Frangipane goes well with nearly any type of fruit and I have made various versions over the years, often with fruit that needs to be used up – pears, apples, plums, apricots, peaches or nectarines. You can also add berries – pear or apple with some blackberries pushed into the filling would be very nice. I’ve also suggested variations on the almond filling – using chocolate and/or hazelnut or pistachio. Please see below at the end of the recipe for more on these ideas. The filling can also be made a few days in advance and kept in the fridge until needed.
I made the above tart after seeing Julie Jones’ amazing pastry creations. I used the apple peel from about eight apples, then roasted the remaining apples to eat with porridge. One could of course make the tart to use up peelings that you have generated, say from making a crumble. It would look even nicer made with red apple peel but I used the glut of unloved Granny Smith apples that seemed to have accumulated in the bottom drawer of the fridge. I also really like the idea of an apple and frangipane crumble tart, finished off with a sprinkle of crumble topping.
I originally made this tart with slices of pear which is a lovely and quite traditional tart filling.
For this tart, you will need a blind-baked pastry case and fruit of your choice – 3 pears or 4 apricots or plums. For the above ‘rose’ tart, I used the peel of eight apples.
300g ground almonds
120g softened butter/Stork
150ml milk/plant-based milk
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp almond essence
1. Mix all the frangipane ingredients in a food processor or combine with an electric whisk/hand mixer. This can be done with a wooden spoon but will give your arm muscles a real work out. Having very soft butter will make this easier.
2. Scrape the frangipane into a blind-baked pastry case and spread out to give a smooth, even surface. You can alternatively pipe concentric circles of frangipane paste into the base of the tart.
3. Peel and prepare 2-3 pears – they can be cut into eights to give long slices or simply cut in half. (You can stew the pears in red grape juice, or something stronger if you wish – it gives them a lovely reddish-purple colour). Place the pears on top the frangipane, cut side down if using halved pears. You can also do a ‘hasselback’ effect on the pears if you like, Slice a pear in two and make a series of horizontal cuts across the width, without completely cutting through the whole pear. (If you’re not sure what I mean, google ‘hasselback and hopefully it will all make sense.) Handle the semi-sliced pears gently when lifting it to press into the tart filling.
4. If using apples, peel thin slices of apple peel, twice around the apple. (I suspect a spiraliser (remember those?) would have made life easier, rather than using a potato peeler.). Coil the apple peel up tightly and gently push into the frangipane. Repeat until you have covered the surface.
5. The fruit will sink into the filling slightly as they bake. Bake at 160C for one hour. You can sprinkle some flaked almonds over the top 10-15 minutes before the tart is done. They won’t need the full hour in the oven. (If the edges start to look brown but the middle is still very pale, cover with a sheet of tinfoil and continue to bake until a more even golden colour is achieved. If you make the apple tart, cover with tin foil before baking for one hour at 160C.)
6. Allow the tart to cool before serving. While there is nothing at all wrong with warm frangipane, it will be sloppy, making it difficult to cut neat slices.
7. To vary the filling you can make chocolate frangipane Add 50g melted chocolate to the frangipane and add less milk accordingly. If you’re feeling especially fancy, you can replace half of the ground almonds with ground hazelnuts, to complement the chocolate. (I suspect a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder would also make a decent chocolate frangipane.)
8. To make pistachio frangipane, replace two-thirds of the almonds with ground pistachios. To bring out their natural green colour, put the pistachios in a pot of boiling water and leave them there for 2-3 minutes. Once they have cooled enough to handle, remove the skins. Rubbing at any stubborn skins with a teatowel should do the trick to remove them. Blitz the pistachios into a powder in a suitable bladed appliance (I use a hand blender) before adding the rest of the frangipane ingredients and blitzing until smooth. You may like to add a little green food colouring if you’d like. I did this very gradually until it had reached the subtle but distinct shade of green that I felt a pistachio filling should have.