Sunday, 8 July 2012

Lil Ms Squirrel's Lemon Amaretto Bakewell

My current boss is about to move on up the ladder towards the top of what is affectionately known as The Ivory Tower and so as a final farewell, I decided to make him a Bakewell tart.  He's long been a fan of my Bakewells, ever since we had a bake sale at work years ago and he said he couldn't possibly partake as it was all going to be chocolate and he'd given it up for Lent.  I baked a Bakewell so he had to put his hand in his pocket (he would've done so anyway!) and he declared it to be the best Bakewell he'd ever eaten.

Since then, when anyone needs him to do something, there's a bit of a standing joke that I need to make a Bakewell for him first to distract him from the awkward question that's about to be asked.  So it seemed appropriate to make one to celebrate his promotion.

Today's new toddler skill - blind baking a pastry case
Of course, Miss A hasn't baked since we were on holiday so I had to let her help me out.  Therefore, it's by no means the most photogenic Bakewell ever, but for a two year old, she's not done too bad a job of decorating the top.  The pastry is a bit squiffy - I'll take the blame for that.  More haste and less speed needed.  I used ready-bought pastry and failed to notice that Ocado only sell frozen pastry.  When the Ocado man turned up at 5pm with my delivery, I had to delay proceedings for an hour while the pastry defrosted.  But we got there in the end.

On a slight side note about Miss A, I rarely get the opportunity to drop her off at or pick her up from nursery as she only does 9am - 4pm.  But recently,  I went to the nursery Jubilee party.  Her key worker approached me and asked for a word - the phrase that strikes fear into the heart of every parent.

In the split second between the request and the story, I panicked that she was behind in her learning or she'd been doing something naughty that toddlers do (biting, pinching etc) but no, my delightful little two-year-old has been in the home corner teaching all the other two year olds how to bake.  She's stands there with some authority explaining how to correctly attempt to crack the rubber eggs, that you need to cream the butter and sugar first and that it needs to be soft.  That you weigh the flour out carefully with a spoon and then it goes into a tin and into the oven but you have to ask Mummy or one of the assorted pets to do it as the oven is too hot for children to touch.  Such a proud mummy moment. I now expect that tomorrow, all the children in the Ocean room will know how to blind bake a pastry case :o)

Ooops, there's a crack in the pastry
Anyway, bake to the bake.  So I replaced the jam with lemon curd - a good way to use up all the egg yolks getting left over from  the egg-white omelette extravaganza - and Disarronno into the sponge and topped it with Amaretti biscuits.  I had intended to crush them and sprinkle them on, but my little helper insisted that we placed them on the top as they were.  I'm worried they'll be too hard to cut, but we'll see tomorrow afternoon - if Leaving Boss decides to share it with the team that is!

As for Incoming Boss, well I know him pretty well.  And I'm well aware of his culinary peccadilloes.  He's already tried most of the cakes on this blog that have been earmarked for the office and has been complimentary about all of them.  Even Nigella's Bacon Brownies - and he's not a brownie fan.  I hope he didn't take the job just so he could have special cakes made for him!

The recipe I adapted for this came from my mum and I blogged about it here.  This is the recipe for my twist on the original.

  • 250g qty shortcrust pastry
  • 125g softened butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs (rough weight 125g)
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1tbsp Disaronno Amaretto or 1/2 tsp almond essence
  • 2t bsp milk
  • half a jar of lemon curd
  • Beautifully decorated, two-year-old-stylee
  • 8-10 amaretti biscuits, crushed

  • Essential equipment - 9" loose bottomed flan tin

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4
  2. Roll the pastry to 5mm thick and large enough to cover the base and sides of your flan tin.
  3. Line the tin with the pastry, prick the base over with a fork, add a circle of parchment weighed down with baking beans and bake for 25 mins.
  4. Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding 1tbsp of the flour with each addition to prevent curdling.
  6. Add in the Disaronno Amaretto or almond essence then beat in the almonds and flour and 2tbsp of milk.
  7. Remove the baking beans and parchment and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the pastry case from the oven, cover the base with the curd and then top with the sponge mixture.
  9. Sprinkle the sponge with the crushed amaretti biscuits.
  10. Change the oven temp to 190c/170 fan/gas 5 bake until golden and springy to the touch - approx 25 minutes.
  11. Leave to cool in the tin until completely cold then transfer to the serving dish.

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