I was making cherry and plum tarts for many years using sweet shortcrust pastry for the shell and frangipane filling. I initially made frangipane filling with just eggs, sugar and almond meal, without butter.
Later, I have adjusted frangipane recipe even more. I increased protein content and reduced fat, by replacing half of almond meal with cottage/ricotta cheese. It did not compromise the taste and texture of the tart at all. My family liked this modification so much, that I started to make whole cakes or muffins based on cottage cheese and almond meal mix frangipane. I make my own cottage cheese from buttermilk and milk for everyday use. When I make it for baking, I try to squeeze as much liquid as possible to have only solids from cottage cheese as the result. It gives soft and fluffy frangipane, which develops even better taste the next day and keeps the moist texture without drying out for 3-4 days.
The recipe of the sweet pastry shell is the same that I use for making biscuits. The quantity of the sweet pastry from biscuit’s recipe is enough to make 2 tart cases with 24cm round, or 29cm x 18cm rectangular loose base tart pan.
Since I have discovered all the advantages of buckwheat crust, I use it to make different frangipane tarts. The ratio of ingredients in the recipe for the shortcrust is the same, but depending on the texture and colour of the shell I want to achieve, I use buckwheat flour, buckwheat kernels I grind myself, or 1:1 mix of buckwheat flour and millet or rice flour.
Buckwheat coarse flour from buckwheat kernels for Lemon tart
or dairy free version of buckwheat shortcrust for Lemon curd tartlets
I used buckwheat and rice flour mix (1:1) shortcrust in Cherry and frangipane tart (recipe for this shortcrust in published in Jaffa cakes blog post).
Gluten free shortcrust pastry with buckwheat as an ingredient is very easy to make and roll, it has better and more structurally solid texture, it tastes better and what is a complete bonus, no gums have to be added to the dough to stay together. Buckwheat crust in that regard is the healthiest gluten free crust with no additives and no starches used. Gluten free wholegrain crust from buckwheat has amazingly wide range of applications in various gluten free bakes.
- gluten free sweet shortcrust pastry (1/2 of the pastry from the recipe)
- 200-250g fresh pitted cherries
- 2 eggs separated
- 100g sugar
- 10g vanilla sugar or 1 coffee spoon of vanilla paste
- 150g cottage cheese, as dry as possible
- 100g almond meal
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 table spoons od sliced almonds
- gluten free icing sugar for dusting
I never tried to use commercial cottage cheese available in major Australian supermarkets. The best replacement for cottage cheese in this recipe would be ricotta cheese. Make sure to eliminate extra liquid, if the piece of ricotta cheese is too wet.
- make sweet shortcrust pastry as in recipe, use half of it
- roll the pastry on dusted surface to 4-5mm thickness to the shape of your tart pan
- blind bake tart shell for 15 min in preheated to 170 degrees fan forced oven
- let the shell rest and cool down
- beat egg whites adding half of the sugar in portions until stiff peaks form
- beat egg yolks with remaining half of the sugar, add cottage cheese and mix until fully combined on low speed
- mix in half of almond meal
- add one big spoon of egg whites, mix it in loosening the mixture
- add remaining almond meal, mix
- carefully fold egg whites
- spread frangipane mixture into tart shell, insert fresh cherries, sprinkle with sliced almonds
- bake at preheated 170 degrees fan forced oven for 40-45 min until the surface is lightly brown
- release the tart from the tray bottom when cool
- dust with icing sugar
- serve with vanilla cream and Morello cherry sauce (optional)
For the baking product with the filling where butter is absent, it keeps remarkably well. It does not go stale, and to my personal taste the tart is at its best on the second and third days when the flavours of vanilla, lemon and cherry come through.
Topping the tart with sliced almonds is optional. I do not always use them, especially when instead of cherries I use plums. These tarts can be served with fresh berries instead of sauces which I usually do in summer. However, sliced almonds together with icing sugar dusting give any tart the most pretty look.