One of the most memorable desserts I’ve had in my recent pastry binge in Hong Kong was none other than a frangipane fruit tart. Baked with dried fruits in fragrant almond cream and topped with pastry cream, chantilly cream, and summer’s freshest berries, the simple dessert won over many other haute desserts I’ve sampled. I was eager to recreate it for my family and friends when I returned.
The beauty of a frangipane tart is that you don’t have to bake the crust blind and fiddle with baking weights and parchment paper, which is especially troublesome if you want to make smaller tarts for gifts as I did. As I was eager to break out all the tart rings I’ve bought in Paris (I’ve always found un-fluted tarts to look more elegant), the following recipe may yield differing amounts. Mine yielded twelve 6cm tarts, one 14cm tart, and one 18cm tart, with a bit of tart dough and almond frangipane left over. While the recipe is fairly simple, there’s a lot of resting time needed in between. I would suggest making the pâte sucrée and almond cream the night before. The pastry cream measurements below account for both the cream needed to decorate the top of the tart, and the amount needed to make frangipane, so be careful not to mix all of your pastry cream together with the almond cream.
I’ve taken the pre-slicing concept for the bigger tart from the bakery I’ve first had it at, as it would be less messy when splitting. And hey, there would be no fighting over which piece has more fruit if they’re equally decorated.
150g Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
100g Powdered Sugar
30g Almond Flour
1 Egg (room temperature)
250g All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Vanilla Paste
500g Whole Milk
100g Egg Yolks (about five, since one yolk weighs 18-22g)
1/2 Vanilla Bean
25g Cake Flour
100g Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
100g Eggs (room temperature)
100g Powdered Sugar
100g Almond Flour
Dried Cranberries (some)
50g syrup 30ºB (To make this syrup, simply boil sugar and water together in 1.3:1 ratio and let cool. Ex: 130g sugar to 100g water)
30g raspberry liqueur
10:1 ratio for heavy cream to sugar
Fresh fruit of your choice (Ex. strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
- Put whole milk, half of the sugar, and a split vanilla bean into a pan and heat. In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks and add in the rest of the sugar.
- Add in the pre-sifted cake flour/cornstarch to the egg yolks and gently mix. Over-whisking will form gluten.
- Boil the milk, and take away the vanilla pod.
- While whisking the egg yolks quickly, pour in 75% of the boiling milk. Return the mixture to the pot and heat on medium fire. Whisk continually until the cream thickens.
- Transfer finished cream to another bowl at once and let it cool.
- In a food processor, lightly cream the butter until fluffy on high speed (10-15 seconds).
- Add in the eggs gradually and mix on the lowest speed. Be sure not to overmix.
- Add in almond powder, and process for about 10 seconds. The mixture should be smooth and silky.
- Rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour before using.
- Mix the pastry cream and almond cream together in 1:2 ratio. For example, you would mix 150g of pastry cream and 300g of almond cream together. Be sure not to use up all your pastry cream, as you need some to decorate the top of the tarts.
- Cream the butter until soft and smooth with a paddle attachment.
- Mix in the powdered sugar, almond flour, and the vanilla bean paste.
- Beat in the egg and mix until incorporated. The mixtures should have the consistency of wet sand.
- With the paddle attachment, mix in the flour and salt until just incorporated.
- Pound the dough into a thick, flat disc and wrap with cling wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
- Break off pieces of the dough large enough to cover your tart molds. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough with a rolling pin to a 3-4mm thickness (you can eyeball this).
- Line the rings with the dough, and be sure to press the dough tightly against the ring, because it’s bottomless. Lightly flour the bottom. If you’re using tart molds with bottoms (esp fluted ones), be sure to press tightly against each crevice. With a fork, lightly poke the bottom all over.
- Stick your molds back into the refrigerator for at least an hour to let the dough relax.
- Fill your tarts with a thin layer of frangipane. Sprinkle some dried cranberries on top, and pipe with more frangipane until 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 170ºC (approx 335ºF) on the upper 3rd rack for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Bigger tarts will take longer to bake, so be sure to check from time to time after the 20 min mark.
- Carefully remove the tarts and let cool on a cookie rack.
- Simply combine the cooled off syrup 30ºB with the liqueur.
- Brush a thin layer of simple syrup on the top of the tart. For smaller tarts, pipe a small ball of pastry cream in the middle. Cut the strawberries in halves (or thirds depending on how big), brush on clear glaze, and stick the slices firmly against the pastry cream. With a star tip, pipe chantilly cream in between the strawberries, and a small spiral on top. Garnish with slices of strawberries and raspberries.
- Brush a thin layer of simple syrup on the top of the tart. For the big tart, pipe pastry cream in spirals starting from the outside. Be sure not to pipe all the way to the edge. Smooth over with a thin layer of chantilly cream before assembling. You can choose to divide the tart at this stage into equal slices before decorating, or decorate as is. Brush the fruit with clear glaze, and garnish with chantilly cream.