When I first learned how to make pastry or tarts, one versatile filling which I was taught to make is the almond cream (crème d’amande in French). This buttery rich and fragrant almond filling is widely used in French dessert and pastry, including almond croissant, galette de rois, Pithivier, Tarte Bourdaloue, and also as a filling for Danish, etc. Some people call the almond cream “Frangipane“, which I think is not quite accurate. In fact, frangipane is a mixture of almond cream and pastry cream. You can mix 100 g of pastry cream and 120 g of almond cream to get a nice velvety frangipane for your pastry.
Traditionally, almond cream can be easily made by creaming equal parts of butter, sugar, ground almond and eggs, with additional small amount of flour, milk and flavoring of your choice. Instead of putting just ground almond, I substituted half of the ground almond with ground pistachio for my summer berries tart.
Ingredients (yield one 16 cm tart)
(A) Tart dough
Cake flour 150g
Icing sugar 50g
Ground almond 20g
Butter (cold) 85g
(B) Almond pistachio cream
Salt 1/4 tsp
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Ground almond 40g
Ground pistachio 40g
Plain flour 1 Tbsp
(C) Fresh berries
- To make the tart dough: Sieve cake flour, icing sugar and ground almond into a mixing bowl.
- Add cold butter cubes to the flour mixture. Rub in the butter using finger tips, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
- Add in egg, and mix until the dough just comes together.
- On a lightly floured surface, briefly knead the dough until it is smooth. Do not over knead. Flatten the dough, and refrigerate for an hour.
- Roll the dough to about 4 mm thick. Ease it into a tart mould. Trim off any excess dough.
- Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- To make the almond pistachio cream. Cream the butter, sugar and salt until light and pale. Add in vanilla extract and mix to combine.
- Add the egg gradually to the butter mixture, and ensure they are well mixed after each addition.
- Add in ground almond, ground pistachio and plain flour into the mixture, and mix well.
- Fill the tart with almond pistachio cream to about 3/4 full.
- Bake at 180 degree Celsius for about 35 – 40 minutes or until the tart shell is golden brown and the almond pistachio cream is cooked.
- Once the tart has cooled down, arrange fresh berries on the tart. Decorate with powder sugar and mint leaves.