Have you ever heard of frangipane? It's AMAZING. I love the stuff, and because it's not a common thing over here in the States, I can never get enough of it. For those of you not in the know, frangipane is a creamy mixture made from mixing almond paste with flour, sugar, butter, and all that good stuff.
The first time I tried it was in France, where it's a popular filling for the "galette des rois," or king cake, a traditional dessert eaten in January to celebrate the Epiphany. There's always a little figurine, or fève, hidden in one of the slices; whoever finds it becomes king or queen for the day.
This lovely tart does not include a fève, nor does it make you queen for a day, but eating it definitely makes you one happy camper! It looks complex, but it surprisingly easy to recreate in your own kitchen. If you don't believe me, watch the video:
See? It's so simple! The video even includes techniques for achieving that gorgeous layered pear design.
Fruit-Topped Frangipane Tart
Prep Time: 30 min. Chill Time: 25-30 min. Bake Time: 40-55 min.
Yields one 9, 10, or 11-inch tart. Difficulty: Easy
Recipe by Truffles and Trends
All you need to make this recipe is a shallow tart pan, like the one shown, an electric mixer, a mixing bowl, and a rolling pin.
2 3/4 cups flour (all purpose or cake/pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 sticks (8 oz.) butter, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Almond Cream (Frangipane):
8 oz. almond paste
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick (4 oz.) butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 canned or poached pear halves (about 1 1/2 cans)
1 container (6-8 oz.) blueberries
Apricot jam/preserves + a few teaspoons of water
1. Make the crust: In a food processor or large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse/stir. Add in the cubed butter and pulse or crumble with hands until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add in the vanilla extract and eggs. Mix and knead till you form a dough. Wrap dough in plastic, flatten, and freeze for 25-30 minutes, until it's cold and hardened. Grease a 9, 10, or 11 " tart pan (best if it has a removable bottom) and set aside. The smaller the pan, the more dough you will have left over (you can use the extra dough to make tartlets).
2. Form the tart base: Unwrap dough and work it with your hands to soften it slightly. Flour your surface and the top of the dough. Roll out dough gently with a rolling pin to a bit less than a 1/4 " thickness, flouring as necessary. Roll dough onto rolling pin and unroll into the tart pan. Lift up the excess dough/overhang while pressing the dough into the bottom and sides of the tart pan so you don't stretch out the dough. Roll your rolling pin over the pan to cut off the hanging dough. Refrigerate the crust while you make the filling.
3. Make almond cream (frangipane): Cream the almond paste and sugar in a machine with a paddle attachment, or with an electric mixer. Add in the butter a little at a time, and cream until incorporated and you have a minimal amount of almond paste chunks left. It's okay if you still have a few chunks. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add in the flour and mix. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy and light.
4. Assemble the tart: Remove the crust from the fridge and spread the almond filling into the pan evenly. Place back into fridge. Preheat oven to 375°F. For the pears, slice each half thinly, scoop it onto your knife, and spread the slices to fan them. Place into tart, with the wider part touching the edge of the pan. Your tart will probably need 7 pear fans. Fill the empty spaces with blueberries. Or, if you prefer to use different fruits, you can use any kind you like. Try doing all blueberries, all raspberries, or sliced canned apricots.
5. Bake: Bake the tart for 40-55 minutes, till golden brown. Brush fruit with glaze after the tart is cooled slightly. To make the glaze, place the apricot jam and water in the microwave or in a small pot and stir till warm and runny. Serve and enjoy!