Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Frangipane Tart

Don't you love the look of a fresh fruit tart? Whenever I browse a display of cakes and pastries, the first thing I'd notice would be the pretty fruit tarts. Berries, apricots, figs, cherries ... perched elegantly like gems, with that irresistible glossy sheen. There's just something about bright, shiny objects and their appeal. I instantly get drawn to them like a girl to diamonds ... OH YES, I love my bling. But I digress.



What really gets me are those with strawberries. To me, strawberries are the most photogenic of all fruits. They are every dessert's best accessory - classic and forever in vogue. When in doubt, throw in a few strawberries ... they just work, like a Little Black Dress.

Well, I realised that it has been a long while since I made tarts. The last time I did, it was *gasp* February of 2011, and back then, I made Strawberry Tarts (with crème pâtissière) and Pierre Hermé's Warm Chocolate & Raspberry Tarts. I should seriously make more tarts!

This time, for a change - my filling of choice is always crème pâtissière - I decided to make frangipane (almond cream/paste). While crème pâtissière is all velvety and vanilla, frangipane is a lot firmer and full-bodied. The first bite sure packed an nutty punch, and I loved it! Well, I am extremely partial to almonds so, no surprises there.

And I've got to tell you, making this strawberry-studded tart was easy ... cutting it up was hard! First, the reluctance to destroy a picture perfect tart. Then, when the desire to eat overrides everything else, the challenge of keeping the strawberries in place when the knife slices through. After numerous "uh-ohs" and "arghhhhhs", it all worked out - the strawberries stayed in place with some careful nudging, and the tart ended up in our tums, where they were meant to be.

And for a few minutes after that, I could hear OM resonating in my ears. :)



Recipe
(adapted from Joy of Baking)

For the Sweet Pastry Crust
- 1 1/2 cups (200g) all purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated white sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten

(See video here)

1. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Place the butter in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball. Flatten the pastry into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes or just until firm (can place in freezer for about 10-15 minutes.)

2. Lightly butter and flour, or spray with a non-stick vegetable/flour cooking spray, an 8 to 9 inch (20 to 23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Once the pastry has chilled sufficiently, evenly pat onto the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan*. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
* Pay special attention to the bottom rims where dough tends to gather. Use your thumb and press the dough in, to thin it out.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°C (about 400°F) and place rack in center of oven. While the oven is heating up and the pastry dough is chilling, make the frangipane.

For the Frangipane

- 1/2 cup (50g) almond meal
- 1 tbsp (12g) all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated white sugar
- 3 tbsp (40g) unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt

4. In a big bowl, whisk* almonds, sugar, and flour to combine. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.
* You can whisk by hand.

5. Bring out the tart dough that has been chilling in the freezer. Lightly prick the bottom with the tines of a fork. Pour the frangipane filling into the unbaked tart shell, spreading evenly. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 175°C (350°F) and bake for another 15 minutes more. A skewer inserted in the center should come out clean. If the frangipane begins to turn too brown, cover the tart loosely with a piece of foil.

6. Cool for 15 minutes, then chill 15 minutes.

This is what you should get:



Assembling the tart

- 1 punnet fresh strawberries, washed, with their tops sliced off
- 2 tbsps jam (apricot, strawberry, or marmalade)

7. Brush the surface with a thin layer of jam, and then carefully arrange the strawberries, starting from the middle. Press each one firmly into the frangipane.

8. Once complete, gently brush each strawberry with jam. This will give that gorgeous megawatt finish. At this point, you can chill the tart until it is time to serve, or simply slice and eat right there and then.

Would you like some tart?


26 comments:

  1. Looks very outstanding! Yes for sure like to have some. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. i love the last pic - so mouthwatering :)
    really look delish!

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  3. Yes please me too..and thank you..Glorious!

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  4. Hello Ju,
    Yes! Why I didn't think of Frangipane?!! I did the very same tart 2 weeks ago with Pâte feuilletée but it didn't turn out that nice cause the crème pâtissière added some moisture to the tart.. So, Now i know..the next tart will be with Frangipane :) thank you for sharing..

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    1. Bonjour! Yes, do give it a try next time. Am sure you will make a really good tart! :)

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  5. You are giving Maison Bertaux a run for their money, surely! *winks* from YNLS & Bad Harry
    Btw, nicely redecorated blog!

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    1. Thank you, MNLS & Bad Harry! Me not on the same level as Maison Bertaux. :( Their frangipane is out of this world! But I will try, nonetheless. :p

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  6. Totally agreed. Strawberies are the sex symbol of the dessert world (pardon the risque reference). But somehow for me, they look better than they taste. Maybe I didn't buy the right ones. Having said that, I would not refuse a strawberry dessert or any dessert for the matter.

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    1. Hi Phong Hong, yes unfortunately the strawberries we get here are horrid. They only taste good after some "treatment", like macerating. So sad, right?

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  7. This looks amazing! *Runs off to scribble up my tart shopping list...*

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  8. Lovely tart! I just made one too with strawberries but of cos not as polished as yours!

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    1. Thanks, Jeannie. I am sure you made a wonderful strawberry tart. :)

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  9. Girgeous! Absolutely gorgeous! I want a slice...right now!
    L xo

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  10. OH YUUUUM!!! Frangipane tarts really is my favourite tart to eat. Hands down, no questions asked. And you're right, strawberries look everything so classy and mouthwatering. Thanks for the recipe. I've always been so daunted by baking but have tried a number of your recipes with pretty good success that I think I'm sloooooowly gaining a BIT of confidence in that department. Thanks for everything, really!

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    1. Awwww, you're too nice, Winston. And too modest. You should totally go all out! Unleash the pâtissier in you! :)

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  11. Yes please! This is my kind of dessert!

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  12. ToffeeJellyBeansJuly 2, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Hi Ju
    I stumbled upon your blog only recently and I finished reading all your posts.
    I really like your writing style and oh I only wish you could write more frequently :P

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    1. Why, thank you! I promise I will write more. :)

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  13. Just descovered your blog when I was looking for some recipe's and I'm already a big fan!! I love the recipe's you post and the picture's look great :) If you can post more pictures of the process it will be great, so it's easier to follow step by step :)

    Love your style!

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  14. Hi, may i know how or where did u get almond meal? Thanks !

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    1. Supermarkets, Phoon Huat, Sun Lik ... they are very easily available! :)

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