a tart cherry filling would be nice against the sweet frangipane.  And it is.  I also blind baked the tart crust for about 15 minutes, just to get it set and hopefully ward off any sogginess.  It worked.  Although, it may not have gotten soggy in the first place.  Better safe, right?!

This is a keeper kids.  It's can change the flavor of the jam/curd layer with just about anything you can imagine that will go with almond.  I wonder if you can make this savory somehow.  The frangipane does have a cup of powdered sugar.  But I wonder if you spiced it up somehow you could have a savory filling.  Hmm, I'll have to file that idea away.....

Monday, June 1, 2009

May DB Strudel Update

Okay, so as promised, I tried the strudel recipe again....and again. And will likely try it again this week's really that easy to put together.

I don't have pictures to post, but if you happen to browse this blog, I wanted to give you a fair review of strudel-making for this challenge.

The first attempt below was made with AP flour, but I left out the butter and the bread crumbs. If you go to the sites of our hosts, you'll find the recipe (which I'll post tonight, because it's a bit rude not to, sorry 'bout that!). I assumed the butter and bread crumbs were part of the apple strudel recipe and therefore left it out since I made a different filling. That was a mistake. I think that's why the dough was a bit flavorless and not flaky at all. Although, I must say that when we let the strudel cool completely and tried it again, the dough improved. So my first impression was a premature one.

By suggestion from M, the second attempt was made with bread flour. That dough stretched like a dream....not a tear in sight. It was fun the first time, but the bread flour made the second attempt at stretching strudel really fun. This time, I left out the bread crumbs again, but spread the melted butter over the dough before adding the filling. I cut the stretched dough in half to make two smaller strudels. One was brie and apricot preserves, the other was cream cheese and apricot. This attempt was definitely flaky but more bread/cracker like. I wasn't impressed, but M was. Although he's a sucker for bread flour and it's merits. As always, it tasted yummy....I mean c'mon....brie - apricot. Yum!

Third attempt....yep, again. This time I went for savory. Because these hips just can't take more brie right now. ;-) Back to AP flour and I kneaded the dough a bit longer hoping that would help develop more gluten and therefore lessen the tears and allow the dough to be stretched further. I think I had more tears this time than the first. This dough seemed wetter though and indeed, I added more flour as it was kneading in the KA. And I added flour to the counter as I hand-kneaded.....for much more than two minutes. I think I could've added even more and it would've been fine. The filling was empanada filling. Although I made my own....the kind I grew up with....I have to give a nod to Jen over at Use Real Butter for the idea. It's the strudel she made for the challenge. Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE her site. Love it.

Okay, so onto the review of the third attempt. I'm getting close to cracking the code of strudel. Well, I'm at least getting some good practice in at making strudel and developing a recipe or technique to get the results that I want. So, this time it was very flaky and thin and strudel-y. Not only did I spread the melted butter over the bottom of the dough, but I added the toasted bread crumbs. AND, I buttered everything in sight. Meaning....I rolled the strudel over and buttered, rolled again, and buttered, and again....until it was all rolled up and every inch, inside and out had melted butter.

I think AP flour is the better choice. But M wants me to try bread flour again with the butter onslaught and see how that comes out. I'm game. I'm also going to try playing with the amount of flour in the AP version and kneading times. I'm on a mission. And since you can fill this with absolutely anything, it doesn't have to get expensive to keep trying this over and over.

Okay, I must actually work today. So, I will post recipes and maybe a picture of the savory strudel tonight. Happy Baking!