Thursday, 18 July 2013

Cherry Frangipane Tarts

As I sit here gazing wistfully out into the evening sun my heart warms at the thought of all that summer has to offer, from walks along the beach to barbecues with friends. Whatever you have planned for the sunny season, these little frangipane tarts will be a welcome addition to your picnic basket, with crumbly buttery pastry, fragrant almond frangipane and sweet, sharp fruit. I've used cherry jam and morello cherries in kirsch, but the recipe is very flexible. You can use apricots, raspberries, strawberries, even rhubarb or plums. The choice is yours...

For the pastry
100g Unsalted Butter (Cold and in cubes)
200g Plain Flour
1tbsp Icing Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
2tsp Cold Water

For the filling
6hpd Teaspoons of Black Cherry Jam
100g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
100g Caster Sugar
100g Ground Almonds
2tsp Almond Extract
2 Egg Yolks
18 Cherries in Kirsch
25g Flaked Almonds

2tbsp Icing Sugar
1tsp Water

It may seem like there's a few components to this but I promise it's a very easy recipe. If you have individual mini tart cases then it's time to dust them off but if not don't fear, I use a Yorkshire pudding tin!

First up is the pastry. Rub the cold butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar, egg yolks and water, then mix with a wooden spoon. As the mixture begins to form get your hands in there and bring it together to a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up a bit.

Whilst the dough is chilling you can make the frangipane filling. Cream together the butter and sugar, the add the almonds, almond extract and yolks. Mix until evenly combined, then set to one side until the pastry is ready.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and grease 6 small tart tins or a 6 cup Yorkshire pudding tray. Unwrap the chilled pastry and on a floured surface roll it out thinly. Divide into six and line each tin with the pastry, pressing the dough up the sides until it overlaps the edge slightly. You can re-roll the pastry if necessary and use any spare to repair any cracks or breaks. Spread a heaped teaspoon of jam into the bottom of each, then blob some of the frangipane on top and smooth to the edges. You won't need a massive amount of frangipane as it does expand a little during baking. Stud 3 cherries into each filled tart and scatter over a few flaked almonds. Place the tarts into the oven for 25-30 minutes, until evenly brown on top, then remove from the oven and leave in the tins on a wire rack until cool.

Trim any excess pastry from the edge of each tart, then carefully remove from their tins. Mix together the icing sugar and water until smooth and glossy, then drizzle over each of the cooled tarts. And there you go, all finished. Time to get the picnic basket ready.

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