I’ve always been partial to a well made frangipane tart. A crisp and light pastry shell bursting with almond frangipane cream and seasonal fruit. The markets are awash with rhubarb, its natural tartness a perfect foil for the delicate sweetness of the almond filling. Today’s offering? A Rhubarb Frangipane Tart.
My preference is to always use seasonal fruit. Perfectly ripe and intensely sweet it will always produce a magnificent tart. Berries, plums, nectarines, apricots and peaches all work well with this recipe, especially if you remember to change the flavour of the jam layer to complement the fruit.
The recipe includes instructions for a rich and buttery shortcrust pastry. Please resist the temptation to forgo this step and use a ready made pastry shell or pre rolled shop bought pastry. Making your own really does make a difference and is well worth the effort. The secret is to use chilled butter and to briefly pulse the pastry until it just comes together in a food processor. Overworked dough is the enemy. Simply scoop out the crumbly dough and press lightly into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour before rolling out to line your tart tin. You will be rewarded with a crisp, light and airy pastry that melts in your mouth.
Rhubarb Frangipane Tart
This recipe makes enough pastry for two tarts, one disc to use straight away and another to freeze for next time. If you would like to make two frangipane tarts you will need to double the quantities for the frangipane filling and fruit topping.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
3 cups (375g) plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (50g) pure icing sugar, sifted
200g butter, chilled and cubed
125g butter, diced
3/4 cup (125g) firmly packed pure icing sugar, sifted
1 egg yolk
1 cup (110 g) almond meal
25 ml dark rum
1/4 cup strawberry jam, warmed in the microwave for a minute or so on low heat
1 small bunch rhubarb, trimmed
Prepare the Pastry
SIFT flour, salt and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor.
ADD chilled, cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
ADD egg and pulse again until the dough comes together. Tip onto a work surface, use your hands to gently press the dough into a disc.Wrap in cling wrap, then rest in the fridge for about 1 hour.
PREHEAT oven to 180C. Grease and line the base of a 20cm loose bottomed tart tin.
REMOVE the chilled pastry from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry until 3-4mm thick. I find it easiest to roll my pastry between two sheets of baking paper. Use the remaining pastry for another tart; pastry can be stored in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.
LINE the tart tin with pastry. Peel away the top layer of baking paper from the rolled pastry and invert the pastry sheet into the tin. The bottom layer of baking paper will now be on top. Peel away, gently press the pastry into the tin and trim any overhanging edges.
REST the pastry lined tin in the fridge for 15 minutes as you prepare the frangipane.
Prepare the Frangipane Filling
CREAM butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time until incorporated in the mixture. Fold in the almond meal and dark rum.
Assemble and Bake the Tart
REMOVE the tart tin from the fridge. Brush strawberry jam over the bottom of the tart, then spread the frangipane on top.
SCATTER over two cups of diced rhubarb, pressing lightly into the mixture. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and set. Serve warm or cooled, with a bowl of creme fraiche on the side.