Friday, March 1, 2013

Sister Chef

by Lucy Arlington


 My sister, Judy, is a Cordon Bleu certified pastry chef. She runs her own business (Decadent Cakes) in a small town in Ontario, Canada, and makes the most delectable and beautiful cakes and pastries imaginable. Other than the fact that she is one of my best friends, there are two reasons I am glad she’s my sister.

One is that whenever we have the opportunity to get together, she brings along a treat she concocted in her kitchen. (Perhaps it’s a good thing that we live in different countries—otherwise I’d weigh a lot more!)

The other reason I love having a pastry chef for a sister is that she shares her recipes, at least the ones that an untrained baker like me can manage. Recently she and I were chatting on the computer (using FaceTime) and she’d just made a batch of Frangipani Tarts for the shop. She was eating one when I called (claiming she had to test them!). Her description of the tart made me hanker for one, and I wished that the technology existed whereby I could reach into the computer screen to take it out of her hand and eat it myself.

Of course I asked her for the recipe and a few days later I made a batch. They were easy, so I’m sharing the recipe with you. I made them two ways—for half the batch I used drained and dried canned cherries and the other half I used raspberry jam. I still haven’t decided which one I like the best, as they were both scrumptious.

Do you love the flavor of almonds, especially when combined with fruit? Then you definitely need to try making these.

Frangipani Tarts (or Almond Tartlets)









Crust:
(You can use your own pastry crust recipe, or buy those little frozen ready-made tart shells, but this tart crust recipe is the best.)
1 Cup flour  
2 Tbsp ground almonds (sometimes called almond flour, or almond meal)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 Cup icing sugar
1/2 Cup cold butter
1 large egg

1. In a food processor or mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment combine flour, ground almonds, salt, and icing sugar.
2. Add butter in chunks and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Add egg.  Mix until it's just starting to stick together.  Turn out onto counter and frazier (which is pastry-chef-speak for pushing the dough on counter with the heel of your hand until it comes together).
4. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and place in fridge for ten minutes.
5. Roll out dough and cut and place in 12 small tart pans.  If using right away stick the shells in the fridge while you make the frangipane.  If not, they can be frozen, then use from frozen.

Frangipani Filling:
1/4 Cup butter (room temp)
1/4 Cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 egg
1 1/4 tsp flour
1/3 Cup ground almonds

Raspberry Jam  (preferably seedless)
OR
Canned Cherries, drained, dried, and cut in half

1. In mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and icing sugar.
2. Add egg and almond extract.
3. Add flour and ground almonds. Mix until creamy.  
4. Place a teaspoon of jam in the bottom of the tart shell, or four cherry halves.
5. Spoon or pipe the frangipane mixture on top, smooth evenly to the edge of crust.  
6. Place a little dollop of the raspberry (or cherry) jam on the top and drag a toothpick down the centre from the top edge of the dollop and out the bottom to make a little heart. 7. Bake at 350 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown.

TOO delicious!