“It is June. I am tired of being brave.” – Anne Sexton, an excerpt from ‘The Truth the Dead Know.’
There isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t make some rendition of a frangipane tart. My freezer is full of left-over pastry dough and surpluses of streusel that always end up in tart form. It’s become a new kind of ritual. And one, that for me, signifies the strength of the season. There’s thinly sliced pears, quince, and apples for the cool slowing’s of Winter and Fall. And blistering over-ripe stone fruits and berries for the warming creep of Spring and Summer. And this Raspberry Almond Streusel Tart is among my current seasonal favourite.
It’s a tart that’s easy, good, and possesses just the right amount of sweetness to sate. Simple yet refined enough too. The pâte sablée crust is perfectly buttered, tender and short. And is the best kind of vehicle to devour a wealth of rich filling. The almond frangipane is the star and staple. It’s velvety, nutty, and elevated with an enlivened undertone of citric zest and warm liquor. There’s jammy-tart raspberries studded throughout. And a final flourish of textured streusel and powdered sugar. It’s a tart best served under the sun with lashings of cream to round out the afternoon.
– This tart serves as the perfect base recipe to highlight whatever is in season. You can easily switch out the raspberries for a plethora of different fruits, depending what you have on hand. My personal favourites are blackberries, strawberries, and thin slices of rhubarb and pear. I’ve done it up once before with figs too. The options are endless. You could alter the character of the frangipane too. I often end up using hazelnuts instead of almonds for the cooler months, which results in a little more deep and intense flavour.
– I prefer to make the pâte sablée in a food processor purely because it allows me to control the temperature of the dough more effectively as it isn’t exposed to bodily heat. If you don’t have a food processor, you could make it by hand with similar results. Just make sure to chill and let the dough rest for a little while longer before rolling it out and placing it in the tart shell.
RASPBERRY ALMOND STREUSEL TART
For the pâte sablée:
250 g all-purpose flour
100 g confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon salt
165 unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons iced water
To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar, salt, and butter into the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture forms that of a coarse meal like texture with some pea-sized pieces of butter running throughout it, about 20 to 30 seconds. Add in the egg yolk and water. Pulse, until the mixture is just beginning to come together and form a soft dough ball around the base of the blade, no more than 30 seconds. Tip the dough ball out and onto a sheet of plastic wrap, then, flatten the ball into a rough disc shape. Cover and chill for at least an hour.
For the streusel:
50 g all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
30 g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
20 g flaked almonds
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add in the butter. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until fine crumbs form, then, using a slightly greater amount of pressure, squeeze the mixture together until large clumps have formed. Toss through the flaked almonds. Set the bowl in the refrigerator to keep cool until needed.
For the frangipane:
125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125 g granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon brandy
Zest from ½ small orange
165 g almond meal
35 g all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
To make the frangipane, place the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Beat, on medium speed, until light and fluffy, 4 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the brandy and orange zest. Set the mixer speed to medium-low. Add in the almond meal, flour, and salt. Beat until just combined, about a minute. Increase the mixer speed back to medium and beat for a further 3 minutes, or until the frangipane is pale and fluffy. Set aside for assembly.
150 g raspberries, fresh or frozen
Confectioners’ sugar, for finishing
Pre-heat the oven to 180 c (350 f). Lightly butter and flour a 22 cm (9-inch) fluted tart tin with a removable base. Put the tart tin on a large baking sheet and set aside.
Set the chilled pastry out and onto a floured work surface and lightly flour the top. Using a wooden rolling pin, begin to roll the dough out and into a rough circular shape, a few centimeters larger than the tin you’re using. It should be about 4 mm (.15 inch) in thickness. Carefully transfer the dough into the tart tin. Using your fingers, gently adjust the dough into the tin making sure to press it into the base and edges. Trim off any excess overhang.
Using a spatula or the back of a metal spoon, spread the frangipane evenly over the tart base. Stud over the raspberries making sure not to press them in all the way but instead just indenting them into the filling. Evenly sprinkle over the streusel.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the frangipane is set, the tart is golden-brown all-over, and fragrant. Remove from the oven and set the tart onto a wire rack to cool completely before carefully removing it from its tin. Sift over a little confectioners’ sugar before slicing and serving.