Frangipane Tart With Apple
Frangipane always reminds me of my grandmother. On a rare occasion she'd buy the glorious (and ridiculously pricey) frangipane tart from the long since closed Belgian bakery near her house and we'd partake of a slice of almondy goodness after sunday dinner. This is the dessert that inspired my life long love of almonds. Even now after making my first attempt at a similar cake the first bite transported me back to my grandparents' tiny kitchen. She once told me that it reminded her of a cake her parents would buy from a continental bakery back in her youth in England. I will always thank her memory for three things above all others... instilling in me a love of the theatre, british television and various european pastries I never got at home. This is probably my favorite of the latter.
This is a fairly dense cake, but if you make it right the buttery shortbread crust compensates a bit for the rich almond frangipane. It's just as good without the apples if that's your thing, though you can substitute pears as well (though I'd poach them properly myself.) I used the raspberry jam because that was the signature of my remembered childhood dessert but you could easily have matching jam and fruit or no jam at all. You can also make the frangipane with hazelnut or pistachio apparently but I've never tried.
Lastly I ran into a few problems at the end which meant the end product didn't look quite as glorious as I planned, but if you follow my tips yours should look fantastic.
- 1/2 cup Icing Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 Cup and 1 tbsp of butter (ice cold)
- You can make a butter inukshuk like me!
- 2-3 reasonably large apples (consisent size is good if you want it to be decorative)
- some butter (I used leftovers from the crust)
- a bit of cinnamon
- brown sugar
- pinch of salt
(got this recipe off the internet, I forget where though)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup almond meal (almond flour... ground almonds)
- 6 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp regular flour
- 1 large egg and an extra egg white
- 1 tsp of flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp rum, calvados or amaretto
- Raspberry Jam
- Get your butter ready, place the crust butter deep in the fridge to get it nice and cold and make sure the frangipane butter isn't in the fridge so it's approaching room temp by the time you make it.
It's important to remember with a shortbread style crust that the more you handle it the less light and buttery the end product will turn out.
- Chop your cold butter into tiny chunks.
- Process your flour and salt with a pulse in the food processor. Add the icing sugar and pulse again a few times.
- add your butter and pulse it until the butter is well chopped.
- slowly pulse in your egg yolk into the dough starts to bind (don't overdo it, see above)
- if it's still not binding add a bit more butter and pulse.
- Melt a bit of your extra butter and using a pastry brush coat your tart pant nicely but not too thickly.
- Press the crust into the pan using the minimum of hand work necessary (don't compress it too firmly.)
- Make sure you have a nice thick edge then gently pierce the crust with a fork in various places then put the whole tart shell in the freezer for about 20 minutes
- Cover the crust with foil and bake at 375F for around 30 minutes. Keep a close eye after 20 minutes or so and don't let it get more than golden on the crust (you'll be baking it more later)
- Once done pull it out and let it cool while you make the frangipane
- Lower your oven to 350F
- Hopefully you've washed your food processor like a good chef and have it ready. Cream your butter and sugar together.
- Pulse in the almonds then add the cornstarch, then flour.
- Add the eggs and get everything creamy smooth before you add the booze and vanilla.
- Spread the crust with a layer of the raspberry jam (optional)
- Pour your frangipane over the jam and it should spread to fill the pan
- Peel and slice your apples thinly in fairly consistent manner for decorative effect...
- Brown your butter in a good saucepan then mix in some brown sugar, the cinnamon etc...
- Coat and gently cook your apples in batches then place them aside. I was in a bit of a rush on this one and didn't let as much butter drip off as a I should have. Oops.
- Arrange your apples around the edge of your tart, or cover the whole surface as your tastes dictate. Note that you should press the wider edge of your apple down into the frangipane to make sure they don't sink after baking (like mine did a bit)
- Throw it back in the oven at 350F until the frangipane is firm and golden brown
- As you can see my apples were still a bit too wet and as a result bled a bit into the frangipane. Lesson learned for next time.
- Excellent alone or with a dollop of ice cream
- Image below wasn't the best but I forgot my camera for christmas day :( Next time I make it I'll try to remember to repost a few images.