Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cumquats and Bakewell Tart

First of all, let me thank you all sincerely for the kind words of encouragement. I really appreciate it, and although I don't say it enough, please know that I am very grateful of all the support and readership I have received in the past year. I could not remember when I started blogging---perhaps my one year blog anniversary is long over, perhaps not, and even though to check is as easy as a mouse click, I could not be bothered.

I have never been the sentimental type, I think; and even though I reminisce a lot about past experiences, I tend to spend more of my time on thinking about the future. Speaking of which, in my excitement to announce my plans, I forgot to mention that I am not selling at the markets as yet. I am very grateful for all the expressions of interests, and I will keep all of you updated through this blog.

As I have only been baking to test recipes for the business this past month, I welcomed this the June Daring Bakers Challenge with wide open arms. Still, the anticipation of being able to make something different did not stop me from leaving it to the very last minute.

The Bakewell tart consists of a sweet shortcrust base, a jam/curd layer, and a frangipane filling. I've never made it before, and the shortcrust pastry is different from the sweet pastry base that I normally use for baking, thus I was curious on how it would turn out. I was very pleasantly surprised by how pliable and how easy to handle the raw dough was. Baked, it was arguably the best part of the Bakewell tart-- tender, crumbly and slightly savoury; beautiful even when unadorned. It is a recipe that I'm definitely keeping.

Since I have been buying kumquats by the truckloads this winter---so fascinated I am by their sweet skin and bitter flesh, and their versatility---I decided to use it to make a curd and confit to go on the Bakewell tart. I also decided to experiment a little with their presentation. Those who know me would know that I am not so good when it comes to plated desserts. So the best way to go about it is just to keep practicing until I get better.

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.

As you can find the recipe for the frangipane and the shortcrust pastry from Jasmine's and Annemarie's blogs, I am not going to include it here. I will, however, give you the recipes for the confit and the curd. Feel free to substitue any citrus fruits you can find.

Kumquat Curd
makes 180ml
from Christine Manfield's Desserts

3 large egg yolks
50g caster sugar
55g kumquat puree
63g unsalted butter

Wash kumquats and remove stalks. Puree, whole and unpeeled, in a blender. Strain. Whisk yolks and sugar until pale. Add puree, and whisk over a bain marie until thick. Add butter piece by piece, whicking to incorporate. Remove bowl from heat and store in a covered container until set and firm.

Confit Cumquats
adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller September 2008 issue

200g cumquats, washed and stalks removed
100g caster sugar
1 cinnamon bark
1 1/2 teaspoon anise

Prick cumquats with a fork, and combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil. Turn down heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until tender and transluscent. Cool, and store in the fridge in an airtight container.