Drunken Plum Frangipane Tart

46 Comments on 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 . . .

Plum Frangipane Tart

A beautiful, brightly coloured winter tart

As soon as I saw this tart, I knew I had to make it. Featured whole on the front cover of Bruce Poole’s Cookbook and again as a simple slice within, it epitomises the simplicity and deliciousness behind the cooking of this British-born chef. After visiting Chez Bruce for our anniversary last year and wanting to eat almost everything on the menu, I ordered up a copy of his book the next day and have been cooking from it ever since. While the recipes can take time to make, they are utterly achievable in a home kitchen and I love the casual yet informative voice that leaps from the page with every instruction.

I’ve made this tart twice in the last couple of weeks: first for Christmas Eve supper to follow the spicy crab linguine that has become a bit of a tradition and secondly in Yorkshire for Carnivorous Fiancé and his family. The first time round I made it in the kitchen of my little London flat, in my favourite fluted tart tin, with the oven that I know and the KitchenAid stand mixer that I love. The second time was in an unfamiliar space, baked from memory, using an ancient spring-form cheesecake tin and exercising my arm muscles by beating the frangipane with a wooden spoon. Both versions turned out perfect, sure sign of a pretty impeccable recipe.

Plum Tart

Juicy plums are roasted in brandy, sugar & butter

I can’t emphasise enough how delicious this tart is. The pastry is crisp and flaky and almost caramelized in flavour, the filling at once light and rich and punctuated by juicy pockets of sweetly sharp drunken plums. The toasted flaked almonds add texture to the top, marrying with the crunchy crust and served warm with a dollop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream it’s close to my idea of dessert heaven without an ounce of chocolate in sight.

If you’ve given up alcohol in January, you could easily omit the brandy. If you’ve given up desserts, you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog: I’ve got plans for plenty more to come over the next few weeks.

Plum Tart

Flaked, toasted almonds add lovely texture to this soft, sweet tart

Drunken Plum Frangipane Tart (adapted from Bruce’s Cookbook)


For the pastry
250g plain white flour
200g icing sugar
200g unsalted butter, chilled & cubed
2 medium egg yolks, beaten

For the plums and glaze
10 Victoria plums, halved and stones removed
30g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
40ml plum brandy (normal brandy or Armagnac would also work here)
2 tbsp plum jam (you could also use apricot)

For the frangipane
180g unsalted butter
180g golden caster sugar
180g eggs (approx. 3 but do weigh them), beaten
180g ground almonds

To assemble
1 x pastry case
1 x quantity roasted plums
1 x quantity frangipane
Plum glaze
100g flaked toasted almonds


For the pastry
Put the flour and sugar into a food processor and blitz.

Add the cold butter and blitz again until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks again and blitz until just combined.

Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Roll into a ball, flatten slightly and wrap in cling film before chilling for 2 – 3 hours.

When the pastry is chilled, remove from the fridge and lightly flour a work surface. Bash the dough out flat with your rolling pin then bring the broken edges in to form a ball. With regular, generous dustings of flour, roll into a large round about 3mm thick and at least 5cm wider than your tart tin all round.

Lift the pastry gently, wrapping round your rolling pin if easier, and place it over a 23cm tart case. Working fast, lift up the edges of the pastry to allow it to relax into the base of each case and press in lightly. Leave any excess pastry round the edges to allow for shrinkage.

Line the pastry with a double layer of cling film, fill with baking beads and return to the fridge to cool for at least one hour.

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C. Remove your pastry case from the fridge and bake on a baking tray for 10 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove the baking beans and cling film, then bake for a further 18 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Once cooled, trim the edges of the pastry so you have a neat edge.

For the plums and glaze
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Lay the plums, cut side up, in a roasting tray. They should fit snugly but in a single layer. Place a little knob of butter on top of each plum then shower with caster sugar.

Mix together the plum brandy with 1-2 tablespoons of water and pour over the plums. Roast the plums for 20 minutes, basting occasionally, until softened and slightly reduced in size but not collapsing. Remove the tray from the oven and set aside to cool.

Pour the cooking liquor into a small pan and add the jam. Bring to the boil and reduce by half, then set aside.

For the frangipane
In a stand mixer (or using a wooden spoon and bowl – I’ve tried both methods with very similar results), beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

With the motor running, add in one egg followed by one quarter of the almonds. Repeat until all the egg and almonds are incorporated.

To assemble
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Two-thirds fill the tart case with frangipane then arrange the plum halves on top, cut side up, so that they are touching but not overlapping. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean (it may need another 10 minutes or so).

Remove the tart from the oven. Reheat the plum glaze then paint over the tart using a pastry brush. Scatter over the toasted flaked almonds, slice and serve with large scoops of homemade vanilla ice cream or a dollop of Jersey cream. As stated in Bruce’s book, the bloody business.

46 RESPONSES TO Drunken Plum Frangipane Tart

  1. This looks amazing! I made some plum brandy from plums from my garden a few years ago and running out of things to do with it- other than drinking it!! Must give this a go!


  2. Oh yummy this looks delicious! Plums and almonds, perfect pairing!

  3. Delicious! Fortunately I haven’t done anything silly like make resolutions such as giving up alcohol. A wonderful combination of flavours that I look forward to trying myself soon!

    • Food Nerd – homemade plum brandy sounds divine and would definitely make this dessert even more special 🙂

      While He Was Out – they work wonderfully together.

      Stephanie – hooray for not making silly NY resolutions!

  4. This looks amazing – I love roasted plums and frangipane. I like the way the plums are cooked first before they’re baked in the case – do they go all jammy and gooey?

    • Thanks Emma. The plums are roasted until soft but not falling apart so they hold their shape in the tart – it makes them wonderfully jammy without becoming mush. It’s a really lovely recipe.

  5. I love the food at Chez Bruce – I really should get a copy of the cookbook. If this recipe is anything to go by, it sounds stellar. Such a delicious way to start 2013!

  6. I had never heard of Chez Bruce, but I think frangipane is one of the most wonderful ingredients in a tart. It goes with so many stone fruits, and plums are definitely one of the best. Even better with booze!

  7. Adrian Webster -

    It was gorgeous!!! Dad xxx

  8. Thank goodness I have not given up alcohol for January. What a lovely tart!

  9. This looks wonderful! Happy new year 🙂

  10. Sold! Sounds like a near perfect dessert in my book…. obsessed with frangipane and anything remotely almondy at the moment.

  11. That looks SO good – love plums and I love alcohol – win, win 😀

    • Kathryn – I promise you won’t be disappointed, it’s a fab book!

      Paula – it’s a gorgeous restaurant in South West London – highly recommended if you’re ever in the area 🙂

      Dad – second helpings are the highest form of flattery 🙂 xx

      Michelle – thank goodness indeed!

      Nickki – thank you.

      Tracey – thank you and Happy New Year to you too!

      Aoife – isn’t it wonderful? I think almond croissants may be next on my list…

      Frugal Feeding – thank you 🙂

  12. Jaime -

    Kate this looks and sounds irresistible!! I tried pears in a frangipane tart and loved it, must try this recipe as I love plums too.

  13. I love a frangipane tart but have never tried to make one! Thanks so much for sharing the fabulous recipe!

  14. Oh this looks so so delicious. I need some now with my glass of vin santo

  15. Wow, those plums really make the tart very tempting.. 😀

  16. Your tart looks well worth breaking any foolishly dessert averse New Year’s resolution. The heavenly sounding roasted plums are enough to get me racing to my oven to make this but I’d be tempted to replace the plum brandy with some sloe gin. Thanks for sharing the wonderful recipe

  17. That looks wonderful. We don’t get Victoria plums here ( which are my favourite) so I have to make do with quite dull plums that would benefit from the drunkeness:)

    • Jaime – ooh, now I must try it with pears!

      Clare – my pleasure, hope you get around to making it soon 🙂

      Urvashi – that would be a heavenly combination.

      Medeja – they do indeed!

      Natalie – thank you.

      Big Hungry Gnomes – sloe gin would be a delicious alternative. I’m sure you could use other firm fruit too.

      Food, Photography & France – a little bit of booze never goes amiss 🙂

  18. My sister had to make a frangipane tart for her Brownie ‘Cook’ badge. We ate frangipane tart over and over again for weeks as she practiced and I never ate one again since. Then last year I finally cracked and made my own and realised they are delicious. (When probably not made by an 8 year old!) Now I am converted, I’ll have to try yours.

  19. Sacha -

    Well, somehow you managed to get all of my favorite ingredients in one tart. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a frangipane fiend. Unfortunately, I will not be able to get my hands on plums for a while, but I have always loved them with frangipane and will save this recipe on my list!

  20. This looks like it’s made to perfection! I would love a slice of this…and I think I might have to get Bruce’s Cookbook too! 🙂

  21. You have listed all of my main food groups in this one tart…I guess that means that I won’t have to bother eating anything else for the rest of the year aside from this tart 😉

  22. I have a huge bag of plums in my refrigerator at the moment – this recipe may be calling their name!

    • Under the Blue Gum Tree – haha, sounds like serious dedication! Hopefully you can get over your fear of frangipane and try this soon 🙂

      Leslie – thanks.

      Dorian – me too, will need to make again soon!

      Sacha – would love to hear what you think when you get round to making it!

      Laura – do it, I promise it’s worth every penny 🙂

      Narf – I reckon I could happily survive on slices of this.

      JJ – happy baking!

      • Jenny -

        Hi, I made it this weekend and it was amazing – however the pastry collapsed in the oven and my mother in law wasn’t surprised – she commented that the ratio of fat and sugar in the pastry was far too high vs flour. So with a normal Shortcrust sweet pastry this was a winner. Love the drunken plums!

  23. Pingback: Pear, walnut and stem ginger crumble - Big Hungry Gnomes : Big Hungry Gnomes

  24. Pingback: Seeded Soda Bread | thelittleloaf

  25. Hehe, I love the last paragraph before the ingredient list. You go girl!

  26. Pingback: Chocolate Cherry Frangipane Tarts | thelittleloaf

  27. Pingback: Caramelized White Chocolate Brownies | thelittleloaf

  28. Oh blast! Yours looks nicer than mine. Don’t you hate it when that happens?!

  29. biscuit face -

    About to venture out to the shop so I can bake this tonight! I’m just wondering what size tin you use? I adore your blog and I always come back to it whenever I’m in need of a sweet fix. Much loafy love.

    • Oh dear, did I not say? Must have been in a post Christmas haze… 20 – 23cm round should work fine x ps thank you for such a lovely comment 🙂

      • Champagne Piggy -

        I found it – it’s later in the post. Thank you anyway. The dough is chilling. Going to make the rest tomorrow. X

  30. Pingback: Frangipane Mince Pies (+ Mincemeat-Free Alternative) | thelittleloaf

  31. Pingback: Best of 2013 | thelittleloaf | thelittleloaf

  32. Pingback: Seasonal Eating Guide: What to eat in July

  33. m. gillett -

    thats a lot of icing sugar 200g is that the correct amout?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.