Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dinosaur Egg-Frangipane Tart

When one of my best friends invited us over for dinner, and said that it was a birthday celebration for her mom, I offered to bring something for dessert. I wanted to use the gorgeous and amusingly-named Dinosaur Egg pluots and asked for her vote: frangipane tart, galette, or flaugnarde. She asked for clarification on the flaugnarde - I said it's basically a clafoutis but not with cherries - then she opted for the frangipane tart. Perfect...because that's what I was leaning towards anyway.

Dinosaur Eggs are pluots - a hybid of an plum and an apricot - and a hit with almost every kid I know. For the name alone. But the taste is amazing, too. And since we noshed through all of the ones in my fruits bowl this week, I handed my dad some cash and asked him to pick up a bag-full for me at the farmers' market while I was at work on Friday. When I picked up the boys and my dinosaur eggs, I asked my dad, "Do you remember from which farm stand you got these?" Blank stare. You didn't say that I had to take notes! You just asked for the fruit. True.

Cardamom-Scented Pâte Brisée
I started with my usual Pâte Brisée and added cardamom because I thought it would complement the sweetness of the dinosaur eggs. This is a super easy, fantastically flaky crust.

2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C white whole wheat flour
1/2 C finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour
1 C butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
dash of ground cardamom
6 to 8 T ice water

I don't have a food processor, so I use a pastry blender and do it all by hand. Place the flour, ground almonds, ground cardamom, and cold butter in a large bowl. Use the pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 T at a time, until mixture just begins to clump together. If you squeeze some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and cut again. Note that too much water will make the crust tough. Once the dough comes together into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the Pâte Brisée between two pieces of parchment paper and lay it over your tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press the crust into your pan, carefully removing the excess crust from the top of the pan. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and bake for 20 minutes.

1/2 C ground almonds
1/2 C sliced almonds
1/4 C organic granulated sugar
1/4 C powdered sugar
2/3 C melted butter
1 large egg

Mix everything together to form a paste.

Once the tart crust is cooked, spread a layer of frangipane over the bottom. Slice the dinosaur eggs and arrange them in concentric circles to cover the frangipane in a flower pattern. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 50-55 minutes, until the plouts have softened.

Happy birthday, Connie! 

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