Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A sweet beginning in the form of a Plum Frangipane Tart

I have always wanted to bake with plums although I don't enjoy them! But everyone else at home loves 'em and besides, plums do bake very well, and they're equal substitutes to peaches and apricots. They can be really tart or really sweet, and from my experience, that really depends on where it's been cultivated. I think the Australian ones are sweet enough. Oh and plums are an amazing source of dietary fiber to the human body!

On a trip to the market with mom yesterday, our regular fruit stall had heaps of plums with a tag that read "Sweet & Juicy Australian Plums", they were medium sized, nice and firm and I came home with a bag full of 'em =) While paying I already knew just what was I going to bake up with them! A plum frangipane tart. Frangipane is an almond cream/filling which when baked becomes a golden cushion that encases a warm nutty texture and yumminess!!

This almond filling recipe is adapted from my French Pastry class and modified to my style and the short crust pastry recipe is my own after many many trial and error sessions!


For the Tart Base
Short Crust Pastry - Pate Brisee (my own recipe)
*recipe is just nice for a 7inch pie/tart pan

1 1/2 cups plain flour
113g butter, very cold and cubed
2tbsp caster sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/2 egg + 1/2tsp vanilla extract, lightly beaten (optional, it makes the pastry a little less crumbly)
2 to 3tbsp cold water


1. Combine all ingredients except for the cold water and egg in a big bowl and start to rub the butter between your thumb and fingers into the flour until mixture crumbles resembling a course meal with pea sized butter bits. This process should be done in less than 5 minutes, making sure that the butter doesn't melt in the warmth of your hands.
2. At this point, drizzle a 1 - 2tbsp cold water and knead lightly until dough comes together. If mixture is still crumbly, drizzle in another tbsp of cold water. Stop kneading, do not knead for more than 30 seconds. (if using egg, drizzle in before cold water).
3. Bring dough together, wrap in cling film and into the fridge for at least an hour.
4. After an hour (at this point, preheat your oven to 180c), take dough out of fridge, thaw for about 5 minutes. Roll dough (I roll them between cling wraps which I strongly suggest as it prevents cracking, sticking to the surface and the rolling pin) as thin or thick as desired while making sure it is the right size of a removable bottom tart/pie pan. Transfer into your pan, lightly press into sides and dork pastry with a fork.
5. Blind bake (baking without any filling) for about 5 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool slightly.
*(step 1 - 2 can be prepared in the food processor as well)

For the filling

60g butter, room temperature
60g caster sugar
1/2 egg, lightly beaten
1/4tsp vanilla extract
80g almond meal
1tbsp plain flour
1 sweet and firm plum, pitted and sliced (or peaches/apricots)


1. With an electric beater, cream butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy.
2. Add in egg and vanilla, stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined.
3. Stir in almond meal and flour until mixture is nicely combined.
4. Evenly spread almond filling into the blind baked pastry shell making sure there are no empty spot. Arrange sliced plums ringing around the almond filling.
5. Into the oven of 180c and bake for about 25 mins or until the filling and pastry is golden brown.
6. Allow to cool, remove the ring of your pan, slice and BON APPETIT!

This is really a hassle free and a mishap free recipe, you couldn't possibly go wrong with it!

Although, as I've mentioned earlier, I don't fancy plums..but this is my idea of a perfect tea time delight =)


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