Foodiva's Kitchen: Poetry Thursday #9: The Bakewell Tart That Wasn't

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Poetry Thursday #9: The Bakewell Tart That Wasn't

 Poetry Thursday #9: 
Beautiful dreamer, out on the sea,
Mermaids are chaunting the wild lorelie;
Over the streamlet vapors are borne,
Waiting to fade at the bright coming morn.
Extract of Beautiful Dreamer, Stephen Foster

Sometimes friendships begin in the unlikeliest of places. Like the bottom of the sea. No, I'm not alluding to the Mermaid Underwater Alliance nor to witty, talkative fish adorably nicked Nemo and Dory. I'm referring to diving buddies, mine in particular. When I decided to take up scuba diving a few years ago, I had just celebrated a milestone birthday. Not exactly an age to be taking up any sport of that (risky, foolhardy, wondrous) kind, but then one can't dictate when one is ever ready to do anything in this life - you just know when you've reached that point that you are, well, ready

The Great Underwater Alliance

On my first diving trip out to sea, I was paired with a guy who I wasn't exactly enamored with. Worse, he was a colleague, and even worse than worse, he was a techie. The department I was in was creative, funky, colorful and LOUD, while the tech people just seemed stealth-like, reserved and well, staid. I hadn't gotten along very well with them. Other than the fact that I had nothing in common with anyone on the technical team, they often ignored and sniggered at my trouble-shooting pleas! So seeing that my first dive buddy, whose task was to look out for my well-being while we were underwater (and vice-versa), was from the 'nemesis' camp, it gave me a baaaad, sinking feeling. If he'd wanted revenge, that was the time. I might as well have drowned myself there and then. And he was probably thinking the very same thing.

But oh, how wrong I was! Who I discovered that day was a kind, responsible and yes, even funny guy who checked all my diving equipment thoroughly before each dive and made sure my oxygen levels were always adequate (we funky, creative ones can get carried away with the fascinating view down there in the sea, you know what I mean?). As I result, I felt safe and from then on, the techie and I became more than just dive buddies. We became friends. No longer were my working days filled with frustration whenever something went technologically amiss.

So how does this story segue into bakewell tart? I'm not quite sure how it does, and if it does at all. I guess what I'm trying to say is that stereotyping people and things certainly did not help me grow as a human being and whenever I've done it, it often surprises me. Some people/things are just not whom/what they seem. Like this bakewell tart, for instance. As a young adult, I had lived in the United Kingdom for close to ten years and in all that time, never once did a bakewell tart pass through my lips. The people of Derbyshire, where this dessert originates, will probably kill me for saying this, but the tart looked to my mind so sickly sweet and unappealing that I never desired it.

Until one day recently, of course, when a 'Best of British' cooking show on television had me enraptured with its chef's demonstration of a bakewell tart in the making. Oh dear, it hadn't looked sickly sweet at all, in fact, it looked rather appetizing! Since I've stereotyped bakewell tart so rigidly all these years, I wanted to set things right and taste one that I made myself. The components of this tart seemed easy enough - sweet shortcrust pastry lined with delicious jam, and topped with almond sponge or frangipane. My concessions were to use a rose petal and orange jam, with lots of sinful chocolate hidden underneath the frangipane layer! 


I used this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen, just replacing the jam layer with:
  • 1 cup rose petal jelly
  • 2 oranges, peeled and sliced
  • 200g dark chocolate, melted 
Boil, then simmer the rose petal jelly with the oranges for about 15 minutes until syrupy. Sieve to remove the chewy bits of orange. Spread the orange-rose jam on the base of the crust, then pour in the chocolate.

Oh lordy!

For the crust, I simply kneaded in the zest of 1 orange to add more flavor. If you do not chill the frangipane mixture for at least 2 hours (like I clearly didn't, below), the frangipane will mix into the chocolate layer slightly when you spread it. I didn't mind because I quite liked the marbly chocolate-almond effect. 

Orange-Rose-Chocolate Bakewell Tart.

This may be total blasphemy of a bakewell tart, but it's a path worth treading. I will never view this best-of-British tart in quite the same way again! 

Bake well, folks.


Victoria said...

I think this looks awesome! I've never had a bakewell tart and never really knew much about it, but I love your version with the added chocolate :) I think everything's better with chocolate, haha.

Unknown said...

Victoria! Everything is definitely better with chocolate, I concur with you COMPLETELY there! How about a bakewell tart with purple sweet potato jam? Haha... the obsession continues!

Carolyn said...

I think it's gorgeous, even if it's not the typical bakewell tart. I've actually never had bakewell tart, although the one on smitten kitchen has caught my eye. It's a toss up...yours, or original? Mmmm, Yours, because it has chocolate!

Unknown said...

Carolyn, you chose mine over Deb's of SK? Wow, such an honor! Make this with diabetic chocolate, it'll be just as good if not better. Mine didn't last an hour after it came out of the oven. ;-)

whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

I've never had a bakewell tart, but I think yours looks perfect! I'd want to try it. I love the story in the beginning too, I try and never judge a book by it's cover or a tart by it's name, you just have to give them a try!

Unknown said...

Gina, that's so perfectly said and I agree, you'll never know until you try it! The intro narrative is a bit odd in relation to this British dish (diving and tart??), but I've been wanting to tell that story for a while... ;-)

art is in the kitchen said...

Rose petal jelly is new to me but I've got to find it to make this delectable tart. I just wonder if anything comes close to it as substitute. Anyway, you compose your pictures so well, they really come out very nicely.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Arthur. How about using rosewater with a jam? Maybe marmalade if you want the orange flavor as well. It was the first time I came across rose petal jelly and I decided to make this tart with it because nobody in the house wanted to eat it on it's own! Too floral, maybe... Haha.

Angie's Recipes said...

The tart looks sensational! You know which picture I love the most? That chocolate-pouring one...that makes me scream out loud!
And you even have one professional orange skin peeling gadget!

I wish you a chocolatey and lovely weekend!

Unknown said...

Angie, melting chocolate always makes me scream in ecstasy too! ;-) I'm sure my blog has loads of pictures of chocolate being poured like this, I just can't help it! Thanks for dropping by.

Cooking Gallery said...

Your're such a great baker, this looks awesome!

Chef Dennis Littley said...

what ever that tart might be, I can tell you its amazing and delicious!! Wow, what an incredible creation, you really did a great job with this beautiful tart, I just wish I could taste it!

Unknown said...

CG and Chef Dennis, your wonderful comments just made my day! Thanks a whole bunch ;-).

Beth said...

This looks amazing, and I have bookmarked it. And don't you love it when somebody turns out to be way better than you expected?

Unknown said...

Yes Beth, I absolutely do!

Roxan said...

I've never heard of a bakewell tart before, but it looks delicious! I love that little tool that you use to get the orange zest curls. What's it called? I need to keep my eye out for one of those.

Also, awesome of you to take up scuba diving. I only went once, and it was jsut the "discovery" course where I never went below 20 feet. Even that was pretty scary... It wasn't the breating part that scared me as much as I was afraid of my mask falling off. I kept smooshing them onto my face, so for the rest of the day i had a mask indentation on my face!

Unknown said...

Hiya Roxan! That tool you mentioned is a lemon zester and you can get it on Amazon, just search for this: J.A. Henckels Twin Cuisine Lemon Zester.

As for the mask indentation, that's the 'ugly' part of diving, everybody seems to get it. The mask has to fitted rather tightly onto your face to prevent salty seawater from entering and blurring your vision. But there's a technique for blowing all the water out of your mask, it's just a bit nervewrecking when you have to do it at the bottom of the ocean floor somewhere... haha! Diving is lovely though, I could live down there as a mermaid even if I have to come back up on land voiceless ;-).

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