Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Plum Frangipane Tart
Perhaps, like me, you once saw it on a restaurant menu, became intrigued, and then ordered it without an inkling of an idea what it was or what it would taste like.
Mmmm…. Almonds. And sugar. And butter. Delicious. And with fruit? Forget about it. Too good to pass up.
I know. Frangipane. Sounds fancy. But it couldn’t be easier to make. If you are in possession of a food processor or nut grinder, you are mere minutes away from beholding its wonderful taste and smell.
Perhaps, like me, you tried it once and then could not get it out of your head. So much so that the second query on your browser after you type in “f” is frangipane (after Facebook, of course). (This is only a slight exaggeration.)
Perhaps, like me, despite a minor obsession with the stuff, you’ve only ventured to make it once (once!) in the more than two years since first trying it.
Yes, it turns out that frangipane is just as at home in a cake as in a tart, where you’ll usually find it. But this is not about a cake (delicious though it may be).
Perhaps, like me, you figured it was about time you put your beautiful fluted tart pan to good use, sliced up a few tart and rosy plums, and nestled them in a fantastic concoction of almonds, sugar, and butter. How could this get any better?
Oh, that’s right. A few splashes of crème de cassis.
It’s not often that I tell you to make something rightthisminute. But plums are at their peak right now. Their inherent tartness is softened ever so slightly by baking, offering a welcome contrast to a rich but restrained almond filling and a crisp pastry crust.
This is a tart that’s perfect for company or parties—it’s a beauty—but don’t wait for a fancy celebration to make it. Perhaps, like me, you think plain old Wednesday is as good an occasion as any to enjoy a plum and frangipane tart.
Plum Frangipane Tart
Adapted from Bon Appetit via Smitten Kitchen
In place of crème de cassis, you can you framboise, brandy, or another berry liqueur. If you like you can also add a glaze by melting 2 teaspoons of creme de cassis (or another liqueur) with 1/4 cup of red currant jelly over medium-low heat. Brush the baked tart with the jelly and allow to cool before serving.
Yield: 1 (9-inch) tart (about 8 servings)
For the pastry crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons ice water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces whole raw almonds (about 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons crème de cassis
12 ounces ripe plums (about 2 large), cut into 3/4-inch wedges
To make the crust, set an oven rack to the center position and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse to combine. Scatter butter over flour and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water and vanilla and process until moist clumps form.
Gather dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic and flatten into a 1-inch-tall disk. Refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for 15 to 20 minutes. Once the dough is thoroughly chilled, roll out on a floured surface to a 12-inch round. Carefully lift the dough over a 9-inch tart pan and ease into the tart pan and up the sides, taking care not the stretch the dough. Trim the dough so it is flush with the edge of the pan If the dough tears, simply patch it up with the scraps. Pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, spray a large piece of tin foil with nonstick spray and place in the crust, sprayed-side down. Fill the crust with dried beans or pie weights and bake until pale blonde and the crust is set, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans or weights and continue baking for 10 more minutes, until the crust is golden. Cool on a rack. Maintain oven temperature.
Meanwhile, make the frangipane filling. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, finely grind almonds with sugar. Add egg, butter, and crème de cassis. Process until a smooth batter forms. Pour the filling into the prebaked tart crust. Arrange the plum slices in concentric circles atop the filling and bake until plums are tender and the filling is golden and set, about 50 minutes.