I have never been a lover of pastry; I don't like eating it, and I certainly don't like making/baking it.

Don't get me wrong, I know this is technically cheating (get it?), but if it's good enough for Mary Berry herself, I think I can get away with it on this occasion. I. Bought. Ready. Rolled. Pastry, and I used it for this week's challenge, because I don't have the time to make pastry properly most of the time, let alone this week, which has been hectic.

WEEK 5: Pastry Week


A first, for me. Both in that this is the first time I've ever attempted a Bakewell Tart, and in that this is the first Technical Challenge I've attempted since starting this bake along.

The recipe I used was Mary's Bakewell Tart, from the BBC Food website, and although my finished product looks somewhat different to Mary's, I actually had a lot of fun making (and eating!) it. I wonder whether it was a simplified version of this recipe that the contestants actually received! It was definitely a simplified version of the recipe that I adopted, using shop bought pastry, and shop bought jam... you'll have to forgive me.

As you can see from the photographs, the pastry case that I produced is somewhat rustic - not my preferred style, but you can definitely tell it's homemade at least. And, I somehow managed to avoid a soggy bottom! Next time I bake any sort of pastry tart, I think there is a definite need to trim the edges, although I'm not sure if that's the done thing. Does anyone actually know?

Anyway, pastry done. Time to make the filling! Now I love almonds, so making the filling was like a dream to me, particularly when it came to baking it; the entire kitchen smelled absolutely incredible. I would LOVE a candle that smells like this.

Not wanting to ramble on for too long, I'm going to skip straight to the icing. I actually found I needed to add an additional tablespoon of water to the icing mix, as it wasn't remotely spreadable. I could even have added more I think, so that's something to bear in mind if you decide to have a go yourself.

I'm bitterly disappointed with the colour of the pink icing - clearly I still haven't learned that icing dries lighter than it looks in the piping bag. Next time, I'll definitely be adding more colour, if I remember to be brave, that is. I do still love the way it looks though, it's amazing how much a cocktail stick can change the appearance of some icing.

As you can see from the cross-section, the frangipane was undercooked, but obviously I didn't know this until I cut into the tart. I did actually insert skewers into the frangipane after I'd cooked it, and they came out clean, but clearly it was not properly cooked. You live and you learn. I actually put the tart back into the oven with the icing on, for about 10 minutes after, and that helped, a little. I didn't want to leave it in for too long as I was worried about the icing melting and ruining the entire thing. Undercooked frangipane isn't poisonous, is it? 

Aside from being undercooked, I'm pretty pleased with this one. Harvey loves pastry, but I can't imagine he'll be that keen, so it's likely to be distributed amongst work colleagues and other friends I think. I'd love to eat it all, but I don' have that much of a sweet tooth. 

Verdict? I am a converted Bakewell Tart lover. Will I start making my own pastry from now on? Never.

Thank you for reading!

Laura xx


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