In case you didn't guess *cough second almond-y post in a row cough sorry cough* I LOVE ALMOND EVERYTHING. So much so that I felt the need to type that sentence in caps lock.
I have a confession. Not so long ago I had no idea what frangipane was. Now as an almond fiend I find this rather embarrassing. All I knew was that it was almond-y. So one day, in order to rid myself of this frangipane-ignorance, I popped into Patisserie Valerie to purchase an Almond Frangipane Tart. I imagined this magical frangipane to be gooey, similar to melted marzipan, that sort of texture. Long story short, it wasn't. It was, excuse my French, a shit Bakewell tart with a fancy name. My oh my the disappointment Hannah and I faced when sharing said tart. Our faces were not unlike Orlando Bloom's face in every film he has ever done. Disgruntled, cheated and somewhat confused.
Obviously my first thought when I try something altogether crap and disappointing is 'I could bake something infinitely nicer than this' *arms crossed tightly over chest, face on me that rivals a three-year-old-paddy-thrower*. And that I did. Now this, ladies and gents, is how anything claiming to be an 'almond tart' should be!
This Marzipan Tart with Red Berries has a soft, crumbly, sweet almond shortcrust pastry base, a generous layer of sink-your-teeth-into marzipan, a lovely, light almond sponge topping and is decorated with juicy red berries whose tartness compliment this sweet almond-y delight just wonderfully.
I may have mentioned before that my Grandma is somewhat a traditionalist when it comes to baked goods, and I'm talking a "what on earth do you want to put yoghurt in a cake for?" kind of traditionalist. So my chuffedness (erm is that a word if not it should be) when she cheerily informed me that I could make her another one was well founded!
Anyway, if the photos, description and my Grandma's rather strong opinion (demand for more) doesn't persuade you to make this dangerously moreish tart then I don't know what will ;) Maybe I should invite you round for a slice and a cuppa!
This recipe is adapted from the cracking book Annie Bell's Baking Bible.
For the sweet almond shortcrust pastry:
100 g all-purpose plain flour
2 heaped tbsp ground almonds
2 heaped tbsp icing sugar
80 g unsalted butter
1 medium free-range egg, separated (yolk for pastry, white for almond sponge)
For the almond sponge filling:
200 g marzipan
50 g unsalted butter
70 g granulated sugar
2 medium free-range eggs (plus white from above)
1 tsp almond extract or flavouring
120 g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder
red berries to decorate
1. Pre heat oven to 170 degrees C. To make the pastry combine the flour, almonds and icing sugar in a mixing bowl and mix to incorporate all ingredients evenly.
2. Cube the butter and add it to the bowl. Using your best kitchen tool ie your fingers work the butter into the flour/almond/sugar mixture to form an evenly-butter-coated crumbly mixture.
3. Add the egg yolk and mix in with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth ball of dough.
4. On a floured surface, roll the dough to fit in a rectangular 14" x 5" tart tin. Gently place the dough in the tin, you may find it easier to sort-of-put-it-in and then rearrange the mess afterwards by pressing the dough into the tin with your fingers (this is most definitely what I ended up doing!). To smooth the surface of the base cover it in clingfilm and stroke it with your hands. I wont insult you by reminding you to then get rid of the clingfilm ;)
5. Take your slab of marzipan and roll it into a 1/2" deep rectangle that will fit in your pastry case. If it is a little big don't worry you can just fold the sides over - and hope you get that slice - because it will go gooey and sort itself out in the oven.
6. To make the almond sponge filling, cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Then beat in the two eggs plus the white saved from the pastry. Add a tsp of almond flavouring and mix well.
7. Chuck in the almonds and baking powder and fold them into the mixture, ensuring an even distribution. Spoon the filling into the pastry case and decorate with red berries, I used cherries and redcurrants, but feel free to use whatever you can get your hands on. It isn't the end of the world if you forget this step
like me and arrange them on top after the tart comes out of the oven hehe.
8. Bake for about 35 minutes until the tart is turning golden brown.
9. Serve, share, eat and ENJOY :) Your family and friends will thank you, mine certainly did!