Why Strawberry and Frangipane tart?
Frangipane is a classic French term that refers to a sweet filling made from and flavoured with almonds. It can be used to fill anything from cakes, tarts and other sweet pastries.
I was inspired to make this strawberry and almond filled tart after watching the film Julie and Julia. In short this film, based on a book by Julie Powel, depicts the early culinary career of chef Julia Child, and the life of a newly 30 year old Julie Powel who aspires to cook 524 recipes (in a year) from one of Julia Child’s famous cook books, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Julia Child, an American living in France after WWII did what no other woman had done before and attended a professional course at the prestigious French culinary school Le Cordon Bleu.
Fifty or so years on, I also attended Le Cordon Bleu school, London and started my Grand Diplome de Cuisine et Patisserie.
Frangipane, was one of the first fillings I learnt to make in Patisserie class. We used it in every thing from custard fruit tarts glazed with jam, to Danish and the classic Pithivier. I will never forget the excitement I had when I took home my first tart, filled with frangipane and decorated with fruits and berries. I rode on the tube thinking that it was the best tart that any Patisserie in Paris would have seen.
This simpler version is deliciously easy, with a sweet buttery almond filling studded with strawberry compote all encased with in a crisp inside a sweet crust sweet crust.
Enjoy it for afternoon tea, dessert or at a picnic.
1 quantity of sweet short crust pastry
For the compote
250g punnet of strawberries
1/3 cup caster sugar
Zest of half a lemon
For the Frangipane
100g butter, softened
1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup (100g) almond meal
1/4 cup (40g) plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoon flaked almonds
Preheat oven to 180°C fan forced.
Make the pastry and chill for 30 minutes.
For the strawberries. Wash and hull and cut in half. Place them in a small saucepan with the sugar and lemon zest.
Cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes, or until the strawberries start to soften. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of baking paper into a 3 mm thick disc. Line a 22cm round fluted tart pan (with a removable base) with the pastry making sure to press it evenly into the corners. Trim any excess and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Prick the base 4-5 times with a fork. Line the tart with baking paper and fill with dried beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and bake for a further 7 minutes or until the pastry looks dry.
Meanwhile for the frangipane beat the butter and sugar together with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat for another 2 minutes.
In a separate bowl mix together the almond meal and flour and fold into the butter and egg mixture.
Spoon the frangipane into the prepared tart and top with strawberries. Using a teaspoon push some of the strawberries under the frangipane mixture and sprinkle the flaked almonds.
Reduce the oven to 160°C fan forced and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the frangipane has set.
Dust with icing sugar and serve.
And as Julia Child always said