Not too long ago I posted a pear frangipane tart recipe which was the modern version of an old French recipe. Today I decided to make an apple frangipane tart from my Classic French cookbook. This tart is made with the original custard-type filling and the poached apples are arranged on top of the custard to form a pretty rose pattern. The rose pattern seems fitting as according to The World’s Healthiest Foods website the apple and the rose are related. Who would have thought that!
I bet you have heard that old saying, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’?…that has been around forever. Apples are just filled with health benefits and good nutrition, plus they taste wonderful. I have always loved apples and one was usually in my school brown-bag lunch at least a couple times a week. The bright Red Delicious variety was also just the right size to drop inside my purse for a quick snack at work or whenever. Then there is the green Granny Smith apple, which is good, but more tart and crisper. I prefer the Granny Smith for cooking and I have included them in my recipe for this frangipani apple tart.
This apple frangipane tart has the same shortbread crust as the pear frangipane tart and it is the only part of the tart that goes into the oven. In making the custard filling it reminds me of making a vanilla pudding except it has ground toasted almonds and some pulverized macaroons stirred in. The apples are thinly sliced, poached for just a few minutes and then arranged on top of the cooled custard filling in a rose pattern.
Any kind of fruit could be used in place of the apples, I think poached peaches would be nice.
Shortbread crust, ready for the oven.
Making the frangipane filling.
For the crust: (pâte sucrée)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 12 tablespoons butter (1-1/2 sticks)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon whipping cream
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup toasted almonds
- 1/2 cup coconut macaroons (about 6 macaroons) pulverized
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 3 cups milk
- 5 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 6 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/8-inch thick
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1-4-ounce package lemon Jello
For the crust:
- Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and whipping cream to the dry ingredients. Pulse until it resembles wet sand.
- Place the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Using the plastic, gather the dough into a ball and press it together into a disc. Wrap with the plastic and refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Press the dough into a 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and lightly pierce the surface, including the sides, with a fork. Place the tart pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the frozen crust for a blind-bake by using parchment paper and pie weights/beans. Set the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, transfer from the oven and remove the pie weights and parchment paper, return the tart to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the pastry turns golden brown. Let it cool until ready to use.
For the frangipane filling:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Spread the nuts in a shallow baking pan and toast them in the middle of the oven for about 5 minutes, remove and allow to cool. Turn the oven off. Pulverize the cooled nuts in the blender and reserve.
- Pulverize the macaroons in the blender and then spread them out on the same baking sheet and place them into the oven to dry out. They do not need to be toasted but just dried out in the warm oven, about 5-10 minutes.
- In a heavy-bottomed, 3 quart saucepan, add the sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Stir to mix well.
- Gradually stir in the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly. Cook for two minutes more.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. While stirring constantly, gradually add one cup of the hot mixture to the egg yolks. This tempers and warms the egg yolks. Add the egg yolk mixture to the hot filling mixture. Cook and stir for two more minutes. Add the butter and vanilla.
- Stir in the pulverized almonds and macaroons, mixing to incorporate it completely. Allow the frangipane to cool, then spoon it into the prepared tart shell and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely before adding the poached apples.
For the apples:
- In a large shallow, heavy-bottomed pan or skillet add the water, sugar, vanilla bean, lemon peel and lemon juice and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to simmer and add the apple slices in several batches. Allow to simmer for only 2-3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a baking sheet that has been lined with a kitchen towel or several thickness of paper towels. Cover each batch with another towel and proceed with another batch of apples until all the apples have been poached.
To assemble the tart:
- Beginning at the outside edge of the tart, arrange the slices around the crust of the tart. Add additional overlapping concentric circles with the slices until you get to the very center of the tart. Shape 3 or 4 of the apple slices into a small bud-shape to fit into the center area.
- In the microwave, heat 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice and add it to 2 tablespoons of the lemon flavored Jello, stirring to dissolve. Allow to cool to a thick syrup and brush over the top of the apples. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool before serving.
- For an alternative glaze, you can melt apple jelly to a syrup consistency and brush over the top of the poached pears.