A couple of weeks back I was lucky enough to be invited to a sparkling wine tasting party. My friend Tasha and a few of her girl friends had joined the Chandon wine club. When a shipment arrived they all got together to share.
I’d done some research to come up with what would pair with sparkling wine. Shortbread. Almond. Fruit. All three of my favorites. However the combo – an apple or pear tart was not something I’d ever made before. But this turned out to not be a problem. I found the perfect recipe on the Joy of Baking website that produced a perfect tart on the first try.
It is a free-form tart, so requires less than perfect crust shaping skills. And frangipane! Where have you been all my life? A delectable combo of almond meal, butter, sugar, egg and vanilla that I would have eaten by the spoonful if I did not need to make a tart. Tasha and I tested the first “practice” tart and found it to be a winner. The crust has a nice buttery shortbread texture, just a bit of sweetness and salt. Then the sweet, almond frangipane layer, topped with granny smith and a sprinkle of white and brown sugars and sliced almonds. It was the perfect combo tart and sweet.
The tasting party was lots of fun. Two bottles of bubbly, a yummy pot luck dinner and new lady-friends to meet. Unfortunately the bubbly was all gone by the time we got around to eating tart. Not that any one minded. It was a lovely, not too sweet end to a great evening.
Sugar Mamma Rating: Money
Make this tart for your next dinner party. It looks way impressive with very little effort. However, make sure you plan to eat it the same day you make it.
Apple Frangipane Tart
Adapted from Joy of Baking
Note: Almond meal is available in the grocery store, with the specialty flours and grains in the baking section.
Frangipane (Almond Cream):
1/2 cup chopped blanched or natural almonds (can use almond meal)
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/2 cup butter, cold, cut into pats
1/8 to 1/4 cup ice water
3 large Granny Smith Apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1tablespoon granulated white sugar
1tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup sliced almonds
Frangipane: Combine flour, almonds or almond meal, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely ground. Then add the rest of the ingredients and process until you have a smooth paste. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Pie Crust: Combine the flour, salt, and sugar and in the bowl of a food processor. Process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds)
With the processor running, pour water in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube until the pastry just holds together when pinched. Turn the pastry out onto the counter and shape into a ball, cover and refrigerate for about one hour or until firm. Once the pastry has chilled sufficiently, remove from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12 inch circle. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the apples.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Assemble Tart: Remove the chilled pastry from the refrigerator and spread the frangipane evenly over the crust, leaving a 2 inch border. Arrange the apple slices evenly over the frangipane layer, leaving a 2 inch border of crust. Fold the border of pastry up and over the apples (sealing any cracks) and brush the pastry crust with a little cream. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of sugar (half white, half brown) and sliced almonds over the crust and apples.
Bake the tart for 50 to 60 minutes or until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Serve either warm or room temperature, preferable the same day you bake. Delish with vanilla ice cream, but we just gobbled up the slices with our hands like it was pizza; yummy almond apple tart pizza.