Frangipane is a velvety almond cream, enhanced with just a hint of vanilla, that gives any dessert delicious added richness and texture. The cream can be used in many different ways, including a filling for tarts, cakes, and pastries. Popular recipes are the Bakewell tart (a pastry shell filled with layers of frangipane, jam, and flaked almonds), the Conversation tart (filled puff pastry drizzled with royal icing), Pithivier (a puff pastry pie), and Jesuite (a triangular filled pastry).
The recipe has Italian origins (it is called frangipani in Italian), and its name stems from the phrase frangere il pane, meaning "that breaks the bread." There is more than one story as to how this recipe came about, but the one common thread is that it was derived from a member of the Frangipane family, a noble Roman family in the 11th century who, legend has it, distributed bread to the poor (hence their name).
One tale is that a female member of the family, Jacopa da Settesoli, was in service to St. Frances of Assisi, and on his deathbed brought him an almond treat she had made before and that he now requested—it was so named frangipane. Another story takes place in the 16th century—Marquis Muzio Frangipani, an Italian nobleman living in Paris, invented the bitter almond perfumed glove, a sought-after accessory said to be worn by Louis XIII. To take advantage of the glove's popularity, bakeries added almond flavoring to their pastry cream and called it frangipane.
The recipe is simple, and can be made with a few different methods—in the food processor, standing mixer, or by hand—but basically calls for adding all of the ingredients at once. This version offers instructions for using the mixer but feel free to try the other techniques if you would like.
- 3 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup ground almond meal
- 1 egg
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Place all ingredients in a standing mixer and blend until well mixed.
- This frangipane recipe makes enough almond cream for 1 large tart or several small tartlets.
If you choose to use the standing mixer, you can add the ingredients in stages, beginning with the butter and sugar, mixing until creamy. Then add the almond meal and mix to combine. Finish with the egg and vanilla and gently beat until all mixed in.
If you are starting with whole or chopped almonds, then you will want to to use the food processor. Begin by processing the almonds until a fine meal is formed, then add the remaining ingredients and process until well mixed.
If mixing by hand, you can either use softened butter or melt the butter first.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||77 g|
|Saturated Fat||26 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||35 g|
|Dietary Fiber||8 g|