Spending 8 years in Australia opened our minds to many things but when it comes to baking, almond meal surely was the biggest discovery of all.
Oblivious to its use in the kitchen, we started trying little blueberries friands in coffee shops around Sydney, then frangipane tarts, and of course it was only a matter of time since we started trying them in our own little kitchen.
Here below the recipe of a very basic version, with a little spin given by Pistachios. The variety we use is from Bronte, grown at the bottom of Mount Etna, the active volcano still dominating the Sicilian landscape. The crust recipe is one used many times before, an evergreen from Grandma.
For the crust
100g Butter - cubed
90g Brown Sugar
1 Egg 1 Yolk
Pinch of salt
To make the crust
Place flour, sugar and pinch of salt in a fountain like shape, inside the cubed butter. Work the butter quickly into the flour and sugar to avoid warming it up too much. When it resembles crumbles then add the eggs and keep working the dough till it looks even. Make a ball shape, wrap in cling film and chill for 1-2 hours, more if it's a hot day.
When ready, dust a flat surface, then roll to a 3mm thick. Place the tart in the freezer for half hour, this will avoid the shrinking of the tarts during the baking process.
Heat the oven at 180°, prick the bottom with a fork and place baking paper and some weight in the inside of the tarts (you can use rice or chickpeas, this will avoid the bubbles and consequentially breakage of the tart). Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling (courtesy of David Lebovitz)
115g Unsalted Butter at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
130g Almond Flour
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch of salt
15-20 raspberries or you can also use nectarines, peaches or apricots
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. To make the frangipane: beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Add the eggs one at the time, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl after adding each.
Stir in the almond flour, then the vanilla extract and salt. Spread the frangipane in the cooled tart dough. Press the raspberries into the frangipane, then sprinkle with pistachios (we like them chopped).
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tart is golden brown across the top. Let cool, then serve with whipped cream, gelato or on its own.