One of the things that I missed the most about living away from home, was being able to see our parents regularly. In the last few weeks as we’ve been settling into our our new home, we have been lucky enough to have had both my parents and then Key’s family over for dinner. I love cooking for all of them, so it’s always so great to have them over. I made this frangipane tart with Pedro Ximénez dates for when Mum and The Faja came around a few weeks ago and it went down a treat.
This frangipane tart was inspired by a Brigitte Hafner recipe, which can be found here, although I came across it while reading a cookbook of mine called Good Living: Autumn. Sorry, I can’t find a decent link for anywhere to buy the book, but you can borrow mine if you’d like :) Brigitte’s recipe has Vin Santo prunes instead of the Pedro Ximénez dates that I used in my version. I love the idea of using prunes for this too, but I used dates as I already had some in the fridge. I also decided on using the Pedro Ximénez after I bought a bottle for some beef cheeks that I made a few weeks ago.
Pedro Ximénez is a sherry, but to me, it tastes like the most delicious port that I have ever had. If you like dessert wines or sweet ports, then do yourself a favour and try this stuff. It’s truly delicious.
It’s tart time!
I used a high quality, store bought pastry. Follow the instructions on the pack to prepare your base. The Carême one that I used suggested over lining the tart tin to reduce the chance of shrinkage and it also suggested chilling the tart tin once lined with the pastry for 30 minutes, before baking it.
If you don’t want to buy a bottle of Pedro Ximénez just for this, you could substitute another sweet fortified wine like sherry, port or marsala.
This giant tub of dates is why I made this tart with dates instead of prunes. Halve them and pit them…easy.
You can of course cream the butter and sugar by hand, but I am currently obsessed with my electric mixer as I’ve been without it for so long.
Gently mix in the almond meal and the other filling ingredients and you’ve made frangipane. Easy!
Drain the dates off after they have soaked in the syrup. Retain that liquid though as it will become a delicious sauce for the tart.
To assemble the tart, gently spread the almond mix evenly over the base of the chilled pastry. Drain the dates from the syrup and then gently push them into the tart.
The Pedro Ximénez syrup is reduced right down to make a delicious sauce to serve with the tart. Scatter with toasted almonds, dollop on some thick cream and dig in.
Frangipane Tart with Pedro Ximénez Dates – Adapted from a Brigitte Hafner Recipe
Ingredients – Makes 1 x 26cm Diameter Tart
For the Base
- Good quality packaged sweet shortcrust pastry (enough to fit a 26cm tart tin)
For the Pedro Ximénez Dates
- ½ cup of Pedro Ximénez, or alternatively, use another sweet fortified wine like sherry or port
- 2 tbs of fine white sugar
- 1 cup of halved and pitted dates
For the Filling
- 150g of unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup of fine white sugar
- 1 cup of blanched almond meal
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup of plain flour
- ½ tsp of almond extract
- Toasted almond flakes
- Thick cream
- Following the packet instructions on the pastry, place it into a 26cm diameter tart tin that has a removable base. Chill for 30 minutes before filling and baking.
- While the pastry case is chilling, prepare the dates. Add the Pedro Ximénez, sugar and ½ cup of water in a medium saucepan and place over low heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves which should take about a minute.
- Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil without stirring. Let the liquid simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it has reduced slightly.
- Remove from the heat, add the dates and let them steep in the syrup for at least 20 minutes.
- To make the filling, cream the butter and sugar until it is pale and fluffy. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and mix gently until it is well combined.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C and remove the tart shell from the fridge.
- To assemble the tart, gently spread the almond mix evenly over the base of the chilled pastry. Drain the dates from the syrup and then gently push them into the tart. Reserve the syrup for later use.
- Bake the tart in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the frangipane is set and is golden brown on top.
- For easy removal from the tin, let the tart cool in the tin for at least 30 minutes before serving. During this cooling time, further reduce down the Pedro Ximénez syrup by placing it back over a medium heat and simmering for around 10 minutes or until it is reduced and a thick syrup.
- The tart is delicious served warm or at room temperature. Scatter the almond flakes over the tart and then serve slices of it drizzled with the warm syrup and dolloped with thick cream.
- The tart keeps well overnight if in an airtight container and it can be gently re-heated to serve if need be.