Week 6 has arrived and we’re back! We’re settling into a habit of sorts and honestly, we’re going with whatever we think the easiest recipe will be. We don’t pretend to be master bakers and this is supposed to be a fun project. So we’re going with frangipane. It’s simply a filling made from or flavored with almonds. You can presumably use it in lots of different applications, but the idea of tarts or loose pie structures appealed to most of us. Let’s get into the results!
The bake: Something that includes frangipane.
I did some searching, and found a couple of slab pies that looked interesting, and ultimately narrowed in on a recipe that I knew I could alter because I am an adult. Kelsey pointed out that this one from Great British Chefs helpfully toggled between metric (the world) and imperial (the heathen Americans), but I did still have to convert everything from grams to cups as the scale I used in week one was a loaner and I haven’t bought one of my own yet. 225 grams of ground almonds, sugar and butter all mysteriously equal a cup, even though some of those are denser than others. I questioned this logic, but decided to forge ahead because lots of cookie recipes I’ve made dozens of times have equal parts butter and sugar. Also this recipe allowed me to use store-bought pastry crust. I’ve made crust from scratch and I honestly can’t really tell the taste difference. I’m a heathen.
Instead of Granny Smith apples and apricot jam, I decided to use raspberries and raspberry preserves (again, because I’m an adult making adult decisions), but mostly because I think almonds and raspberries go together swimmingly and the recipe already included lemon zest in the frangipane which would also go well with raspberries.
First of all, this was super, super easy to put together. Grinding almonds into flour was the most labor intense, but you just cream the butter and sugar with the almond flour (and a bit of regular flour) together and boom, you’ve got frangipane. The crust simply needed to be layed out on a sheet pan with a lip (I used Pillsbury’s pie crust so the only difficulty was transforming two circles into one rectangle and Geometry was so long ago). Plop the frangipane in, place raspberries on top as evenly as possible, bake for 25 minutes, brush with melted jam (my new favorite Britishism is “hob” for stovetop, by the way) and let cool before slicing.
Pastry crust with a gooey almond-y filling and tart raspberries on top? Melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I can identify some things I’d change (probably starting with the crust dimensions, or else figuring out a better way to cut it up to make circles become squares), but this would be a great, easy dessert for a brunch party or family get-together. Will make again.
Brooke & Kelsey
We decided to make these adorable little strawberry jam frangipane tartlets. They were an absolute breeze, as light and fun to whip up as they were to eat. The directions on our minimalist recipe were extremely sparse, as in they didn’t even note what we were meant to do with our almonds, but we used our intellect (read: made the obvious assumption) that we just mixed them in with everything else. The only mild challenge was that our butter was frozen when we got started and we were on a bit of a schedule, so some microwaving and softening by whisk had to take place. Once the main mixture was ready it was a matter of spooning jam into the bottom of our mini phyllo shells and topping with the frangipane before popping them in to bake. We had to extend the bake time (which started at a petite 10 minutes) by three minutes or so to ensure our butter was sorted, but everything turned out beautifully. Oh, except for the part where I forgot to take a picture of the full batch. So you just get a couple of the last survivors instead.
Southern California is lacking in the whole fall-in-the-air feel, so I was in the mood for something to put me in the autumn spirit. My search lead me down the path of pears and apples until I settled on the French Apple Tart as the directions seemed simple enough. I was going to make my life easier and use pre-made dough. But apparently pre-made dough is sold in the freezer section and said pre-made dough is suppose to be thawed overnight in the fridge. Which doesn’t help when someone buys all their ingredients day-of. Not naming names.
Therefore, I made the dough from scratch, and it was actually pretty simple. I made the frangipane while the dough was setting in the fridge, and went ahead and added the optional brandy (Don’t tell the roommate). I layered more than 2 tbsp of frangipane on the bottom, cause why not. Tis the season for Honeycrisp apples and they’re pretty awesome, so it was an easy decision on the apple front. I used a 9″ pan instead of 11″ as well, so five apples were plenty. I was obsessed with the idea of making a rose pattern, because I saw a picture on Pinterest and wanted to make something pretty. It was also a perfect excuse to leave the skin on the apples. The top called for butter and sugar, which are never bad, but I thought some cinnamon would compliment that mixture nicely. I went rogue and added it in.
Honeycrisp apples tend be juicy, so that may have had an effect on the frangipane texture. It’s been awhile since I’ve had it, so I’m honestly not sure. But there was no soggy bottoms and it fulfilled my autumn wishes, so I was happy.