Fig Frangipane Tart with Buckwheat Crust

Frangipane tarts with soft fruits are one of the all time favourite bakes in our household. I usually bake them with plum cheeks or wedges, inserted into frangipane cream. Small ripe pears are also popular fruits in my frangipane tarts, as well as fresh cherries. Frangipane cream can be used straight on blind baked crust, or applied over the thin layer of thick fruit jams or spreads, as in Bakewell tarts. However all my frangipane tarts have 2 distinct features that differ them from traditional frangipane tarts. I use single gluten free flour – buckwheat flour – as the dry ingredient for sweet crust and use soft cheeses, homemade cottage cheese or deli bought dense ricotta cheese, to replace butter in the recipe. I have also found that baked buckwheat shortcrust pastry both in biscuits or as tart crust has even better texture if part of the flour is replaced with ground buckwheat kernels. Pastry becomes more crunchy, crumbly and buttery, while still keeping the structure together.

One more detail I would like to mention. Fruits for frangipane tarts are best used fresh with their skin on, provided they are ripe and reasonably soft. When baked, their texture does not go mushy, but becomes wonderfully buttery. The skin keeps all juices inside without them leaking into frangipane cream, so that fruit flesh practically is cooked in its own juices with skin as a micro-pot.

Ingredients:

buckwheat crust (enough for 2 large 24cm tarts, or 2 rectangular tarts)

  • 200g buckwheat flour
  • 80g ground buckwheat kernels
  • 125g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 80g sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 15g organic coconut sugar
  • 1 large egg

I reduce sugar content in buckwheat short crust for tarts. Other recipes for buckwheat crust can be seen here and here and here.

cottage cheese frangipane (to make the filling for 1 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 tea spoon vanilla extract

separately

  • ripe figs, not too soft, quantity depends on their size
  • pomegranate molasses, several drops in each fig
  • coconut sugar
  • gluten free icing sugar for dusting

Preparation:

  • grind buckwheat kernels
  • mix ground kernels with buckwheat flour
  • make shortcrust dough, detailed preparation of the dough with step by step photos can be found here
  • divide the dough in 2 equal parts, one is used to make tart shell, refrigerate or freeze the other for another occasion, the dough can be used to bake biscuits
  •  roll the dough, transfer the dough into tart baking pan, it might be a good idea to line the bottom of the pan with baking paper, this will allow to transfer the tart to a serving plate or serving board without any damage to the bottom crust
  • blind bake the crust at 170C oven for 15 minutes

frangipane cream

  • 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 lemon extract/zest and vanilla extract to cottage cheese
  • combine cottage cheese and egg yolk sugar mix together, initially adding 2 table spoons of the mix to cottage cheese, mixing it in and adding the rest
  • sift almond meal
  • add almond meal to cottage cheese paste in 2 portions
  • mix it in
  • add 2 large spoons of egg whites
  • mix them in to soften the batter
  • add the rest of egg whites
  • carefully mix them into the batter, do not overwork the batter, but make sure all egg whites are mixed in
  • spoon frangipane batter into rested blind baked tart shell
  • spread frangipane layer and make it level
  • wash and carefully dry figs, cut them in halves
  • insert fig halves into frangipane cream pushing them down to the bottom
  • spoon few drops of molasses into each fig
  • use small quantity of coconut sugar over molasses
  • bake in 170C fan forced oven for 40-45 minutes
  • rest without taking the sides of the pan for 15 minutes
  • take the sides of the pan off, rest until the tart reaches room temperature and its crust becomes hard
  • transfer the tart to a serving board/plate
  • dust with icing sugar

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