Friday, 5 September 2014

Tarte aux [Poires] Frangipane

One of the first recipes that became a staple of mine was a Tarte aux Poires Frangipane, a buttery pastry with hot pears steamed in an almond cream filling. It looked great and tasted amazing.

I'd been given a French cookbook, and having skimmed the savouries I'd focussed in on the desserts. Some of the recipes seemed to be simply the French equivalence of dishes I already knew (Tart au Citron = Mum's sugarless Lemon Meringue, Tart aux pommes = Apple pie). This recipe however was different and enticing.
Almonds are one of the few nuts I enjoy eating, and I feel as though I'm one of the few people who actually likes marzipan.
So, if no one liked the recipe when I first trialled it, all the more for me.

Unfortunately, I was not so lucky.
It was liked and became a staple, with a variation of fruit depending on what I had floating around.
Usually it is Granny Smith apples, but I've made it with a jar of cherries, loquats and as an English variation, with jam instead of fruit (ultimately, this makes it a Bakewell Tart).

What I love about making this recipe is that it can basically all be made in a food processor.

Pâte Brisée (Shortcrust Pastry)

175g/1¼ C plain flour
2.5ml/½ tsp salt
5ml/1 tsp caster sugar (optional)
120g/½ C unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
45-120ml/3-8 tbsp iced water

Blitz the flour, salt, sugar and butter in the food processor (with the dough hook) until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can tell roughly when its done because there are no longer big lumps of butter bashing loudly against the side of the bowl.

Slowly add the water and slowly process until the dough forms one ball.
flatten the ball slightly and chill for as long as possible. The dough is easier to roll when it is chilled.
*I find I only need to add 1 tbsp of water, and need to add more flour later to easily roll the dough out.
Depending on what you're using the pastry for, you can flavour it accordingly. For savoury dough I sometimes add cheese and paprika whereas for sweet I add coconut or cinnamon.

Roll out the dough and line you tart pan. Blind bake it for about 20 minutes. As there aren't any rising agents in it, I often don't bother putting in the dried beans so that it is baked blind, but just throw the tin in the oven and let it go golden all over.
When 'blind baked' take it out of the oven and allow to cool.

Frangipane mixture

100g/¾ C almond meal (you're supposed to create your own from blanched almonds but I can't be bothered)
55g/¼ C caster sugar (or less)
70g/5 tbsp butter
1 egg

Without bothering to clean the food processor, throw the almond meal, sugar and butter in and blitz until it becomes a thick creamy paste.
Add the egg and blitz again until its a smooth homogeneous (slightly fluffy) paste.

Fill the pastry case with whatever fruit you want to use.
If using apples or pears, I never bother to poach them first as they steam and cook by themselves in the tart.

Spoon the Frangipane mixture on top and smooth with a wet knife. Be careful as the frangipane mixture may lift the fruit.

Bake at 190°C for 40-50 minutes.

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