By Matthew Lau
Keeping with the theme of faith and science, the recipe in this month’s issue involves the art of baking. Baking, simply put, is a science. Each ingredient holds its importance in a recipe, and accuracy is essential to achieve the intended product in all its glory. But be patient, baking is a labour of love that is worth its weight it gold when you and your companions get to munch into the delicious goods.
This frangipane recipe involves a degree of care and finesse, particularly when it comes to rolling and blind-baking your sweet pastry. Feel free to substitute homemade pastry dough for supermarket bought if you wish to save time – just remember to allow your pastry to be at room temperature for ease of rolling.
Treats like these tartlets are perfect for dinner parties or high tea. They are real crowd pleasers that can be made in advance before your guests arrive.
You can even convince yourself that it is somewhat heathy, seeing as it has fruit on top! Frangipane tarts are suitable all year round; our tip for you is to use seasonal fruits. You can go for mixed berries, some sliced kiwifruit, or durian for those more daring.
Makes enough filling for four small 10cm (4 inch) tarts
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 14 minutes
- 90g unsalted butter, softened
- 90g caster sugar, plus an extra teaspoon for decorating
- 2 eggs
- 100g almond meal
- 15g plain flour
- 15g icing sugar
- A pinch of fine salt
- 4 small plain pastry tart shells (store-bought, or see below to make your own)
- Your choice of assorted fruit
Makes enough for four small 10cm (4 inch) tarts
Prep time: 15 minutes (plus chilling and rolling time)
Baking time: 13 minutes
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 50g icing sugar
- 1 small egg, whisked
- Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 200g plain flour
- Canola cooking spray
- Place the softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a hook attachment, beat on a medium speed until creamy and soft.
- Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the soft icing mixture a little at a time until completely incorporated.
- Add the egg and vanilla, then slowly add the flour.
- Mix on high setting for a few minutes so it forms into a dough and firms up.
- Tightly wrap in cling film.
- Chill in the fridge for two hours. You can leave it overnight if you are making this ahead of time. The dough will need time to come to room temperature before you roll it out.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C fan-forced.
- Lightly spray your tart tins with canola oil (or grease them with softened butter).
- Divide your pastry into 90g balls, roll each one out with a rolling pin to a 5mm thickness.
- Run your rolling pin over each tart tin so any overhanging pastry is trimmed off and you have a clean edge (leftover bits of pastry can be reused for more tartlets, or baked as biscuits with your added flavouring of choice).
- Poke a few holes in the base of each tart with a fork.
- Cut out four squares of baking paper, each big enough to cover a tart tin.
- Fill the lined tart tins with baking rice, then blind bake for six minutes.
- Remove the baking paper and baking rice, then return the tart shells to the over for a further seven minutes until slightly golden, then allow to cool completely in their tins on a wire rack.
- While your tart shells are baking, make your frangipane cream.
- Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment over a medium speed until soft, then add the caster sugar and continue to beat until and fluffy.
- Add one eggs at a time until fully incorporated.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients (except the fruit) to the bowl and mix on high speed to one minute.
- Divide the mixture between the par-baked tart shells.
- Bake for four minutes, then sprinkle the extra caster sugar on top of each tart. Return the tarts to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden.
- Allow the tart to cool, then dust with icing sugar and top with your fruits of choice and edible flowers if desired.