Frangipane Mince Pies (+ Mincemeat-Free Alternative)

Frangipane Mince Pies

The first time I saw a frangipane mince pie, I fell a little bit in love.

To put this in context, I’m not much of a mince pie eater. If you read this blog regularly you’ll know that I’d take chocolate, caramel or creamy desserts over boozy dried fruit any day of the week: an indifference to festive desserts that extends to both Christmas pudding and cake. If a mince pie is all that’s on offer, I’ll probably end up eating it (top removed, filled with copious amounts of brandy butter then replaced) and I do enjoy the ritual of baking them at this time of year, but getting excited about a recipe? It doesn’t tend to happen. Continue reading

Chocolate Cherry Frangipane Tarts

Chocolate Tarts

Chocolate almond pastry, chocolate frangipane & sweet, fresh cherries

How many times have you wanted to bake something only to be thwarted by a store cupboard shortage or lack of ingredients in your local shop?

This post is less of a recipe than a series of ideas and suggestions around a theme. While making drunken plum tart several times over Christmas, I fell more than a little in love with frangipane and have been looking for other ways to use it ever since. Previously I’d associated frangipane with the sickly sweet almond filling you often find in croissants – a heavier, altogether different beast from the light, sweet simplicity of the version I made at home. With a new-found favourite and a new technique added to my baking repertoire, I was keen to get experimenting.
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Drunken Plum Frangipane Tart

Plum Frangipane Tart

Soft, sweet frangipane studded with drunken plums

After all the festivities of the past week or so, it might seem a little indulgent for my first post in 2013 to feature ‘drunken plums’. But rather than being anything overtly boozy, this fruit is roasted in just a little brandy, butter and sugar, improving on the flavour and sweetness with such subtlety that it’s pretty difficult to detect. So difficult, in fact, that I could have simply called this ‘Plum Frangipane Tart’. However, there’s something wonderfully satisfying about the sound of a drunken plum . . . Continue reading