Picture your favorite summer stone fruit—cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, fresh apricots, pluots*– sumptuously emerging from a rich almond cream, their colors a promise of their juicy interiors, a perfect summer pleasure in a perfect buttery crust and there you have it: A great dessert for a dinner party. You can make the pastry crust the day before, refrigerate it and then use it at will. And the Frangipane can also be made ahead of time. So with minimal effort, the day of your party you can present your guests with a freshly made tart. That’s David Lebovitz’ Summer Frangipane Fruit Tart.
David Lebovitz left San Francisco some years ago to become an American in Paris. Once there, this talented pastry chef began writing a steady stream of fascinating books. “The Sweet Life in Paris” (Broadway Books 2009) combined his observations of life in that city with a series of recipes almost all concentrated on the capital’s sweets. From there, he went on to write “Ready for Dessert” in 2012 and, to celebrate his 10thyear in the city, he published “My Paris Kitchen”, a treasure
trove of stories linked to recipes that ran from Appetizers to French Fries. His “Living the Sweet Life in Paris” blog is must-reading and one of the blogs we are hooked into. (See “My Blog List” on the left-hand side of this page). Andrew is a great fan of his work and so when our local and not so local stone fruits appeared in abundance this summer, he sought out David’s recipe for Summer Fruit Tarts with Almond Cream (Frangipane). In addition to all its charms, according to Lebovitz, it is ‘one of the simplest fruit tarts to make.’
While Lebovitz called his recipe Summer Fruit Tart with Almond Cream, I think the lure of the more exotic “Frangipane” adds something mysterious to the tart. The Frangipanis were a noble Roman family into which a woman named Jacoba dei Settesoli (a romantic name in itself meaning Jacoba of the Seven Suns) married. She was soon widowed and having heard of a holy man named Francis of Assisi, she sought his advice, specifically on how to be charitable. When Francis came to Rome to preach the gospel of the poor, Jacoba met with him and spent the rest of her life doing good works. She became great friends with Francis and as he lay dying in 1226, he asked to once more taste the almond treat that she had brought him many times before. From then on, the almond cream took on the name Frangipani or Frangipane.
Andrew made great use of this recipe on five (!) occasions, each time using a different combination of fruits: Apricots, Peaches, Plums and Cherries. He used blanched almond flour, which we find in the Natural or Organic section of our supermarket. Lebovitz says the hazelnut, walnut or even pistachio flour are fine to use as well. Lebovitz uses 12 oz or 3 nectarines. For color contrast and an extra bump of flavor, raspberries stud to spaces between the stone fruit sections. Again, blueberries, blackberries, cherries can be used in place of the raspberries. I’ve included a recipe for the pre-baked tart shell Lebovitz calls for. Here are the recipes:
* Pluots are a cross between a Plum and an Apricot.
Recipe for Summer Fruit Tart with Frangipane from David Lebovitz
First, make the tart shell
For the 9 inch tart shell:
85g (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used canola)
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
160g (5.5oz, or 1 rounded cup) flour
Preheat the oven to 410º F (210º C).
1. In a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt.
2. Place the bowl in the oven for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges.
3. When done, remove the bowl from oven (and be careful, since the bowl will be hot and the mixture might sputter a bit), dump in the flour and stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch (23 cm) tart mold with a removable bottom and spread it a bit with a spatula.
5. Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with the heel of your hand, and use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold. Reserve a small piece of dough, about the size of a raspberry, for patching any cracks.
6. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork about ten times, then bake the tart shell in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.
7. Remove from the oven and if there are any sizable cracks, use the bits of reserved dough to fill in and patch them. I find it best to pinch off a small amount of the reserved dough, roll it gently between your fingers to soften it, then wedge it into the cracks, smoothing it gently with your pinky.
8. Let the shell cool before filling.
Next, make the Filling
For the filling:
4 ounces (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (130g) almond flour
2 teaspoons dark rum or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
big pinch of salt
3 nectarines (about 12 ounces, 370g), or another stone fruit, such as plums, peaches (peeled), or apricots or cherries
4 ounces (115g, about 1 cup) raspberries, blueberries or blackberries
One prebaked 9- 10-inch (23cm) tart shell, cooled
Strained apricot jam, for glazing, if desired
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
2. Make the frangipane by beating the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until fluffy – about 1 minute on high speed. Add the eggs one by one, stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl after adding each. (You can also make it by hand, beating the butter and adding the other ingredients, in a medium bowl, using a spatula.)
3. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the almond flour, then the rum or vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt.
4. Spread the frangipane in the cooled tart dough.
5. Halve the stone fruits and slice them into eighths. (The slices should be about 2 1/2-inch, 6cm thick.) Press the slices into the frangipane, in concentric circles, and press the berries into the frangipane, in between the stonefruit slices.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tart is golden brown across the top. Let cool, then brush lightly with apricot jam, if desired. If it’s not liquid enough to brush on, warm the jam gently in a small saucepan.
Serving: Serve warm or at room temperature by itself, with whipped cream, or a favorite ice cream, such as vanilla ice cream.
Storage: Once baked, the tart will keep for 2-3 days at room temperature.