Confession. I’ve made this frangipane tart four times in the last ten days. I love it that much.
You see, while I knew exactly what I wanted to cook for Christmas dinner, I came up blank when I was planning dessert. I wasn’t in the mood for chocolate, ice cream was out of the question without my machine and I had my fill of puddings and cakes. But to not have dessert to cap off the night? Unthinkable.
So in between slow roasting a cider pork, I threw this together on a whim with what I had in my kitchen. I used my favourite buttery pastry and wrangled it into a tart tin (damn my hot kitchen was not pastry friendly!). Then I whipped up a simple almond frangipane fragranced with Grand Marnier and vanilla to fill the tart with.
I was meant to serve it with fresh nectarines and peaches but they weren’t ripe or sweet enough so to bring out its natural flavour, I glazed them up with a light vanilla and honey syrup and served it on top of the tart. Dessert was obliterated within minutes.
The Captain, who has the biggest aversion to ‘fake’ almond flavours was a little hesitant at the thought of frangipane but he was converted in no time. The buttery nuttiness of the frangipane just works brilliantly with the sweet shortbread-like pastry and the vanilla honey tinged stone fruit. If there was ever a perfect summer tart, this would be mine.
Proof that sometimes, impulse and spontaneity is a good thing.
- 125g plain flour
- 50g icing sugar
- pinch of salt
- 100g butter, cold and chopped
- 1 egg yolk
- In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt and give it a quick whirl to mix. Add chopped cubes of cold butter and process until it roughly resembles breadcrumbs. Add the yolks and process until the dough comes together.
- Pat dough together into a round disk and wrap well in clingfilm (you might need a little sprinkle of flour if dough gets too soft or warm). Refrigerate until ready to use or until well chilled.
- Lightly grease a 20cm loose-bottomed fluted tart tin. Roll pastry between two sheets of non-stick baking paper to a circle roughly 25-26cm in diameter and about 3mm thick.
- Wrap dough around the rolling pin removing the baking paper from the bottom as you do so. Line the tin and tuck in the pastry into the sides and bottom. Remove the top sheet and run the rolling pin over the top of the tin to cut off the excess.
- Use excess dough to patch up any holes or flaws. If the dough gets too warm and soft, refrigerate for 5-10 minutes to firm up.
- Chill pastry for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Scrunch up a sheet of baking paper and lay on top of the tart shell. Fill with ceramic pie weights and blind bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked, lightly golden and the bottom is ‘dry’.
- Remove the baking paper and weights and bake for another 3-5 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
- Note: This is a really buttery pastry so it isn’t exactly summer/humidity friendly. Be sure to refrigerate as soon as the pastry softens too much to make it easier to work with and rest it adequately to prevent shrinkage in the oven. It definitely needs to be rolled between two sheets of baking paper but don’t worry if you mess up a little when lining the tin. You easily can use the pastry to patch up any holes or mistakes.
- Makes more than enough for 2 tarts (you can freeze half of it for next time or use for another recipe)
- 150g butter, slightly softened
- 150g icing sugar
- 150g almond meal
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 20ml Grand Marnier
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 30g plain flour
- Cream butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes). Add the almond meal and beat until mixed. Add the eggs, Grand Marnier, vanilla and flour and beat until combined.
- Mixture can be refrigerated covered for a couple of days or frozen. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature to soften before adding to pastry case.
- Spoon enough frangipane into your cooled shortbread pastry case and use an offset spatula to even it out (do not fill more than 0.5 cm below the top of pastry case).
- Bake in a preheated 180°C oven for around 15 minutes until frangipane is puffed, cooked through and lightly golden (it’s ready when the centre springs back).
- Remove tart and cool on wire rack.
- Brush the surface of the warm tart with some warmed apricot jam then shower with sifted icing sugar. Allow to cool completely.
- Tart is best served on the day but can be stored for a short time in an airtight container.
- About 4 yellow nectarines (or plums or peaches), ripe but slightly firm
- 100ml freshly squeezed orange juice, strained
- 1 Tbl of honey
- 1-2 Tbl caster sugar
- 1 small vanilla bean, seeds scraped (reserve pod for another use or add it to salt or sugar)
- If you wish to peel your nectarines, bring a pot of water to a boil (enough to cover the fruits). Meanwhile set aside a large bowl of iced water. With a paring knife, score the bottom of the nectarines with a small cross.
- When the water has boiled, turn off the heat and add the fruits making sure it’s submerged. Blanch for about 40 seconds (depends on how ripe it is).
- Remove with slotted spoon and immediately plunge in bowl of ice water and leave for about 20 seconds to stop it from cooking. Remove the loosened skins, remove the stone and cut into thick wedges.
- In a pan over medium heat, bring the juice, honey and sugar to a simmer and cook until reduced by half or until it’s a syrup consistency. Stir through the vanilla seeds.
- Add the cut fruit and cook, stirring occasionally for a couple of minutes until warmed through.
- Serve with the tart with extra nectarine syrup and a dollop of double cream.