Berries andPie

baking, cooking, recipes, eating, and obsessing over food

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rhubarb & Ginger Bakewell Tart... erm... Pudding

Bakewell Tart... erm... 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.

This tart has changed my life. Since I was introduced to this fruity, sweet, nutty, crumbly, sticky, SUMPTUOUS tart, I have gained 10 kilos. All within a month. My tastebuds are ALIVE, but my heart is going to give out any moment now.

So... that's not so much an exaggeration, as an outright lie: I have, so far, only made this tart once, but it was a delicious once, and my tastebuds have now officially sworn fealty to the Church of Bakewell.

Confession: I initially thought this tart would be a little dull and dry. Boy, was I wrong. By the powers of each individual element of this tart combined (yes, it's a loose referece to Captain Planet), we have a winner. The fruitiness of the jam and the moist, fluffy, frangipane are a match made in heaven.

So, as you now already know, the Bakewell Tart...erm... Pudding (pudding vs tart is the subject of great debate, I am lead to believe) was our Daring Bakers challenge for the month of June. Whilst the tart itself really had to remain the same, we were given the choice of any jam we wanted to use. I decided to use rhubarb and ginger jam, hence its appearance a couple of weeks ago on this very blog. The tartness of this jam breaks through the sweetness of the frangipane, balancing the flavours of this tart perfectly.

This is actually my first ever crack at a tart. Though essentially not too different from pies, they are, like, TOTALLY different, so it's a big thing for me! It was a fantastic one to cut my teeth on. Where once I wasn't sure, I now cannot recommend this classic British dessert highly enough.

Rhubarb & Ginger Bakewell Tart... erm... Pudding


Makes 6 10cm/4" tarts

- 1 Quantity of Rhubarb & Ginger Jam
- Handful flaked almonds

For the Pastry:
- 225g all purpose flour
- 110g butter
- 30g sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1-2 tbspn cold water
- 30g sugar
- 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) salt

For the Frangipane:
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 125g icing sugar
- 125g ground almonds
- 3 eggs
- 30g flour
- 1/2 tsp almond extract/essence


To make the pastry, grate the butter into a large bowl and add the flour. Working quickly, rub the butter into the flour using your finger tips. Once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add in the sugar and egg yolks, and mix until the dough comes together. If the mixture is still not wet enough to form a cohesive pastry dough, add in the extra water, a tablespoon at a time. Aim to use as little water as possible. If you have the gadget, and can't be bothered (fair enough if you ask me!) you can make the pastry by pulsing the flour and butter together, the adding the other ingredients, and again, pulsing, until the dough comes together.

Trivia: I had a processor for 2 years before I was finally told it could 'rub' the butter in for me. Duh. It changed my LIFE (yes, I've been struck with a touch of the melodramas).

Flatten the pastry into a rough disc, wrap in cling wrap, and stick it in the fridge. You can now leave it for a day, or continue to on to the finished tart: choose your own adventure.

Ok, now for the frangipane. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Resist the urge to eat the mixture (don't give me that look, it's YUMMY and you know it). Add the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition. The mix will appear to curdle, but it's fine: we'll fix this in a moment. Now, add your flour, almond meal, and, if using, almond essence. Beat until combined, and stop. Voila! Your very own frangipane. Aren't you proud?

To assemble your tart, remove your pastry from the fridge, and divide into 6 even parts. On a floured surface roll each portion of the pastry out to 5mm (1/5")thick discs and line your tart tins. At this point, stick the tarts in the freezer for 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 200C (conventional).

Remove the tarts from the freezer and add 2-3 tbspn's of jam to the base of each tart and spread it out evenly. You can really add this to taste. If you want death-by-jam, go for it, just remember to leave room for the frangipane.

Jamming up the Bakewell Tart
Jamming up the tart

On top of your jam, smooth on frangipane. I overfilled my tarts every time. It's only on a third attempt that I filled them correctly and got the photo above! Be aware: the frangipane melts and puffs up, creating a smooth domed surface. For this reason, make sure the frangipane doesn't come up over the edges of the tart when you're filling, or you will have spillage.

Frangipane Filling
Filling it up with delicious frangipane

Bake your tarts for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top of the tart, and bake for a further 5 minutes.

When ready, the tart will be a gorgeous golden brown. Eat hot or cold and enjoy!

Chopped Bakewell Tart
Chopped so you can see the jammy yumminess


You can, of course, substitute the jam for any of your liking. I really liked the rhubarb as it's tart and stops the pudding from being oversweet.

Before I used the pastry for the tarts, I used some to make individual apple pies, and didn't like it. It just didn't do it for me, but, when used for the Bakewell Tart it was transformed into something TRANSCENDANT. 3 thumbs up :)


Rhubarb & Ginger Jam

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rhubarb & Ginger Jam


I love rhubarb. ADORE it. The colour, smell, taste, stringiness, you name it. When we were young my Mum grew rhubarb plants beside the house and I remember having stewed apple and rhubarb for dessert when it had finally grown. It was a rare treat: I don't remember it being available often, so perhaps that's why this anti-fruit holds such a special place in my heart. I get really excited about rhubarb (really, it's kind of sad, Nick has to restrain me).

When I saw bunches of beautiful fresh rhubarb at Castle Hill farmers markets a while ago, I jumped at them, took them home, chopped them up and froze them.

Since then, the rhubarb has been sitting in the freezer while I figure out what to do with it. I can never justify making a whole pie or crumble for just 2 people, and as we've been out, instead of having company over recently, there it's stayed. I've never really made much jam, so this seemed as good a place as any to start.

This jam is intensely flavoured - it really packs a punch, but I like it!

Rhubarb & Ginger Jam

Makes approx. 250ml (1 cup)


2 cups of rhubarb (210g)
3/4 cup of white sugar (185g)
1/4 cup chopped crystallised ginger
2tbsp of lemon juice
Zest of 1 small lemon


Combine the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Allow to simmer, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, then remove from heat.

Either pour into hot sterilised jars and seal, or store in an air tight container in the fridge. Once your jar is opened, or if just using a container, store in the fridge and use within a week or so.


The lemon in this recipe is to add pectin and help it to set the jam. You can taste it, but it does taste good! You could, alternatively use pectin, or jam sugar instead of plain white. I've seen a few recipes that use gelatin to set the jam, which would also work if you were particularly anti-lemon.

To sterilise jars, I wash them, place them in a large saucepan, removing any labels, cover with water and boil for 10 minutes. As you can see, I just used an old honey jar.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chicken, Ginger, and Water Chestnut Chinese Dumplings or Potstickers


Warning - this is a REALLY long post

It's been a busy month. Hair-tearing-outering busy. With this in mind I can only think I was in a state of utter delerium when I thought "I can be a Daring Baker! Sign me up!" Shortly thereafter, I decided I could be a Daring Cook, too, and joined.

A thrill of excitement ran through me when I saw I had access to the Daring Cooks private forums, and i'm SO excited to participate in my first challenge! I've been watching the amazing work from the monthly challenges with curiosity for a few months now, and I'm overwhelmingly eager to participate!

My first Daring Cooks challenge is hosted by Jen of Use Real Butter, and is Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers. I nearly choked when I saw the announcement. Dumplings? Me? Make? What?

I decided to get it done and out of the way, but I was pleasantly surprised with the result. While I'm so not a pro (not nearly!) the dumplings were tasty and actually ok! This is entirely to do with excellent instructions as provided by the fabulous Jen.

The filling is easy, it just requires a bit of chopping. The real challenge here is making the dumpling wrappers. So not easy. But worth it. On my first attempt I didn't read Jen's post properly (or look at the photos closely enough), and I was pleating both sides of the dumpling together. Not a huge issue, but it made the process a lot trickier.

So, here are my steps for Chicken, Ginger, and Water Chestnut Chinese Dumplings or Potstickers

Makes 20-30, depending on the size


For the filling:
250g Chicken Mince
3 cabbage, leaves chopped finely/minced
1/4 cup (125g) water chestnuts, finely chopped/minced
2-3 spring onions, minced
1-1.5 tbspn chopped/minced fresh ginger (to taste)
2 tbspn corn flour/corn starch
1 1/2 tbspn soy sauce
1 tbspn sesame oil
I also included some Chinese chives, but these may be hard to come by. They look like long grass, and have a slight garlicy aftertaste. I found them at the markets, but you may find them in Asian grocers. I included about a 1/4 cup of these, minced.

For the wrappers:
2 cups (250g) of plain flour (you're much better off weighing this if you can)
1/2 cup of water


To make the wrappers:
I initially made these in a food processor, but found it a lot easier by hand.

Placed the flour in a large bowl, and create a well in the middle. Pour the water into the well. Using a fork, or your hands, mix together itill combined, then knead until just smooth. It is quite a dry dough, so it won't be like bread. It will be quite firm. Don't overknead the dough. It doesn't have yeast to put air back into it!

Put your dough to the side and cover with a damp cloth while you make your filling (for about 15 minutes).

The dough - dry and smooth, and not at all sticky.

To make the filling:
Time to get your hands dirty! Combine all your filling ingredients in a bowl, and mix thoroughly. That was hard, wasn't it?

The filling - chopped up and mixed.

Okies' here's where it gets tricky.

Get your dough, and shape it into a "flattened dome". You're aiming for a flat circle with a consistent thickness of about 1 inch throughout. Next up, cut 1 inch wide strips. From these 1 inch strips, cut off 1 inch pieces. These will be your wrappers. Cut these off as you work, not all upfront, or they'll stick back together anyhows.

Take one of your pieces of dough, and after covering the rest up with your damp cloth, shape a ball from the dough. On a well floured surface, flatten the ball with your hand, and using a rolling pin, roll out into a very thin, flat circle. The shape is important. As round as possible. Not splatter shaped! The dumpling wrapper should be a little thicker in the centre, but around the edges you're aiming for about 1mm.

ready to fold
The dumpling wrapper: rolled-out and ready to fold

Place a tablespoon of your filling in the centre of the dumpling wrapper. Using your fingers/chopsticks/psychic powers, shape into an oval (no need to be too pedantic here: near enough is good enough). Now fold your dumpling wrapper in half over the filling and join the edges in the middle. You now want to pleat the edges of the side of the wrapper closest to you. This is a simple enough idea, but it is very fiddly, and kind of hard to explain. You basically want to create about 3 pleats on the right, and 3 on the left, of the side of the wrap facing you, then fold the sides of the ends together to seal. Jen has a fantastic, and well photographed post on pleating/folding the dumpling wrappers on her blog, and you should definitely read this.

Once you have assembled your dumplings, it's time to cook them! I steamed mine the first time round, and made Potstickers (fried dumplings) the 2nd time round.

The dumpling all wrapped up and ready to cook. Yum!

To steam:
Place you dumplings in a steamer basket lined with cabbage leaves, or well greased, and steam for 6 minutes, then serve. Voila!

To fry (potstickers):
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (not olive!) in a frying pan that you have a lid for, and add your dumplings, bottoms down. Fry until light brown on the bases, then, with lid in in hand, pour a 1/4 of a cup of water into the bottom of the pan all at once (please don't burn yourself!) and clamp the lid on immediately. Allow the dumplings to steam for about 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and serve.

I made a dipping sauce of 2 parts soy sauce, 1/2 part white vinegar, 1 part Shaosin Wine, a few drops of sesame oil, and a bit of fresh minced garlic, which was great, but hubby used sweet chilli sauce from the bottle. I laughed at him for a bit, but it really wasn't bad and complimented the flavours well, so each his (and her) own!

All up, these are pretty time consuming, so not a weekday dinner. The dumplings were fantastic, though, and would make a great weekend meal, so set aside a couple of hours and have fun! I made these a second time round I liked them so much!



Jen advises that once the dumplings are assembled you can actualy freeze them for a couple of months, and second time round I did this. They're a fantastic, and essentially healthy, food that make a good stand-by lunch and are really quick to cook. To freeze them, put them on a baking tray, making sure they're not touching. Once they're hard (so the dough is not sticky), take them off the tray, and put them in a container or ziplock bag and keep for up to 2 months! Easy!