Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Stone Fruit Frangipane Tart


stone fruit // frangipane tart

It's been a really long time before I baked anything besides a mug cake. (I have become really good at mug cakes.) But after binge watching all available seasons of the Great British Bake Off and now moving on to Masterclass, it's about time I dusted off the old baking pans (actually, I didn't have a tart pan and had to go buy this one).

Mother's Day was as good an excuse as any to come out of baking retirement and go right for a multi-step recipe that requires a free afternoon. Yet, aside from needing to pause, chill, and wait between making the pie crust, frangipane filling, and poached stone fruits, this recipe isn't nearly as difficult as it is time consuming. If you have the time, it is well worth it.

The basic recipe is a frangipane tart, which is some sort of magical combination of an almond cake and eggy custard. Once you learn the crust and frangipane filling, you can tinker with the fruit to make any delicious combination you want. This original recipe called for both apricot filling and fresh apricots on top, but I swapped them for peaches due to availability on my first go. I then baked it again a week later using a combination of apricots and berries. Any stone fruit (peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums...) would taste great with the almond and apricot filling.

The only equipment you absolutely need to make this tart is a 11-12" tart pan with removable bottom. A food processor is helpful, but my cheap little ninja chopper worked just fine for both the tart crust and filling. Either can be done by hand with minimal muscle. I will say, however, that I have become a big fan of using a little kitchen scale for baking (especially since the original recipe is from the BBC). So much less measuring and washing! What took me so long?

This is definitely an impressive tart to look at, a real reward for brushing up on some basic baking skills.



pastry crust:
(for an 11" tart pan with removable bottom)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 7 tbsp butter
  • 3 1/2 tbsp caster sugar (although granulated will work)
  • 1 egg

frangipane filling:
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar (recommended over granulated)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 7 oz apricot jam
stone fruit topping:
  • 5-10 ripe stone fruit (depending on if you want to cover the entire surface of the tart)
  • 4 tbsp apricot jam
  • 4 eggs
  • flaked almonds
  • fresh berries (optional)

process:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. For the pastry: in a food processor (or by hand) mix the butter and flour just until a breadcrumb consistency forms. Blend in the sugar, then the egg with a tablespoon of water. Mix until crust just comes together (you can work it a bit by hand to bring together any lose flour). Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for 20 minutes.
  3. While the pastry dough chills, prep the peaches/apricots: For peaches: Drop them into a large pot of boiling water for 10 seconds to poach them briefly. Submerge in a ice water bath, then easily peel the skins. Halve and pit each (try to keep the halves as complete and pretty as possible). If using apricots, no need to peel, so this first poaching can be skipped. Just halve and pit. In a smaller pan, bring 1/4 sugar and 1/2 cup water just to a boil. Remove from heat and add the peach halves. Set aside and allow peaches to poach.
  4. Once pastry dough is chilled, roll it out on a floured surface until just large enough for your tart pan. Slip the removable bottom of the pan beneath the pastry, folding it in and easily dropping it into the tin. Press against all sides and trim off the edges. Don't worry about small breaks, just use the extra pastry to patch them. Prick the bottom evenly with a fork, and chill again for 10 minutes.
  5. Line the pastry with parchment and fill with uncooked rice/dried beans/lentils/ceramic baking beans. Blind bake the crust for about 15 minutes, or until edges are pale brown. Remove parchment and filler and bake for a few more minutes until fully cooked and golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  6. Make the frangipane filling: Cream the butter and sugar in a food processor until smooth. Add the eggs, blend well, then add the almond flour and extract.
  7. To fill crust: spread a thin layer of apricot jam across the bottom of the baked pastry crust (make sure to leave 4 tablespoons for the topping). Add spoonfuls of frangipane to the top, then smooth the surface. Bake 30-40 minutes until filling is fully set and dark golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool almost to room temperature.
  8. Absorbing any excess syrup first, arrange the peach halves or apricots on top of the tart. Gently warm the remaining 4 tablespoons of apricot jam to brush over the surface (pressing it through a sieve first for the cleanest look). Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

pastry (1):
in a food processor (or by hand) mix the butter and flour just until a breadcrumb consistency forms. Blend in the sugar, then the egg with a tablespoon of water. Mix until crust just comes together (you can work it a bit by hand to bring together any lose flour). Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for 20 minutes.
stone fruit topping:
For peaches, or any fruit that needs to be peeled, drop them into a large pot of boiling water for 10 seconds to poach them briefly. Submerge in a ice water bath, then easily peel the skins. Halve and pit each (try to keep the halves as complete and pretty as possible). If using apricots, nectarines, or plums, no need to peel, so this first poaching can be skipped. Just halve and pit. In a smaller pan, bring 1/4 sugar and 1/2 cup water just to a boil. Remove from heat and add the peach halves. Set aside and allow peaches to poach.

pastry (2):
Once pastry dough is chilled, roll it out on a floured surface until just large enough for your tart pan. Slip the removable bottom of the pan beneath the pastry, folding it in and easily dropping it into the tin. Press against all sides and trim off the edges. Don't worry about small breaks, just use the extra pastry to patch them. Prick the bottom evenly with a fork, and chill again for 10 minutes.
blind bake:
Line the pastry with parchment and fill with uncooked rice/dried beans/lentils/ceramic baking beans. Blind bake the crust for about 15 minutes, or until edges are pale brown. Remove parchment and filler and bake for a few more minutes until fully cooked and golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
frangipane filling:
Make the frangipane filling: Cream the butter and sugar in a food processor until smooth.
Add the eggs, blend well, then add the almond flour and extract.

fill pastry:
Spread a thin layer of apricot jam across the bottom of the baked pastry crust (make sure to leave 4 tablespoons for the topping). Add spoonfuls of frangipane to the top, then smooth the surface. Bake 30-40 minutes until filling is fully set and dark golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool almost to room temperature.
finish:
Absorbing any excess syrup first, arrange the stone fruit on top of the tart, either in halves or slices. Add any additional fruit, like fresh berries. Gently warm the remaining 4 tablespoons of apricot jam to brush over the surface (pressing it through a sieve first for the cleanest look). Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

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