Saturday, 4 September 2010

"FRAN"-GIPANE

Frangipane is a filling for tarts and pastries made from ground almonds, butter, eggs and sugar, and goes wonderfully with fruit such as apples, pears, cherries and raspberries. It's dead easy to make and once cooked, a tart with a frangipane filling has a lovely crisp, slightly chewy 'macaroony' top with a deliciously soft centre. I think the picture of my pear and frangipane tart is a testament to its success when served for supper the other night. Needless to say, everyone had seconds.




Serves 4, generously

For the frangipane filling
125g butter
125g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
125g ground almonds
a few drops of almond extract (optional)

Oven 180 C

This will make sufficient quantity to fill a medium-sized tart tin. I used bought puff pastry for this tart, but homemade sweet crust pastry is good too. I follow Jamie Oliver's tip for pastry: line the tin with the pastry and then put in the freezer for about 20 mins before using. This results in lovely crisp pastry when cooked.

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, mix well and then add the ground almonds and, if using, a few drops of almond extract.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and then add your fruit - apples or pears, peeled, cored and quartered; pitted cherries; peaches or apricots, stoned and quartered; raspberries. I have also come across a frangipane tart with a chocolate topping.

Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the top of the tart is golden brown and firm to the touch. Allow to cool. Dust with icing sugar and serve with creme fraiche or ice-cream.

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