Thursday, June 13, 2013
I've had a short but intense love affair with frangipane, otherwise known as almond pastry cream. I can't remember the first time I had it--either at my first bakery job, where we made Cherry Frangipane Galettes, or perhaps it was on vacation with my family a few months prior to starting that job. Either way, it was about two years ago, and I've been hooked ever since. With almond paste at its base, it is similar in flavor to almond macaroons, (which happen to be my favorite cookies), but with a denser, richer texture. My favorite uses for frangipane are in tarts and galettes (rustic tarts), embellished with seasonal fruits of choice. I've made this tart several times in the winter with ginger poached pears, but for the summer, I love a combination of stone fruits and berries. A few weeks ago a dinner with friends gave me the opportunity to make this favorite dessert again.
I am a fan of all things Martha [Stewart], and her recipe has been my go-to since I discovered this delicious dessert. A basic pate sucree crust can be prepared up to a day ahead of time. The crust is pre-baked in a tart pan; the frangipane can be prepared while the tart shell cools. I've streamlined her fussy crust baking method just a bit--I think the results are probably comparable. You definitely need to start early in the day to allow sufficient time for chilling and cooling at the various stages, but it's not too hard to execute, and certainly worth the effort....At least that's what I gathered from the second helpings accepted all around!