Monday, June 23, 2014

Cherry Frangipane Tart with Pate Sucree

Cherry Frangipane Tart with Cookie Dough Crust
A few days ago I made a Cherry Frangipane Tart, which was delicious, no question. When I made it, I used a simple roll cookie dough for the crust; great also. When I was making the decision to use a cookie dough for a crust, I also was considering trying a Pâte Sucrée; French for "sweet pastry". In actuality, a Pâte Sucrée falls somewhere between regular pastry or pie dough and cookie dough in sweetness and richness.

Sweetness Factor

When making different recipes for a plain pie pastry, some of the recipes use a little sugar in them though most do not. The recipe I usually make, Never Fail Pie Crust, does call for a couple tablespoons of sugar, though it is not necessary for a great outcome. If making a savory tart, pie or galette, I leave the sugar out. For a Pâte Sucrée, I have seen recipes with as little as 2 teaspoons of sugar and up to 1/2 cup for a recipe for 2 tart pastries. The amount of sugar is certainly varied.

Richness Factor

Very simple pie pastry is made from flour, some kind of fat, whether shortening, butter or lard, salt and water. They can get fancier, calling for sugar, egg, vinegar, buttermilk and other enriching ingredients. My Never Fail Pie Crust calls for sugar, egg and vinegar. The type of fat involved is strictly up to individual taste, though there is always the crispness and flakiness that will depend on the fat used. A Pâte Sucrée nearly always has egg and sometime just egg yolks to enrich the dough, and I have not yet seen a recipe that calls for anything but butter as the fat used. Butter obviously imparts wonderful flavor and tenderness, but without the flakiness of shortening or lard.
Cherry Frangipane Tart with Pâte Sucrée Crust

And then the Vodka Factor

Much more recently, I read an article on Food 52 (though originally from Cook's Illustrated), where they described a most wonderful way to help out making a very flaky pastry: substitute 1/2 the liquid called for in the pastry recipe with vodka. The reasoning is that once water or other liquids are added to a pie pastry, any manipulation of the dough will begin to work the gluten. Too much working of gluten and the pastry will be tough. Substituting half the liquid amount with vodka will help out with the overworking of the gluten, but it also has the good grace to evaporate out of the crust while baking, leaving behind a far more crisply flaky finished pastry. Using the vodka is not a necessity. If not using, simply use all water for this recipe.
Cherry Frangipane Tart with Pâte Sucrée Crust

Pâte Sucrée

makes two 9.5-inch tart shells

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter in small cubes
1 egg +1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon cold vodka

In the bowl of a food processor, pour in the flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Alternatively, mix these ingredients in a bowl. Add the cubed butter to the food processor and pulse until well blended, or cur butter into the flour mixture by hand with a fork or pastry blender. Mix together the egg and yolk and pour into the processor while running, then stop to check consistency. Mix the water and vodka together and dribble in a small amount. Pulse the mixture a few times. If it is coming together, stop and do not add more. If needed, dribble in a bit more water and vodka until the mixture just holds together. Turn out onto a counter and bring the mass together. Divide into two portions and wrap each portion well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to three days. The pastry may also be frozen for up to 2 months, giving the option of making another tart at a moment's notice. Thaw on the counter for 1 - 2 hours until pliable before using.

This pastry may be blind baked: fit the pastry to the tart pan, trim the edges. Place a sheet of foil into the pastry, fitting it gently all the way to the edges and corners. Fill with dry beans or other pie weights and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, lift out foil and pie weights and return to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Cool before using.

The New Cherry Tart

I made the Pâte Sucrée dough last evening, pulling it out to work with this morning. The dough was beautifully pliable, rolled easily and went into the tart pan with no difficulties. When eating the last Cherry Frangipane Tart, I considered that I might have left the cherries whole, instead of slicing them in half. The tart was really excellent, but I just wanted more cherries in a cherry tart. So, in addition to using a different crust recipe, I also left the pitted cherries whole in this new version. The third thing I did differently was with the Frangipane filling. In the last couple of instances when I needed a frangipane filling, I used almond flour or almond meal. This time I didn't have quite enough, so I went back to making it from scratch: I brought whole, raw almonds to a boil for 1 minute, drained them and removed the skins. I set them on paper toweling to dry off a bit, then into the food processor with the sugar in the recipe to process the almonds finely. It seems to me that this way yielded more volume of almonds than the 1 cup I allowed for with the almond meal. This could be just because the almonds had been boiled and were a bit waterlogged still. 

With the recipe for Pâte Sucrée making 2 tarts worth, I used the second half of the pastry to line four 5-inch tart pans. I had two peaches in the refrigerator, and wanted to try them out in a tart. As I only had 2 peaches to work with I could only make two of the small peach tarts. I set the pastry lined small tart pans in the freezer along with the large one for the cherry tart. When making the frangipane, I doubled the basic recipe, up to the added flavorings/liquids and then divided it into two separate bowls. For the cherry tart, I used only 1 tablespoon of Kirsch and 1 tablespoon of water, along with some almond extract. To the other half I added 1 teaspoon of Matcha Green Tea powder, 1 tablespoon of water, 1 tablespoon of apricot brandy and 1/2 teaspoon of peach flavoring. This yielded a nice green frangipane, which I thought would make a nice backdrop for the bright orange peaches.

Cherry Frangipane Tart with Pâte Sucrée

makes one 9.5-inch tart
From the oven: Cherry Frangipane Tart with
Pâte Sucrée


1/2 recipe Pâte Sucrée (above), chilled at least 2 hours
1 pound Bing cherries, pitted

FRANGIPANE:
3/4 cup (4 ounces) almonds
2/3 cup  (4.6 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons  (2 ounces) melted, unsalted butter
1 large egg + 1 yolk
1 tablespoons Kirsch or other liquid

1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon almond
extract or cherry flavoring 


PASTRY: Roll the chilled Pâte Sucrée to fit a tart pan with removable rim and trim edges. Set the pan onto a baking sheet and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. Line the partially frozen pastry with foil and fill the bottom with dry beans or other pastry weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and lift out the foil and weights and allow to cool while making the frangipane.

FRANGIPANE: Blanch almonds in boiling water to cover for 1 minute. Drain and slip off skins. Place almonds in a food processor with the sugar and process until fine. Whisk together the egg and yolk with the Kirsch, water, flavoring and melted butter. Add this mixture to the processor until well combined. Spread this mixture into the bottom of the cooled crust. 

Set the cherries onto the frangipane. Bake the tart in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the frangipane is set and the crust is golden.  

NOTE: This pastry can also be used to fit to a pie pan for making a sweet pie.

Peach Matcha Frangipane Tartlet with Pâte Sucrée

Peach Matcha Frangipane Tartlets

makes four 5-inch tarts

1/2 recipe Pâte Sucrée (above), chilled at least 2 hours
4 peaches, peeled and sliced

FRANGIPANE:
3/4 cup (4 ounces) almonds
2/3 cup  (4.6 ounces) sugar

1 teaspoon Matcha Green Tea Powder (optional)
2 tablespoons  (2 ounces) melted, unsalted butter
1 large egg + 1 yolk
1 tablespoons Apricot or Peach Brandy or other liquid

1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon almond or peach flavoring


PASTRY: Roll the chilled Pâte Sucrée to fit a tart pan with removable rim and trim edges. Set the pan onto a baking sheet and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375.

FRANGIPANE: Blanch almonds in boiling water to cover for 1 minute. Drain and slip off skins. Place almonds in a food processor with the sugar and Matcha and process until almonds are very fine. Whisk together the egg and yolk with the Apricot Brandy, water,  flavoring and melted butter. Add this mixture to the processor until well combined. Spread this mixture into the bottom of the frozen tart shells. 

Set the peach slices onto the frangipane. Bake the small tarts set onto a baking sheet in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 35 minutes, or until the frangipane is set and the crust is golden. 

NOTE:  If Matcha Green Tea Powder is not available, simply make this into Peach Frangipane Tartlets. This frangipane would also be wonderful made with pistachios instead of almonds. Follow the same procedure.




My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies. 

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