Cherry and frangipane tarts

Cherry and frangipane tart
Cherry and frangipane tart

While not exactly a crème, frangipane is a tart filling that is used widely in patisserie.

It’s named after Marquis Muzio Frangipani, a man who invented almond perfume-scented gloves which became a fashion trend in Paris during the 16th century.

Apparently at the time pastry chefs tried to infuse their desserts with the popular scent and came up with almond custard cream!

The confusion lies in the recipe though, and nobody seems to agree.

Michel Suas uses the formula two parts almond cream (comprising butter, sugar, eggs, almond meals, flour and rum) and one part crème pâtissière.

Julia Child uses egg (whole and yolk), sugar, flour, milk, butter, vanilla extract and pulverised almonds or macaroons.

Michel Roux keeps it simple with sugar, ground almonds, butter, flour, eggs and rum.

So that’s confusing! After a search around for other recipes, I realised that Michel Roux’s seems to be the most common type used although I’m sure the Michel Suas version is probably the most traditional.

So, I’m going to try Michel Roux’s version for now and test out Michel Suas’ next time I have leftover crème pâtissière.

This tart uses jarred sour cherries, but you can use any type of fruit. Often the fruit is pre-cooked (think plums and pears) with spices for extra flavour. But that’s the joy of these cherries which are already steeped in their own syrup.

Cherry and frangipane tarts (filling courtesy of Michel Roux)

125g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
125g butter, softened
25g plain flour
2 large eggs
25ml rum (optional)

1 x portion pâte sucrée

36 jarred sour cherries

To make the frangipane, beat together the butter until pale and creamy. Sift in the ground almonds, icing sugar and flour. Mix well, then add the eggs one and a time. Add the rum and mix until all incorporated.

Blind bake six tart shells for 10 minutes, then remove the baking beans and bake for a further ten minutes.

Spoon in the frangipane and pop six cherries on top of each tart.

Bake for 30 minutes at 160 degrees until browned.

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