Cherry Frangipane Tart

My Raspberry Frangipane Tart is crustless and is an easy way to dive into a ground almond-based tart. This one, though, uses fresh cherries and has a zesty gluten-free pastry crust.

Make the most of the fresh cherry season by pairing them with almonds and nutmeg (all are perfect taste partners). My frangipane mixture adds GF flour so is more cake-like, and makes a delicious treat.

Serves: 12-16

Ingredients
For the pastry:

  • 200g gluten-free plain flour, plus additional for rolling
  • 1 unwaxed lemon: finely grated zest only (save juice for filling)
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, or mace
  • 90g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg, beaten (65-70g when weighed in its shell)
  • Vegetable oil or cold butter to grease tin

For the filling and garnish:

  • 350g fresh cherries (weighed before stoning)
  • 1 unwaxed lemon: juice only (see Pastry Ingredients)
  • 150g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 150g white or golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs (62-68g each when weighed in their shells), beaten
  • 100g gluten-free plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace or nutmeg; plus additional for garnish
  • Flaked almonds and icing sugar, to garnish

Kit

  • A fine citrus zester
  • A citrus juicer
  • 2 medium/large mixing bowls, plus 2 small bowls (for beaten egg and used baking beans)
  • Clingfilm
  • A round, loose-based pie/tart/flan tin: 23-25cm in diameter and at least 3cm deep
  • Baking/parchment paper
  • A rolling pin
  • Baking beans or beads for blind-baking
  • A pastry brush
  • A chopping board and sharp knife
  • An electric mixer (hand-held or stand) if you don’t want to whisk the filling by hand
  • Kitchen paper
  • A spatula
  • A sieve
  • A cooling rack

Steps
Making the pastry (see Pastry footnote):

  1. Mix the flour, lemon zest, icing sugar, ground almonds, and spice in a medium/large bowl. Add the cold butter and rub in with your fingers until you have a consistency like fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Add 1/4 of the beaten egg, and mix manually just until fully combined. Pull it together into a ball – if it seems too terribly crumbly, add a drop or two more of the egg just until the ball holds together. Flatten it into a thick disc and wrap in clingfilm. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 190 C (170 C fan-assisted). Lightly grease your tin and line with paper.
  4. Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin. Roll out the chilled dough approximately the thickness of a pound coin, to fit the tin so the pastry goes all the way up the sides. If you’re using a fluted tin, ensure the pastry is pushed into each nook and cranny through the paper. Lightly prick it all over with a fork.
  5. Cover the pastry case with baking paper, and pour in baking beads/beans. Blind-bake for 8 minutes, then remove from the oven. Tip out the beads/beans into a small bowl and discard the covering paper. Return the tin to the oven, and bake for 6 more minutes until the pastry’s evenly browned.
  6. Remove the tin from the oven, and brush the pastry all over with the rest of the beaten egg to seal it for the filling. Leave on a cooling rack.
  7. Turn the oven down to 180 C (160 C fan-assisted).

Making the filling and garnish:

  1. Stone the cherries, and quarter each fruit. Lay out on kitchen paper and cover with more paper to extract excess liquid.
  2. Whisk the sugar and butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs a bit at a time, whisking well all the time; then add the lemon juice and whisk at medium-high speed for 4 minutes. Sift in the flour, ground almonds, and nutmeg, and fold together gently.
  3. Splodge the frangipane over the pastry case and smooth the top. Sprinkle over the quartered cherries, and grate over some more fresh nutmeg (or, sprinkle some ground nutmeg/mace over).
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, turning the tin halfway through for even baking. When the centre springs back quickly from a light finger touch, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack.
  5. When the tart is fully cooled (at least an hour), dust with icing sugar and/or sprinkle with flaked almonds to garnish, before turning out.

Pastry Notes
You don’t want the dough to be too damp, even though wetter pastry is easier to handle – it can be really tough in the baked tart, and it can also shrink out of shape when baked. Err on the side of just a teeny bit too crumbly – you’ll work it together when you roll it out, and you can always patch up in the tin.

It takes MUCH less egg than you think it will – so start with only 1/4 of a large beaten egg.

Customising
You could easily make this recipe your own by using ground cinnamon, allspice, or ginger (instead of, or with, the mace/nutmeg). This would also be splendid with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or even finely diced apricots, peaches, or similar soft fresh fruit.

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