It has been an absurdly busy couple of months, with extra markets, play performances, and end-of-season homesteading tasks. As things slow down just a bit here in the week before Thanksgiving, I’m presenting you some extra recipes, whether for a special dessert, breakfast pastry, or just plain good food to share.
Today, I’m talking about the frangipane tart, specifically one with a chocolate crust and jam or jelly topping.
Hey, you. Are you looking for something that’s not a pumpkin pie for your holiday dessert? Do you love almonds (or, more specifically, marzipan)? Do you have a bunch of fruit or fruit jam you’d like to incorporate into your dessert? And, most importantly, do you hate rolling out pie crust?
Enter the frangipane tart. It’s light (as in, lightweight), pleasantly chewy, and an excellent way to showcase seasonal fruit or jam. Or not – you can simply have the frangipane and be done with it.
First of all, what is frangipane? It’s an almond custard that you may have had in various pastries and tarts. (If you’ve had one of my Icelandic Almond Rolls, you’ve have frangipane – it’s the good stuff in the middle!) Frangipane a mixture of sweetened almond paste, egg, butter, and sugar that becomes light and (again) pleasantly chewy and creamy when baked into sweets.
So in turn, a frangipane tart is, well, a tart baked with frangipane, and often topped with fruit, such as pears, apples, cranberries, or whatever’s in season, and/or jelly or jam. Like any tart, it’s more of a project than say, cookies or a quickbread, but it’s no more work than a pumpkin pie or frosted cake. And it impresses the heck out of friends and family. Oh, and yourself. That’s important.
- Make and parbake a tart crust that you press, rather than roll out, into a tart pan.
- Mix frangipane ingredients and spread on top of crust. If using fruit, top the frangipane with fruit in a single layer. You can also wait until the end to add fresh fruit. Whee!
- Bake tart.
- Cool and top with jam, chocolate drizzle, etc.
You can make it as simple or complex, decorated or unadorned as you wish or have time for, and it’ll still be delightful. When you bake it with fruit, the almond custard bakes over and around the fruit, encasing it in nutty goodness. If you’re more into fresh fruit on your pastries, you can top the cooled tart instead – I recommend using soft fruit, such as berries, if you choose to go this route.
Ready to try something different? Let’s bake frangipane!
Frangipane Tart with Cocoa Crust
You can make the filling and/or tart dough in advance for a quicker assembly. Feel free to play with glazes, fruits, and other toppings - I’m a big fan of maypop and other tart jellies or fruits.
you will need:
- For the tart crust:
- 1 c all-purpose flour
- ¼ c cocoa
- ¼ c powdered sugar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ½ c cold butter, cut into tablespoons (1 stick)
- 1 egg yolk
- ice water For the frangipane filling:
- 1 c almond flour
- ½ c sugar
- 7 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp amaretto
- ½ tsp almond extract
- For the crust: In a large bowl or bowl of a food processor, combine flour, cocoa, powdered sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or pulsing on the food processor, cut cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir or pulse in the egg yolk until incorporated, then add 1 tbsp of ice water and stir or pulse, adding 1 tbsp of water at a time as necessary until the dough forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto a floured countertop and knead lightly until smooth and just combined. (It should not be sticky or soggy!).
- Press the dough into a greased tart pan, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before baking. At this point, you can also refrigerate the dough for future use – just press it into a flat disk, wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling it out and pressing it into a tart pan.
- Parbake the tart crust: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cover your tart with foil and add about 1 c pie weights (these can be ceramic or even dried beans!), and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove the pie weights and foil, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Set on a wire rack to cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the frangipane: combine all of the frangipane ingredients in a bowl or food processor, and mix or pulse throughouly until a soft paste forms (it should not be runny – if so, add a tablespoon or two of flour to get the right consistency).
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the frangipane over the cooled tart crust (it doesn’t have to be completely cooled, but it shouldn’t be hot). Bake the tart for 35-40 minutes until the frangipane is set and lightly browned. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Spread ½-1 cup of fruit preserves or jelly, if desired.