Christmas is just around the corner, literally next week, and I cannot wait! I leave for my ‘holiday’ this Saturday. It’s a quote unquote holiday because I will most likely spend it blogging/working.
Today, I decided to turn to my trusty Frangipane tart recipe. It is one of my all time favourite Christmas tarts and is the perfect ending to any meal. I realised that I knew nothing much about the origins of the tart and why it is called a frangiane tart. Here’s a few interesting things I found out about this classic treat.
Frangipane is the filling of this tart and is one of the most traditional French patisseries. It is associated with Christmas thanks to its warm and nutty flavours. Made using butter, sugar, ground almonds, and eggs, it takes on a sweet nutty flavour, which has a similar scent to the frangipani tree. The word frangipane originates from a man named Marquis Muzio Frangipani who invented a perfume used to scent hand gloves. The scent was extracted from a tropical American tree or shrub called Plumeria rubra. The frangipani is an actual plant in the same family as the Plumeria rubra. The perfume made from the tree, resembles the scent of the flower that grows from it.
Interesting right – a tart named after a tree with a similar scent. That very tree is named after a man who invented a perfume. I guess you learn something new everyday right?
Now let me tell about the actual frangipane tart that I have prepared today. When the frangipane filling cooks in the oven it turns from a silky and creamy paste to a crumbly textured sponge. The lightness of the batter allows for it to rise further in the oven and take on an airy consistency, which melts in the mouth as it is eaten. It sits comfortably inside homemade pastry, which is gluten free. To balance out the sweetness of the filling, I’ve added peaches. They bring a tart flavour to the otherwise sweet pudding. You could use other fruits like plums, nectarines or apricots – really any fruit of that family should work just fine. It is topped with a generous dusting of sweet icing sugar.
Gluten Free Frangipane, Peach Tart
Makes 1 large tart
- ¾ cups, chilled, chopped butter
- ¾ cups castor sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups gluten free flour
- 2 cling peaches
- 70g room temperature butter
- 100g castor sugar
- 100g ground almonds
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg white
Place the pastry crust ingredients into a bowl. Mix together until dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and place to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 23cm round tart baking tin with butter.
Once the dough has rested, remove from the refrigerator and divide into two equal pieces.
Place one half onto a clean floured (gluten free flour) surface and the other half back into the refrigerator. Using a rolling pin, roll out the piece that is on the floured surface. Roll it out about the same size as your baking dish. Place into your baking dish and spread across the sides of the dish with your fingers. You want the pastry to be as thin as possible. Using a sharp knife, remove any pastry that hangs over the sides of the dish.
Poke the base with a fork a few times to help any air bubbles escape. Place a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and pour some baking beans or rice into it. Place into the oven and leave to bake for 10-15 minutes. This is called blind baking. It prepares the base for the filling so that it doesn’t become soggy once baked together with the filling. Remove from the oven, discard the baking paper, and you can save the beans for your next pastry bake.
Slice the peaches in half. Remove the pips then slice each half into eighths. Push the pieces off to one side.
Cream the butter and castor sugar until light and fluffy. Add the ground almonds and continue mixing until all is well combined.
Add the whole egg and egg white to the mixture and continue mixing until a creamy light batter forms.
Pour the filling into the baked pastry crust and spread across the base of the tin. Arrange your peaches over the filling.
Place the tart into the oven and leave it to bake for 20-25 minutes. By that time it will turn into a light golden brown colour. Remove from the oven and serve warm with a dusting of icing sugar and a dollop of cream, ice cream, or a healthier alternative like plain yogurt.