Always intrigued by the word “frangipane”, I set out to discover a bit of its history. Not to be confused with the Frangipani plant (Plumeria), in the Pastry Kitchen, Frangipane is typically an almond tart filling, best paired with fruity and tangy notes such apricots, cherries or peaches.
The first recipes for “frangipane” date back to the mid 1600s but the first one with such a name can be traced to a confectionery book from 1756. Originally, it was intended as a custard scented with almonds until it morphed into the almond and butter filling we enjoy today. It was an Italian who, inadvertently, gave it the name, a nobleman called Muzio Frangipane (which, in Italian, means “to break bread”). This gentleman is remembered for introducing almond scented gloves, that became all the rage in the 18th century. From there, the almond custard stretch is a mere step away. Sort of.
I like frangipane in small doses because it is, how shall we say, a touch on the heavy side. To cut through the sweetness, I like to pair it with not quite ripe stone fruit and, because booze finds its way into most of my recipes, I also add a touch of rum. It’s an easy recipe that will look and taste more complex than it is to make.
Make you favourite crust recipe (or refer to mine), chill it, then fill it with the frangipane and top it with pitted and halved cherries or apricots or thick peach slices. Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour in a 330F oven, until golden and bubbly. Have care to put a cookie sheet under the pan to catch any overspill.
9 oz Butter, at room temperature
9 oz Ground Almonds – use sliced natural almonds (with skin on is fine)
9 oz Powdered Sugar
1/3 C All Purpose Flour
4 T Rum
- Process almonds in food processor until finely ground. Set aside
- Sift together the flour and powder sugar. Set aside
- Using a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment beat the butter on high-speed until light and fluffy.
- Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the almonds
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and reduce the speed to incorporate.
- Turn mixer off and add flour and sugar mixture. Then turn mixer on low to incorporate.
- Add the eggs, one at a time and mix to incorporate.
- Add the rum.
- Keep at room temperature if using within 4 hours, otherwise refrigerate and let soften before using.