Serves: 8-10 slices
I love frangipane tarts and make variations on the theme all through the summer as and when fruit comes into season. Cherries are impossible to buy out of season (or if you can they are hideously expensive and tasteless) so I look forward to the British cherry season with great anticipation. Weekly menus are cherry-heavy and, for about a month, there is always a full bowl of the plump pink fruit in the kitchen. If you want to save time use a sheet of sweet shortcrust pastry but you can always make and bake the pastry shell a day in advance.
- For the pastry
- 230g plain flour
- 75g caster sugar
- 110g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into rough cubes
- 2 egg yolks
- For the frangipane
- 110g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 110g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 110g ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- 2 tablespoons cherry jam
- 200g cherries, pitted and destalked
- To serve icing sugar and custard or double cream
- Place the flour and sugar in a food processor and blend for a few seconds to mix. Add the butter and blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and 2-3 teaspoons cold water and process until the pastry is just coming together. Tip out on to a lightly floured board and knead to bring together in a smooth ball. Press out to a rough circle about 1cm thick (you can do this with the palm of your hand). Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
- Place the pastry on a sheet of non-stick baking parchment that has been lightly dusted with flour. Roll out to a circle large enough to line a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Leave some pastry overhanging the edges and trim it after filling with the frangipane-it helps prevent shrinkage. Prick the base with a fork and chill for 20 minutes. Heat the oven to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚c, mark 6.
- Scrunch up a sheet of greaseproof paper (or non-stick baking parchment) and place in the tin. Pour in some ceramic baking beans or pulses and bake the pastry shell in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and turn the heat down to 190˚c, fan oven 170˚c, mark 5. Continue to cook for a further 5-6 minutes until the pastry is light golden and the base feels firm. A high sugar content in the pastry means it colours quickly so keep an eye on the tart during blind baking. Remove and leave to cool while you make the frangipane.
- For the frangipane, place the butter and caster sugar in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the eggs and almond extract and process until thoroughly combined. Add the ground almonds and plain flour and process in short bursts until smooth.
- Spread the jam over the base of the tart. Spoon in the frangipane and spread to the edges. Arrange the cherries over the frangipane and press down lightly. Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the frangipane is firm and golden brown. Remove and leave to cool for 15 -20 minutes before trimming any overhanging pastry. Dust with icing sugar and serve in slices with some custard or double cream.