Bren from Green Bay, WI (2017 Week 5: Pastries)




Green Bay, WI

Baking Challenge

Bakewell Tart

Have fun giving your creation a name and please describe your recipe.

To Think We Saw a Bakewell Tart on Mulberry Street (Thanks Dr. Seuss). The recipe that I used this week was from the "Greater Green Bay Cook Book" published by the Ladies Aid Society of the First Presbyterian Church in 1896. The recipe begins, "Line a soup plate (heavy ware) with a rich crust…" and that is the total description for the crust. It ends with, "Bake in a very slow oven…" Because I am baking in a wood stove in the 1905 Belgian Farmhouse at Heritage Hill State Park, a slow oven means less wood in the fire box than more. We also do not have a fluted tart pan so my tart was baked in an 8 inch round pan. We make do with what we have on the farm in 1905.

Tell us about your pastry dough and final texture after baking. Are you happy with it?

This recipe was less dough like and more batter like than I expected. My wood stove fire was a little too hot to start with, so the top of my tart baked a little too quickly, but after letting the oven slow a bit, I was able to bake it through without burning it! The modern take on the tart is to add frosting to the top, but in 1896, the recipe calls for sprinkling it with sugar. Frosting was not commonly used on rural Wisconsin farms in 1905. Though I loved the mulberries in the tart, I was not completely satisfied with the recipe. At the end of the day, when I shared it with my park coworkers, however, they were very complimentary on the results but, I think if I tried it again, I would make some changes.

Detail how you added a Wisconsin twist to your flavors or presentation.

The recipe I used calls for currants or red raspberries; however, we have two mulberry trees on the lane into the park that are laden with ripe berries, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bake with them. Their berry flavor was just perfect for this challenge. Also, I used eggs laid by our lovely hens that live on the farm at Heritage Hill.

How did you do?

It’s not pretty, but it’s edible.