If you've been watching the Great British Baking Show, then you've heard the term frangipane thrown around. At first reference I had NO idea what this substance was that kept getting incorporated into the contestants' pastry works of art. Marzipan kept getting confused with it in my brain, which apparently is not uncommon since it also incorporates almonds. So when I saw a recipe for Frangipane Tart while thumbing through Tartine's pastry book, I knew I had to bump it to the front of the baking list.
What is Frangipane and how do you use it?
Frangipane, aka almond cream, is a pastry cream used to fill all types of desserts from pies, to tarts, to cakes and other pastries. It's a mix of sugar, butter, eggs and almonds (usually blanched and ground). The result is a versatile filling that is delicious but not overly sweet.
How is Tartine's Method Different?
Tartine provides two different Frangipane recipes: their standard "Frangipane Cream" that incorporates pastry cream (which is what I'm reviewing here) and their "Frangipane Cream Variation" which is more akin to a traditional frangipane recipe. Both recipes have one major differences from other recipes that I've seen in that they both call for sliced natural almonds instead of ground blanched almonds. The natural almonds add color and texture to the cream. Their standard Frangipane Cream deviates even more from a traditional recipe by incorporated pastry cream, which makes for a "lighter, moister filing than the usual mixture." It's a less practical recipe for the home cook since you probably don't want to make an entire second recipe just to use as an ingredient, but it is the recipe that I've used for this post.
*note that the recipe linked to above uses their Frangipane Cream Variation, not their standard Frangipane Cream, so no need to make pastry cream.
There really is nothing to it. Cream butter and sugar, and incorporate the rest of the ingredients until it has come together. They do note that the mixture may have a "broken appearance" which they say is normal. I was thankful for that note because a broken mixture usually makes you think you did something wrong. Pour it in a pastry shell, top with sliced pears and get your bake on!
You finish off the tart by glazing with melted apricot glaze, lending a subtle sweetness and attractive sheen to the surface. I definitely wouldn't recommend skipping this step, as it truly does lend a more professional quality to the finish.
I did encounter a few sticking points while going through this recipe.
- The Frangipane Cream was said to make 3 cups of mixture, but it only yielded 2 cups for me—that's a pretty big discrepancy. However, the two cups filled my tart shell just fine. The quantity difference was an issue I had with their Pastry Cream as well when I made their eclairs, and necessitated making an entire second batch of pastry cream. I am hoping that this quantity unpredicatbility isn't something that reoccurs throughout the whole book. So if your making it at home and need 3 cups, do a 1.5x recipe just to be safe, and let me know how it goes!
- While the final bake turned out just fine, it puffed up a TON in the oven (see below). There aren't any kitchen notes in the recipe about this, so it's either normal, or something didn't go quite right. Either way it had me a little worried half way through my bake.