Southern Italy loves its cherries. They also love making their delectable pastries and tarts, many of which use these cherries to highlight their pastries. Often times, cherries are used to make a frangipane tart. I had a ton of cherries, and anything custard is going to be a winner in my books, so I used them both and made a cherry frangipane or a cherry almond tart. It was a huge hit and disappeared immediately. Everyone was asking for me to make this again. SOON!
There was an Italian nobleman living in Paris in the 16th century, named Marquis Muzio Frangipani, who invented a bitter-almond perfume for gloves. Apparently this perfume had a magical scent and was the muse for French pastry chefs to create an almond flavored pastry called frangipane, named after the Marquis.
Frangipane is a pastry cream made with ground almonds, butter, sugar, eggs and a small amount of flour. It can be flavored with almond extract, rum or vanilla. Frangipane can also be adapted and made with other nuts instead of almonds, such as pistachios or hazelnuts. Frangipane is used in many classic pastries like pithivier, galette des rois, and as a filling for croissants.
Frangipane is a classic pairing with stone fruits, like peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines or cherries. Almonds aren’t actually nuts, they’re drupes: a fleshy fruit with thin skin and a stone in the center containing the seed. When almonds are growing on the tree, they look like small green peaches. As they ripen, their hulls split open revealing the stone. An almond is the seed inside the stone. This is one of the reasons almonds and stone fruits pair so well, because almonds are also stone fruits.
Cherry Almond Tart
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
Dash of heavy whipping cream, optional
Process everything together in a food processor or mix by hand until it forms into a stiff dough ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least for at least 1/2 hour to 1 hour before using.
The Cherry Frangipane
1 stick plus 6 TBSP softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups almond flour or ground almonds
2 TBSP flour
1 1/2 cups cherries, cut in half and pitted
3/4 cup almond slivers
Preheat the oven to 350* F or 180* C.
Mix everything together except the cherries and the almond slivers.
Roll our the dough on a lightly floured surface, then firmly press into a 10-inch tart pan.
Fill the dough with the frangipane custard filling. then place the cherries face down all around the filling.
Sprinkle the almond slivers on top of the cherries and bake for about 45 minutes or until the center is set and the crust is lightly golden brown.
Let the tart cool completely before slicing it and savoring the flavor. Cherry and almonds pair perfectly together and their flavors just melt in your mouth. You cannot go wrong with this delectable combination.
Stay cool, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.