Gluten Free Frangipane Tart with Buckwheat Crust

I have made sweet shortcrust dough from buckwheat flour countless times now. I used different brands of buckwheat flour, different sources of fat, including lard, I mixed buckwheat flour with millet flour, and even made my own flour from raw buckwheat. It is the easiest gluten free shortcrust to make and to work with, it is also the tastiest I have ever tried. It’s time to use it for frangipane tart.

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My regular readers know that I never use butter to make frangipane. I use either cottage/ricotta cheese or thick fruit puree to replace butter. I like the texture they give to frangipane filling, and I also prefer the new taste, which has more intense flavour. In technical terms this tart can be considered as bakewell tart, because I used homemade plum preserve, topped with fresh apples, to make a layer between the crust and frangipane filling. I like to use sour, tart jams to enhance the flavours yet again.

Ingredients:

sweet buckwheat crust (enough for 2 large 24cm tarts)

  • 280g organic buckwheat flour
  • 125g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 80g sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 15g organic coconut sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch of salt

I slightly changed the recipe of buckwheat short crust, from that I used to bake biscuits. It has less sugar and no baking powder. Other recipes for buckwheat crust can be seen here and here.

cottage cheese frangipane (to make the filling for 1 large 24 cm tart)

  • 2 eggs separated
  • 100g sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar or 1 coffee spoon of vanilla paste
  • 150g cottage/ricotta cheese, as dry as possible
  • 100g almond meal
  • zest of 1 lemon or 1 tea spoon lemon extract
  • 1 large apple, cored and sliced
  • 3-4 table spoons of thick tart jam
  • 1 table spoon of lemon juice to treat apple slices
  • 2 tea spoons coconut sugar to use over apple layer
  • 2 table spoons of pine nuts for decoration
  • gluten free icing sugar for dusting

Preparation:

  • make shortcrust dough, step by step photos can be found here
  • divide the dough in 2 equal parts, use one and refrigerate or freeze the other for another occasion, the second half can be also used to make biscuits
  • refrigerate the dough for 20-30min
  • shape the dough into a flat disc
  • roll the dough thin to the size of the removable bottom of the tart baking pan plus 2 heights of the sides
  • transfer the dough to baking pan, turn extra dough inside to make side crust of double thickness
  • press rolled dough firmly to the sides and the bottom of baking pan

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  • use baking paper on top of the dough and use ceramic (or any other weights) for blind baking for 12-15min at 170C preheated fan-forced oven
  • let half-baked crust to cool down

frangipane

  • separate eggs
  • beat egg whites until soft peaks
  • continue beating, adding 2/3 of the sugar gradually until stiff peaks
  • put egg whites aside
  • beat egg yolks with 1/3 of sugar until pale
  • add cottage/ricotta cheese and lemon zest/extract
  • beat on medium speed until nearly homogenous

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  • sift almond meal
  • add almond meal in 2 portions
  • mix it in

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  • add 2 large spoons of egg whites

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  • mix them in to soften the batter

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  • add the rest of egg whites

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  • carefully mix them into the batter, do not overwork the batter, but make sure all egg whites are mixed in

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  • spoon your thick jam on the crust

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  • spread jam evenly as a thin layer on the bottom of the tart
  • core and slice an apple
  • sprinkle lemon juice over apple slices to prevent them from browning
  • cover jam layer with sliced apples

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  • use coconut sugar (or any other brown sugar) on top of apple layer
  • spoon frangipane batter on top of apple layer
  • spread frangipane layer and make it level

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  • sprinkle pine nuts over frangipane batter

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  • bake in preheated to 170C fan forced oven for 45min
  • remove sides ring of the baking pan
  • let the tart completely cool down without removing the bottom of the baking pan

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  • decorate with dusting sugar
  • when the tart completely cooled down, remove the bottom part of the baking pan and transfer the tart to a serving board or plate

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Double thickness of the shortcrust, firmly pressed to the sides of the baking pan, results in a nicely baked, hard and crunchy crust.

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Blind baking removes the risk of a soggy bottom in a tart. Even with jam on the bottom, this tart is structurally very sound. Tart jam layer with apples in the bottom, together with toasted pine nuts on the top of the tart, provide amazing total experience of texture and flavour combinations. It was a very nice tart. The difference of this tart, compared to many other frangipane tarts I make, lies in the buckwheat crust. Crust mainly plays a role of container for the fillings in tarts. Main demand to crusts is to have the right structure to fulfil this role. Gluten free sweet crusts in particular, are very bland in taste, and many extra flavours are added, including spices or extracts, to add some flavour to them. Buckwheat crust is completely different. It has its own flavour and contributes not only to the structure, but to the taste of the tart. With a minor addition of aromatic coconut sugar this crust is equal in its taste contribution to frangipane filling.

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Hard and crunchy  tart shell with soft and airy frangipane, and with additional jelly like layer in between them, was a combination I am going to experiment with in the future.

As a quick example of those experiments, I can present individual frangipane tarts, which I made using coarse, home ground, buckwheat flour and thick berry and apple sauce made with chia seeds (here), either as the bottom layer,

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or on the top of the tartlet, with thin apple slices inserted into frangipane filling.

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Variations in the use of sweet buckwheat shortcrust are endless. Happy experimenting!

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