A little something from the French culinary repertoire today: a delicious Fig and Hazelnut Frangipane Tart, with a not too fruity fig filling.
Frangipane is actually named after the 16th century Italian nobleman Marquis Muzio Frangipani. The Marquis invented a bitter almond-scented fragrance which was used to perfume gloves while he was living in Paris. This inspired French pastry chefs, who then invented the recipe we know today. However the classic version has a base of crème pâtissière, with eggs, milk, butter, flour, and sugar. This was then mixed with ground almonds. Some sources claim that the actual perfume was added to the culinary mixture. Further enhancing the aroma and flavour. Information sourced from Bakepedia.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have long been an almond Frangipane lover and adore the original recipe. Occasionally though, it’s nice to update a classic. This seasonal tart is, in my opinion, a winning combination. Consisting of buttery pastry, sweet fig purée and a nutty cake filling. I haven’t added any plain flour to the frangipane, I don’t think it needs it. It also makes for a lighter crumb. Skinned hazelnuts are not always easy to find. If you can only source skin-on nuts, follow these instructions.
Place the nuts in a heat proof dish and bake in a pre-heated oven 180°C fan for 5-8 minutes. Next, tip the hot nuts into a slightly dampened tea-towel and rub the skins off using the towel. The skins should come away from the nuts fairly easily. Once you have ground the cooled nuts, the filling is very straight forward to make. The pastry recipe is my basic Swedish shortcrust, originally from this Apple Tart.
Now the question is, do you like it served with whipped or pouring cream? For me, it just has to be whipped.
Fig and Hazelnut Frangipane Tart
- 1 24cm loose bottom tart tin
- 150 g white spelt flour or plain, all purpose flour
- 80 g butter cold & diced
- 1 Tbls icing sugar
- 2 Tbls water ice cold
- 230 g fresh figs this is the total amount needed in the recipe
- 185 g approx fig trimmings
- 30 g sugar
- a squeeze lemon juice
- 90 g skinned hazelnuts
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 g caster sugar
- 110 g softened butter
- 2 eggs large
- Preheat the oven 180°C fan. Place the flour with a pinch of salt in a food processor with the butter, pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Now add the icing sugar and water. Pulse again until a dough forms. Don’t over mix. Remove from the food processor and shape into a ball and place in a freezer bag and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Grease the base of 24cm loose bottom pastry tin. Roll out the pastry and line the tin. Prick the base with a fork. Line the pastry case with parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for about 15 minutes, then remove the beans and parchment and cook for a further 5 minutes to dry out the base. Increase the oven temperature to 190°C fan.
- Slice all the figs, reserve 8 nice slices to decorating the tart. Place the remainder on a baking tray, sprinkle with the sugar, and lemon juice and a splash of water. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Blend to a smooth puree. Set aside to cool.
- Now grind the skinned hazelnuts in a blender until you have a fine meal. Set aside.
- To make the filling: whisk the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until really light and fluffy in the bowl of a free-standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Gradually add the egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Now stir in the ground hazelnuts.
- Spread the cooled fig puree on the base of the tart, followed by the frangipane mixture, place spoonfuls of the mixture evenly on top of the puree, then carefully spread it. Now place the fig slices on top.
- Bake the tart on the preheated baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 175°C and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the frangipane is set. serve warm, dusted with icing sugar.