Baking Bakewell tart and home made jam
Cake ingredients fromthe local “grandes surfaces” (hypermarkets) travel who knows how far, but one key element of our Bakewell tart grows in what we know as the “garrigue“, the scrub land that surrounds and runs through the local vineyards.
The Bakewell’s distinctive, thin layer of jam starts with hand picked blackberries, or “mûres“.
In England we used to do our blackberry picking on long autumn mornings beside the canal.
We were stunned to find blackberries in the South of France ripe and ready to pick in August.
They’re so expensive in local supermarkets, we were amazed that only mad dogs and Englishmen showed any interest in this budget-busting bonanza. In a region of grape farmers, maybe blackberry picking is just too close to taking coal to Newcastle.
Home made jam featured in a lot of Jacqueline’s baking for the salon de thé and we also sold jars over the counter. The last jars of the 2013 vintage had gone that way, so for the next Bakewell tart we had to pick fresh fruit.
Home made blackberry jam starts as a kilo of free fruitThe next marathon bake session started over a hot pressure cooker of the family recipe of apple, blackberry and sugar.
In the absence of a flashy thermometer, Jacqueline applies the wrinkle test to a splash of jam on a plate fresh from the freezer.
If you push, and it wrinkles, it’s ready.
The sweet, sticky end result will please children of all ages. Make sure you have a responsible adult and Pyrex glassware to handle the hot lava fresh from the pan.
There’s a chance some of the jam will find a home elsewhere. Heating the glassware is an important part of the food hygiene process. The cooker has been baking all afternoon so there’s minimum extra impact on our carbon footprint (or electricity bill).
Jacqueline pours jam into her signature decorative jar. You may recognise the design input of Team Ikea.
We’ve struggled to find sensibly priced jam-making accessories in France. The wax discs that help prevent mould in the jar neck are from the Aladdin’s cave behind the jam-packed window display of Market Harborough’s own Frank Gilbert Housewares.
The finished jam is capped and the jars left to stand overnight. For the best possible seal, like paint tins, they’re left upside down.
To be honest, the jam wasn’t made with a Bakewell tart in mind.
The courgette chocolate cake and the orange and walnut carrot cake baked at the same time were supposed to meet all of our baked good needs for Friday and Saturday.
You can read about what happened on Friday in the previous blog entry. In the nicest possible way we had a problem. Despite the hesitant response to courgette cake our friends and regular customers now like and trust Jacqueline’s baking. By the time the shutters rolled down on the Salon de Thé, we had very little cake left.
Jacqueline’s plans for Friday afternoon and evening went out the window. Bassan needed more cake!
Experience tells us that if there’s a sure fire winner in Jacqueline’s baking arsenal it’s her giant wheel of Bakewell. Luckily there was pastry ready, and not all the jam was sealed inside narrow-neck Ikea spice jars.
The frangipane cake mix is next.
A decorative dusting of flaked almonds and the Bakewell tart goes into the oven.
And emerges a beautiful, golden, guaranteed crowd pleaser.
The first slices flew off the counter literally minutes after Tea Time’s shutters rolled up on Saturday morning. As expected the dozen slices were all gone well before our midday closing time.