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Apricot Frangipane: Would a Tart by Any Other Name Taste as Sweet?

Updated on August 3, 2017
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Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes... one ingredient at a time.

I said to the almond tree, "Friend, speak to me of God,"

and the almond tree blossomed.

— Nikos Kazantzakis
almond blossoms
almond blossoms

Confusion Abounds

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.

frangipane [fran-juh-peyn]

  1. a pastry filled with cream and flavoured with almonds
  2. a rich cake mixture containing ground almonds

5 stars from 2 ratings of Apricot Frangipane Tart

Recipe for Apricot Frangipane Tart

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

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
Yields: 12 servings

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

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

dried apricots
dried apricots

For the Glaze:

  • 1/3 cup apricot or peach preserves
  • 2 tablespoons of the reserved orange juice

Instructions

for the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place flour and salt in bowl of food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter and cream cheese; pulse 10 to 12 times or until mixture looks like coarse sand.
  3. Sprinkle water evenly over flour mixture. Pulse several times or until you have a mixture that will form a dough when pressed between thumb and fingers.
  4. Shape dough into a disk and place in the middle of a square of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top; roll dough to 12-inch circle.
  5. Gently remove the top sheet of parchment. Place 10-inch tart pan in the center and flip over so that the tart pan in on your work surface and the dough is now in the pan, paper-side up. Carefully remove the parchment.
  6. 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 foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

for the apricot filling:

  1. Slice the apricots in half horizontally. Place in 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 to boil). Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. When mixture is cool, remove apricot halves with slotted spoon; place on paper towels to soak up excess moisture.
  3. Reserve the orange juice in which the apricots were cooked. It will be used in the glaze.

for the frangipane filling:

  1. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Beat almond paste, softened butter, and sugar in bowl of a stand mixed until creamed and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in flour and salt.
  3. Spread filling over crust.
  4. Place apricot halves on top of frangipane filling. Sprinkle with macadamia nuts.
  5. Bake tart in oven 30 minutes or until edge of crust is golden, and filling is golden and puffed.

for the glaze:

  1. While filled tart is baking, place preserves and 2 tablespoons of the reserved orange juice in small saucepan. Bring to simmer over low heat until preserves melt. Remove from heat. Strain melted preserves through fine mesh sieve to remove any bits of fruit that remain; set aside.
  2. When tart has finished baking, pour glaze over hot filling. Use pastry brush to evenly distribute glaze over tart. Allow tart to cool completely, about 2 hours.

© 2017 Linda Lum

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    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 8 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish - The cream cheese is in the crust, so not exactly the star of the show, but it does give the pastry a slight tang, and makes it super flaky and easy to work with. I hope you enjoy it.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

      You had me at cream cheese. Put any type of fruit with it and I am there.

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 8 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Shauna. That is exactly why I like apricots too--they aren't as cloyingly sweet as some other fruits. However, the almond paste is very sweet; I think that the two create a perfect balance. Thanks so much for stopping by. I always enjoy hearing from you.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 8 months ago from Central Florida

      Mmmm. Looks delicious, Diva! I love the taste of apricots; they're not too sweet. I think this tart would be the perfect solution for a late night sweets craving!

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Kaili - I had not heard of Pithviers. That is definitely something I will look into. Thank you for telling me about it. And I LOVE apricots.

      My mom used to bake a two-crust pie for my Dad, the filling of which was made from dried apricots that she simmered on the stove. It was his Number 2 favorite pie, and apricots always make me think of him. (And, in case you were wondering, his Number 1 favorite was lemon meringue).

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Vocalcoach - Thank you. I'm not sure that HP staff will agree with you. This article fell far short of the "standard" 1,250 words. There are still two pieces left, but you'll have to hurry. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments.

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 9 months ago from Canada

      Apricots are wonderful and this recipe looks fantastic. There is another almond-based french dessert you may want to try called Pithviers that is often made with an apricot filling.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 9 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      A presentation deserving a crown for Linda! I want to crawl through my monitor and grab myself a piece or two of your mouth-watering, gorgeous apricot tart. I can taste the flavor and apricots now!

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Oh Bill, whatever am I going to do with you? Dried peaches then, or pears? Or skip the "dried" part all together (and thus the simmering in orange juice part) and bake it using fresh fruit.

      You have to admit though -- it's kinda pretty, isn't it?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well you should have just said tart in the first place. Then I wouldn't have been so confused. LOL Only problems now, I don't like apricots. I know, I know, there's no hope for me, right?

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Such beauty and love. You shine.

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, you are so very kind. If I could I would send a piece of this wonderful tart to you. Since I can't, I will take a few moments to describe it to you. The crust has a bit of tang from the cream cheese, the filling a bit more firm than pecan pie but is every bit as sweet and rich, the apricots became soft and plump while they simmered in orange juice, and the glaze provided an incredible sheen to the finished pie.

      I suppose that, in keeping with the flavor of the filling I should have used chopped almonds on top, but I happen to really LOVE macadamias, and for MY birthday "pie" I have it my way.

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by. You are an incredible friend.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Maybe just a strange unreliable truth that I have learned to trust. Where the French has sometime in holding land there is always great pastry. I think of Louisiana, Central Mexico and believe it or not Vietnam.

      You as usual dazzle me with your creativity and most wonderful way of making food do us, and not us do food. It is the true artist that allows the food to be the muse.