I have just submitted the above photo to a food photography competition in Observer Food Monthly. The competition asks people to send in pictures of their favourite comfort food to get them through the winter. Well, it would be difficult to get through the winter without pudding. This is the ideal combination of comforting stodginess from the rich almond frangipane, and a hint of freshness from the tangy raspberries and sweet apricots, reminding us that summer is not too far away.
It seems to have been constantly raining for weeks on end, and we’re only now starting to see anything resembling clement weather. A day slowly pottering around in front of a warm oven seems a fitting antidote to the rain. I wanted to make something that I had all the ingredients in the house for, to save braving the raging storm outside. I found a tin of apricots in the cupboard that were (just) within their expiry date, and an icy cluster of raspberries in the freezer, from when the plants in the garden were fit to bursting in the summer.
I decided to make a tart, as the last time I made one was the Rhubarb and Custard Crumble Tart, which was the first recipe on the blog almost a year ago. When working at the café, I discovered the joys of frangipane – an Italian pastry cream made with eggs, sugar, butter and ground almonds. It’s really easy to make, unlike the more troublesome crème patisserie, as you just mix all the ingredients together and pour it into the pastry case. And the result is not bad for a casual bit of rainy-day baking.
For the pastry:
120g butter, softened
50g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
200g plain flour
For the frangipane:
100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp flaked almonds
Fruit of your choice, fresh or tinned – I used ½ tin apricots and a handful of thawed raspberries.
I used a fluted tart tin, approx. 30cm in diameter and 4cm deep.
First, make the pastry. Cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy, then mix in the egg and flour until the mixture comes together into a ball. Wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 mins to make it easier to handle. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the tin with the pastry dough, I find it works well to cut off slivers of the dough, then push it into the tin. Prick the base with a fork, and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the frangipane. Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs, ground almonds and vanilla extract until all is incorporated. Remove the pastry case from the oven and pour in the frangipane. Slice the apricots in half and arrange them on top of the frangipane, allowing them to sink down. Dot the raspberries in amongst the apricots, and sprinkle over the flaked almonds. Lower the oven to 160C, and bake the tart for 25-30 minutes, until the frangipane is golden brown and set. Serve warm with cream.