What do Louis XII, an Italian nobleman, and almond pastry cream have in common?
Honestly, I was hoping that you could tell me because the internet is rife with conflicting stories of the three. Some accounts state that the Marquis Muzio Frangipani (the Italian nobleman) was a perfumer who invented a particularly alluring scent for the gloves of Louis XIII, monarch of France. Gloves for the rich were made of leather—beautiful, but smelly. And as luck would have it, this particular new perfume was made from the bitter almond.
Others say that the king was not 17th century Louis, but rather Charles the IX (the reigning monarch in the mid-16th century).
And there are others who say that the perfume was named after the plumeria flower (frangipani is the botanical name; another story reverses those "facts", stating that the flower frangipani was named for the perfume inventor.
What I do know is that French pastry chefs recognized the popularity of the scent and created a richly sweet paste from almonds. They gave us almond paste, otherwise known as frangipane.
I said to the almond tree, "Friend, speak to me of God,"
and the almond tree blossomed.
— Nikos Kazantzakis
- a pastry filled with cream and flavored with almonds
- a rich cake mixture containing ground almonds
Equipment You Will Need
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Liquid measuring cup
- Food processor
- Electric mixer
- Rubber scrapers
- Parchment paper
- 10-inch tart pan
- Rolling pin
- Small sharp knife for slicing dried apricots
- Small saucepan
- Fine mesh sieve
- Pastry brush
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 15 min
Ingredients for the Crust
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (1/2 of an 8-ounce package) cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons ice water
Ingredients for the Filling
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 pound dried apricot halves
- 7 ounces almond paste (not marzipan)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons chopped unsalted macadamia nuts
Ingredients for the Glaze
- 1/3 cup apricot or peach preserves
- 2 tablespoons of the reserved orange juice
Instructions for the Crust
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter and cream cheese; pulse 10 to 12 times or until the mixture looks like coarse sand.
- Sprinkle water evenly over the flour mixture. Pulse several times or until you have a mixture that will form a dough when pressed between thumb and fingers.
- Shape the dough into a disk and place it in the middle of a square of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top; roll the dough into a 12-inch circle.
- Gently remove the top sheet of parchment. Place the 10-inch tart pan in the center and flip over so that the tart pan is on your work surface and the dough is now in the pan, paper-side up. Carefully remove the parchment.
- Press a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil onto the dough. This will help prevent bubbles as the dough firms in the oven. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Instructions for the Apricot Filling
- Slice the apricots in half horizontally. Place in a small saucepan with orange juice. Bring to a simmer over low heat (bubbles may form on the edge of the pan, but don't allow it to boil). Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- When the mixture is cool, remove apricot halves with a slotted spoon; place on paper towels to soak up excess moisture.
- Reserve the orange juice in which the apricots were cooked. It will be used in the glaze.
Instructions for the Frangipane Filling
- Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Beat almond paste, softened butter, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamed and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in flour and salt.
- Spread the filling over the crust.
- Place the apricot halves on top of the frangipane filling. Sprinkle with macadamia nuts.
- Bake the tart in the oven for 30 minutes or until the edge of the crust is golden, and the filling is golden and puffed.
Instructions for the Glaze
- While the filled tart is baking, place preserves and 2 tablespoons of the reserved orange juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat until the preserves melt. Remove from heat. Strain melted preserves through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any bits of fruit that remain; set aside.
- When the tart has finished baking, pour the glaze over the hot filling. Use a pastry brush to evenly distribute the glaze over the tart. Allow the tart to cool completely, about 2 hours.
© 2017 Linda Lum