Happy Christmas Eve! I’m leaving you with one last recipe to bake for your festivities tomorrow and it’s a reeeeelly good one. Apples and oranges are my favourite winter fruit and together, they make a delicious combination in this frangipane tart. Buttery, rich, packed with almonds and citrusy bursts, this is a complete showstopper!
Frangipane is a sweet, rich filling made with eggs and ground almonds. It sounds all fancy, but is actually quite straightforward once you begin putting it all together. I liked this Food52 recipe with a traditional buttery and egg crust that is just pressed into the pan. But you can also make a regular pie crust, roll it out, and fill it with frangipane. Wood and Spoon does it this way and I loved the idea of topping the tart with apples.
The apples are just added in thin slices to the top of the tart before baking. They soften and break down a little bit, releasing some juices which create a soft, gooey filling that is so so so delicious! The almonds are incredible and you can use just grind up some whole almonds or use store-bought almond meal. Almond flour would be too fine for this tart, you need a little bit of coarseness in the frangipane. It goes beautifully with the crust, the bite from the apples and sliced almonds on top and the little bit of citrus from the orange. So yum!
Because this tart has eggs in the crust and the filling, I was worried the final result would be too eggy. There’s vanilla in there of course, but I also added some cinnamon and homemade orange marmalade to the filling! The citrus flavour masks any egg flavours and of course, orange in anything is amazing. You could also just use orange zest. While making the crust, I also used orange juice instead of water to bring the dough together. It’s a small change but one that makes a world of difference.
Brushing the top of the tart with melted marmalade after baking adds some shine to the apples, keeps them from drying out and the bits of orange peel add a little burst of colour. My Mom made the marmalade herself and it’s really quite incredible!
The crust is rich, buttery and denser than a regular pie crust so if you prefer, go with a regular base like this one. Also remember to lightly grease the dish, which ordinarily, I never do for pie crusts, but this one is softer and stickier and greasing helps to get neater slices. I learned this the hard way!
I hope you’ll try this tart for the holidays! Let me know how you like it. Have a lovely, lovely Christmas everyone!
- For the crust
- 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- ⅓ cup caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 125 gms cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes (9 tbsps)
- 1 egg yolk (save the white for the filling)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsps cold orange juice
- For the frangipane filling
- 85 gms unsalted butter, soft (6 tbsps)
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 1 egg, plus one egg white
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp orange marmalade
- ¾ cup ground almonds (from about ½ cup whole almonds)
- 2 tsps flour
- 1 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- Pinch of salt
- For the topping
- 1 to 2 apples, thinly sliced (I left the peel on for some colour)
- 2 tbsps sliced almonds
- 1 tbsp orange marmalade, melted
- First, make the crust. Mix the flour, cinnamon, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub it in with your fingertips till you have a coarse breadcrumb-like mixture with bits of butter the size of peas.
- Light whisk the egg yolk and vanilla together in a small bowl and add it to the flour mixture. Stir it in, then add the orange juice and bring the dough together gently. It should clump together between your fingers so if it feels dry, add a bit more juice.
- Lightly grease a 9 inch pie/tart dish. Tip the dough into it and using your fingers or the back of a measuring cup, press the dough firmly into the dish, taking it up to the sides as well. Make sure it's of even thickness everywhere. Place the dish in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190 C. Bake the tart crust for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool at room temperature. Turn the oven down to 175 C.
- To make the filling, beat the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, egg white, vanilla and marmalade. Beat to combine.
- Now combine the almonds, flour, cornflour, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl, then add to the butter-egg mixture. Stir gently to combine and your frangipane filling is done!
- Make sure your tart base is lukewarm before adding the filling in and spreading it out evenly (the butter will just melt away if the tart is still hot, been there done that!)
- Arrange the sliced apples in small clusters across the top of the filling, or in concentric circles (you may need more apples in this case). Sprinkle with the sliced almonds.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then cover with foil and lower the temperature to 150 C. Continue baking for another 15 to 20 mins until the tart is browned on the top, the filling feels firm (but not hard) and you may see some apple juices bubbling on the top. A toothpick poked in the center should come out a few moist, but not wet crumbs. The apples will make certain spots of the filling more gooey than the rest, it's perfectly fine. I didn't realise how quickly this tart browned, so use your judgement to lower the temperature earlier on if needed.
- Let the tart cool at room temperature, then brush with the melted marmalade before slicing and serving with whipped cream. Chilling the tart makes it easier to slice through the apples, but leave it out to soften a bit before eating. Store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Happy baking and a happier Christmas to you!
*Instead of the marmalade, you can also the zest of two oranges.
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