Friday 25 December 2015

Frangipane tart with dark cherries in syrup

3 hours to prepare Serves 12

Una ciliegia tira l'altra

"Cherries are so addictive you can't eat just one."

I wonder who was the genius who first stated this absolute truth.
What was he referring to?
Perhaps to the tangle of stalks that binds cherries together?
Perhaps to the sweet delicacy of the fruit which tempts the observer - red among the green foliage -, winking at him full of promise?

Whatever the meaning, I find this idea perfectly applies to Ernst Knam's tarts as well. Knam's recipes generate the best cakes we've ever laid tongues upon.
I can't stress enough how gloriously wonderful his creations are. Anytime I read a new recipe, I can't help being enticed to try it, as soon as I can. Especially because I am sure they will result to be absolutely impeccable already at the first attempt.

Funnily enough, today's recipe is going to be a Frangipane tart with a juicy filling of dark cherries in syrup. Another version of Knam's famous Frangipane miracle (you can find the variation with figs here).
Two addictions gathered in one blog post.
Please do yourself a favor (you'll thank me later) and invite some friends over before baking it. To share is more elegant, and less fattening, than to eat a whole tart by yourself...

Here are ingredients for a 12-serving recipe (24-cm diameter baking pan):

For the pastry

200 g flour 00
100 g sugar
100 g butter
4 g baking powder
1 egg
1 vanilla bean

For the Frangipane cream

100 g peeled almonds
100 g sugar
100 g butter
30 g flour 00
2 eggs

For the custard

3 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
500 g  cow milk 
85 g sugar
40 g potato starch

For the topping

70 ml dark cherry syrup
150 g dark cherries
50 g slivered almonds
50 g gelatine sheets

  1. Sift the flour and the baking powder on a pastry board, then add the vanilla seeds and a pinch of salt
  2. Using your fingertips, gently work butter and sugar into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg to the mixture and gently work it together using your hands until you have a ball of dough
  3. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough, then wrap it in clingfilm and put it into the fridge to rest for at least 1 hour
  4. Start preparing the Frangipane cream by placing almonds in a blender. Blend until you obtain a uniform flour-like mixture
  5. Place the butter - softened and cut into cubes - in a bowl, add the sugar and mix with an electric beater until you get a light and fluffy mixture
  6. Whisk the egg and gradually add it to the mixture. Mix again
  7. With a wooden spoon, add the flour 00 - sifted - and the almond flour. Mix until you obtain a homogeneous mixture. Cover the bowl with clingfilm to prevent the formation of a crust. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour
  8. When we are close to the the 1-hour resting time of the Frangipane cream, preheat oven to 180°C
  9. Move on to the custard preparation: pour the milk into a saucepan with the vanilla pod - engraved lengthwise - and bring to a boil
  10. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks with sugar until stiff for about 15 minutes
  11. Incorporate sifted potato starch to the mixture. Whisk well
  12. When the milk starts to bubble, pour everything into the saucepan with the hot milk. Do not whisk until you see the milk really close to boil over. Only at that moment, take the custard off the heat and stir constantly to avoid lumps
  13. Pour the custard into a bowl and sprinkle with granulated sugar to prevent skin from forming over the surface. Let it cool down
  14. Grease and dust the baking pan with flour, then cover bottom and sides with the pastry cut into a flattened disc-shape, about 3 mm thick
  15. Spoon the frangipane cream into the pan until mid height, and smooth
  16. Coarsely chop the dark cherries, and lay them on the frangipane cream to form a uniform layer
  17. Mix the remaining frangipane cream with the custard and and pour it into the pastry pan. Garnish the top with slivered almonds
  18. Bake the tart at 180° for 45 minutes. (Do not open the oven for at least the first half of the baking time and perform the toothpick test at the end, to be sure baking is done). Leave the cake to cool a bit in the oven with the door open, then out of the oven
  19. Once the cake is fully cooled, start preparing the icing: pour 1/2 cup of water in a medium bowl and dunk the gelatine sheets in it. Let them soften about 2 minutes. Then, wring out the gelatine sheets and place them in a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Slowly stir until gelatine melts. Add the dark cherry syrup and mix again. Finally transfer the gelatine into a small bowl and let it become denser for about 2 minutes
  20. Brush a thin - be careful, a very very very thin - layer of dark cherry icing all over the surface of the tart and wait for it to solidify...if you can resist its marvellous sight!

Nutrition Facts are detailed in the table below. Data is provided per serving.

La vie est une cerise
La mort est un noyau
L'amour un cerisier.
(Jacques Prévert)

*Life is a cherry / Death is the pit / Love the cherry tree.

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