Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Back to reality

I probably don't have to tell you that London was a very busy place to be the past two weeks. The Olympics came to town and London saw millions of people flooding its streets, trains and buses. Everywhere you went you saw friendly, smiling crowds of people, usually decked out in their national colours, carrying flags and bubbling over with excitement. The weather played along, most of the time and the world got to see London at its best. I think that even the most cynic of Londoners must feel a sense of pride at how well our city did.

We weren't lucky enough to get tickets to any of the events, but I spent the better part of the last fortnight glued to my telly, witnessing the highs as medals were won and the lows as a split second just wasn't enough. As a result, the housework was neglected, the dirty laundry was piling up, dinner was always made in a rush and there was certainly no baked goods coming out of my oven. It was therefore a very strange feeling yesterday when I woke up and realised that there won't be any running, swimming, horse jumping or any other sports to be watched. With a heavy heart I realised that I will have to go back to normality and make a start on all that cleaning, washing and tidying up. Luckily, as I was having a small break and enjoying a snack with Little T, I realised that I now have time to bake again too!

I hastily threw the last load of washing into the machine and had a rummage in the fridge for something to turn into an after dinner sweet treat. I found a punnet of peaches that were just never going to fully "ripen at home" and knew that I still have some ground almonds lurking in a cupboard. Suddenly there was only one thing on my mind, frangipane tart!

The combination of sweet baked peaches with the creamy yet fluffy almond and vanilla scented frangipane mix, all enclosed in a crispy and short pastry case is one made in heaven. If you have never tried one of these amazing tarts, please put it right as soon as possible.

 I did manage to catch up on all of the housework and it looks like my Olympics withdrawal symptoms are starting to fade away. Another slice of the tart should do the trick:)

Peach Frangipane Tart:

For the pastry:
  • 170g plain flour
  • 100g unsalted butter, chilled
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk, chilled
  • 30ml ice cold water
For the filling:
  • 3 large peaches
  • 80g unsalted butter, softened
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 80g ground almonds
  • 40g plain flour
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg white
  • 4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Start by making your pastry. Lightly beat the egg yolk with the water and keep it in the fridge until you need it. Keep the separated white as you'll need it for the filling. Cut your butter into 1cm cubes and put this into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade. Tip your flour and salt over the butter and pulse until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. (You can also use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour, if you don't have a processor). Sprinkle about two thirds of the cold egg-water mix over the flour and give this a few pulses until the mix starts to clump around the blade. If there is still dry flour in the bowl then add the rest of the egg-water and pulse again until it forms a ball. Take the pastry out and lightly press it into a disk between your palms, wrap it in cling-film and let it rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

You can now start to slice your peaches, cut each one into about 16 slices. I leave the skins on as it gives more colour to the tart and more flavour, but you can take the skins off if you want. Sprinkle the lemon juice and two of the four teaspoons of vanilla over the peaches and give it a stir. Leave this to stand.

Preheat your oven to 200°C and get a 24cm tart tin ready. 
Roll out the pastry to about 3mm thickness and lightly press it into the tart tin, taking care not to stretch or tear it. There is no need to blind bake the pastry, just pop it into the freezer while you make the frangipane mix. Don't leave it in the freezer for more than 15 minutes though!

Cream together the sugar and butter until it is very pale and creamy. Add the almonds, flour and eggs and mix well. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix on a high speed until you have a smooth, thick paste. Pour the frangipane into your cold pastry case and then arrange your peach slices on top, covering the entire surface in a spiral pattern, lightly pressing them into the mix. 
Place the tart in the middle of your hot oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the frangipane has risen over the peaches and is a golden brown colour.

Its great to eat the tart either completely cold or still slightly warm, served with a dollop of whipped cream or just on its own.



  1. Oh yes...me to! The house, cooking dinner and washing went to pot (and the darned weather over in the west didn't help, it rained a LOT during the Olympics)I had no idea I would love it so much, and again being so far away we didn't get any of the hype that may have been annoying. I LOVE frangipane, such a deliciously naughty but nice indulgence, I am filing your recipe for future consumption, it looks delicious! There was plenty of crochet time though...great excuse! Fiona x

  2. Oh yes, my Olympics addiction did allow for lots of crochet time. Nearly finished my granny squares!