I must admit that the reason that drew me to this tart was partly because of a recent frangipane that I had at Tiong Bahru Bakery. For my readers who are not living in Singapore, this is a fairly new bakery by Gontran Cherrier, a Parisian artisan boulanger.
I was very disappointed with the products that they have on display – they just didn’t look the way they should. The crossiants were pale and lack colour, the laminations were not spectacular either . They also had a range of simple tarts and I was drawn to grapefruit and orange frangipane tart because I have not had grapefruit and orange on a frangipane tart before. However, the tart failed to deliver in two important aspects – colour wise, its tart shell was not “French brown” as my chefs in Le Cordon Bleu would have liked; taste wise, it wasn’t crumbly and “short”. Disappointments aside, it gave me the impetus to bake a (better) frangipane tart.
I started off with my favourite pâte sablé recipe but replaced the zest of a lemon with zest of a grapefruit instead (I got this tip from a friend. Grapefruit zest gives it a more pronounced flavour as compared to lemon zest.). This pâte sablé recipe produces a wonderfully buttery and crumbly tart base and it’s a rather easy dough to work with.
Since I was able to line quite a couple of tart shells, I decided to do one half with fresh grapefruit and orange segments and the other half with macerated strawberries. I love strawberries and this time I decided to do as little as possible to draw out its flavours yet not do too much that would spoil the integrity of the fruit. I also like how maceration makes the strawberries look glossy, shiny and inviting. I think this article from Saveur magazine explains maceration and how it works well. I especially like this quote – maceration helps “the fruit becomes a greater version of itself”.
I think I’ll be making these tarts a lot more often. What draws me to them is the vivid and bright colours – how visually appealing, don’t you think? Taste-wise, they are close to perfection as well. Crumbly tart bases…moist almond frangipane…and the burst of fresh fruits.
I don’t know about you, but I believe that I would be more than happy to have this every weekend!
P.S have a lovely weekend!
Recipe: Frangipane tarts
Pâte sucrée (Sweet tart dough):
Please refer to my previous post for the recipe. As mentioned earlier in the post, you can replace lemon zest with grapefruit zest in the dough.
Do *blind-bake the tarts (with baking beans or uncooked rice/beans) at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes until cooked through and slightly golden.
*Blind-baking refers to the partial cooking for tart bases. It seals the surface of the tart bases and thus preventing the bases from becoming soggy.
Step 1: Line the base and sides of an uncooked pastry case with non-stick baking paper. Fill with rice, dried beans, or metal or ceramic baking weights. (This stops the pastry base rising during cooking.) Place on a baking tray and cook in an oven preheated to 220°C for 8-10 minutes.
Step 2: Remove the pastry case from the oven and remove the baking paper and rice, dried beans or baking weights. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes (depending on the size of the pastry case) or until light golden.
Recipe from Le Cordon Bleu
This recipe fills one 14-inch long rectangular tart mould and two 4.5 inch long rectangular tart moulds. You can use this filling with macerated strawberries and citrus fruits like I did or how about trying it with plums, apples, figs or pears?
100g unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature
100g caster sugar
100g ground almonds/almond meal
44g plain flour
optional: 1 tbsp grand marnier
1. Cream the butter and sugar together using the paddle attachment – until pale and light.
2. Gradually add in eggs, and continue to mix until well incorporated.
3. Lastly add in the dry ingredients and mix at low speed until well incorporated. Add in grand marnier at this point, if you wish.
4. Fill the pre-baked tarts with the frangipane filling. Use a small palette knife to spread it smoothly. Do not overfill it as the frangipane mixture will rise a little during baking.
5. Bake at 175 degrees celcius, in a pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes for medium sized tarts. When it’s done, it should have a beautiful golden brown colour and it should spring back to touch.
*Tip: If you have extra frangipane filling left, you can store it in the refrigerator for one week. Do store it in an air tight container with cling wrap touching the frangipane. Do let it thaw at room temperature until it is softened before using it.
These strawberries glisten seductively under light and they are extremely juicy and sweet. Have them on its own or serve them with a dollop of chantilly cream. It’s a very easy recipe and the quantities are just a guideline – you can add them to taste.
450g fresh strawberries
5 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
4 tbsp grand marnier
Optional: grated lemon zest
1. Quarter the strawberries and mix all the ingredients in a bowl until uniform. Cling wrap the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to an hour. The berries should start to look glossy, syrupy and slightly softened.
To assemble strawberry frangipane tarts:
1. Allow for frangipane tarts to cool completely before spooning the macerated strawberries onto the top. Try not to spoon the liquid that is left from the maceration onto the tart.
To assemble the grapefruit and orange frangipane tarts:
1. Cut away the membrane and piths of the citrus fruits and cut them into segments. Here’s a step-by-step photo guide by Brian from his food and photography blog, A thought for food that will help you with this task.
2. Arrange them neatly in rows onto the top of the tart. This effect works best on a rectangular tart.
3. Use a +neutral glaze or a apricot glaze and brush it on top of the fruits as this will protect them from spoilage and at the same time, make them look more inviting.
+ You can find neutral glaze at specialty baking stores. Or how about making your own by using a neutral jam (I like to use apricot). Boil a spoonful or two of apricot jam with two splashes of water until it starts to bubble. Stir it before using a pastry brush to brush your fruits. Do use it when it is hot off the stove.