Foodie

Monday, February 21, 2011

Apple Frangipane Tart

This tart has that perfect combination of buttery and crumbly pastry, sweet almond cream, and slices of apple. Apples are one of the more versatile fruits and in baking, it is important to use the right type of apple i.e. one that retains its shape when baked and Granny Smith Apples is the one.  They are readily available year round and their tart flavor and firm texture make them ideal not only for this tart, but in pies too..


Frangipane is the French name for a rich pastry filling/topping whose principal ingredient is ground almonds or almond paste.


Since i have a roll of almond paste which has been in the freezer begging to to used and i had to bake something for my daughter, sandra, to bring along for a dinner party.  Time was not with me as the request for something to bring was at an impluse.  Thinking that making this tart would be an easy and quick task but no, no, - the almond paste was hard as rock. How can i use it?  It needed to be softened, I tried using a meat mallet to break it, but it refused to budge.  Perhaps i should just throw it away but thinking that i paid an arm and a leg for it, i just can't see it going into the garbage bin.  Think, think fast and as i was going through all sorts of possiblities, i saw the steamer.  Yes, steam will softened this roll of rock, after all, it was only sugar and almond which has lost it's moisture.  So, in the steamer it went and after 15 minutes, it was nice and soft and ready.  Lucklly, it did not take that long for the almond paste to be pliable and anyway, the crust dough needed sometime to rest too in the fridge.  I made the tart in time for Sandra to bring to the dinner. 





Ingredients:


Pastry dough


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp (2 ozs) cold butter, cut into pieces
2 tbsp shortening
3 to 5 tbsp ice water









Method:

In food processor,pulse four and salt to mix.  Add in cold butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle ice water, 1 tbsp at a time and pulse twice, continue to add and pulse and stop adding water if the doguh is just moist enough to hold together.

Remove dough from food processor and shape into disk, wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate 30 minutes or up to overnight.(If chilled overnight, let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling).

On lightly flour surgace, with floured rolling pin, roll dough into 12 - 12 1/2 inch round.  Ease into 11 inch round tart mould with removable bottom.  Fold overhang in and press dough against side of mould so it extends 1/8 inch above rim.

Refrigerate or freeze until firm, 10 - 15 minutes. 

Ingredients:


Frangipane Filling:


1 tube (7 oz) almond paste, crumbled
4 tbsp(2 ozs) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Apple Topping:


1 1/4 lbs Granny Smith apples(about 3 medium)
1/4 cup apricot jam
1 tbsp almond-flavored liqueur
Almond Flakes.




Method:

Preheat oven to 425f.

Line tart shell with foil, fill with pie weights or dry beans.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove foil with weights, bake until golden, 5 - 10 minutes longer.  If shell puffs up during baking, gently press it down with back of spoon.  Transfer tart shell in pan to wire rack. 

Turn oven control to 375 f.

Meanwhile prepare filling.  In food processor, with knife blade attached, pulse almond paste, butter, sugar and salt until mixture is crumbly.  Add eggs and pulse until smooth, scraping bowl until rubber spatula, if necessary(there may be some tiny lumps).  Add flour and pulse just until combined.

Peel, halve and core apples.  Cut each half crosswise into very thin slices. 

Spoon almond filling into warm tart shell, spread evenly.

Arrange apple slices in concentric circles over filling, closely overlapping them.

Bake until apples are tender when pierced with tip of knife, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool slightly in mould on wire rack.

Meanwhile, microwave jam and liqueur until melted - 30 seconds at a time, stir.  Press jam mixture through sieve into a small bowl.

Brush jam mixture over warm apple slices and sprinkle with almond flakes. 

Finish cooling on wire rack.

When cool, carefully remove side of pan.

Serve tart at room temperature or refrigerate up to 1 day.  If tart is refrigerated, let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour before serving.

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