Today’s new thing is another bake from my course with Puff the Bakery. After successfully making last weeks trifle, rhubarb and raspberry pie, and peach galette (pictured below), I was keen to get on to the next bake – a browned butter, pear frangipane tart.
I don’t actually like pears or the taste of almonds a.k.a. the main ingredient and flavour of frangipane so I almost skipped making this one altogether. That is until I read the course materials, I realised I could substitute practically anything and it will still work. So what should have been a pear and almond frangipane became an apricot and hazelnut one – much more my cup of tea.
I learned from last week the key is to work quickly with the pastry and keep it cold, cold, cold. This turned out to be a bit difficult in the increasingly warm temperature in my apartment, so I started making the party at 7.30am when the room was at it’s coolest. I was admittedly a bit bleary-eyed at this point, and things could have definitely gone wrong very quickly, but the recipe for making the pate sablee (the sandy, crumbly, short pastry of a frangipane) was so simple even I, in my fully sleepy-eyed state, couldn’t mess it up.
I rested the dough in the fridge and moved on to making the brown butter and frangipane. Whilst I was rapidly heating the butter I toasted the hazelnuts in the oven, and the combined aroma was incredible. I’d never browned butter in my life, but after smelling it and tasting it I will absolutely be adding it to anything I can think of in the future: rich, brown, and deeply nutty, it was heavenly. I combined it all to make the frangipane, and I knew from the smell that I wouldn’t regret making this.
I started to run into a few problems when rolling the pastry out. I was now doing this in the late afternoon, and as predicted the apartment had warmed up quite nicely: my pate sablee kept breaking and tearing as I was rolling and kept sticking to the counter or the rolling pin. With the teacher’s warnings of overworked dough ringing in my ears, I panicked a little and rather than reform and roll again, I put what I had in the tart tin and started pressing it in. I figured I could fill any holes or thin bits with excess dough, and just bind it together with the warmth of my hands. I don’t think this was the right thing to do at all, but it worked out just fine in the end!
It was so blummin’ good – I couldn’t believe it! So nutty and rich, but pleasingly not too sweet. Considering I was reluctant to make it, this was such a welcome surprise to me and surprisingly simple to make too. I will absolutely be adding this to my repertoire in the future! Another happy result from the Puff the Bakery course: I’m so happy I signed up for this as I would never have made any of the bakes so far otherwise.