Friday, June 21, 2013

Gluten Free Plum Frangipan Tarts

Happy first official day of summer! It always seems, at least in the United States, that summer “begins” with Memorial Day at the end of May, but regardless of when summer actually begins, I’m glad that it’s here.  I love that many of our meals are filled with fresh, delicious fruits & vegetables.  I look forward to the many batches of jam & preserves I’ll be making.

This summer, I have been anticipating one fruit in particular: plums.

In the past, I’m not sure that I gave the humble plum the praise it is worth.  While I’ve enjoyed eating plums, they certainly were not at the top of my list of favorite summer fruits & I don’t think I had ever baked with them...

My opinion on plums changed drastically last summer/fall when, on a whim, I brought home a good amount of plums from a grocery store sale (don’t hate on the grocery store--we don’t have access to a farmer’s market! or a CSA, sadly).... I sliced & pitted the plums, & cooked them into the most delicious batch of jam I made all year.  Seriously. Possibly the best jam I’ve ever made!

Usually each batch of jam I make has a little left over that does not fit into all the canning jars.  That leftover jam goes into the fridge & we enjoy it on toast (or whatever we feel like spreading jam on).  As the first taste of the plum jam hit our tongues, we looked at each other in amazement at how good it was.  And then my husband insisted we go to the store to get MORE plums, just to ensure there would be enough jam to last us through the winter.

I have yet to make a new batch of plum jam (and we are dangerously close to running out), but I recently saw a few black & red plums on sale in the grocery store.  It felt a little early in the season for them?  But then I do need to remind myself that the growing season in Texas is much, much earlier than what I have previously been use to in North Dakota.  I decided to buy a few of the plums  to test out their flavor & also to try my hand at baking with them.

Stone fruits always pair well with almond, in my opinion.  And I also needed to make a test batch of frangipan (an almond pound cake batter) to use in some croissants I was making for a baby shower.  So, paring the plums with the frangipan was a no-brainer for me.

After making & laminating two delicious, albeit gluten filled, batches of croissant dough, I took the leap into making a batch of gluten free blitz puff pastry so that I could taste some laminated dough goodness.  I had not intended on doing a whole post on gluten free blitz puff pastry, but I realized while writing this post, which utilizes the gluten free blitz puff pastry, that many (if not most) people have never made their own laminated doughs & that the process warranted it’s own post. So, if you want to make your own gluten free laminated dough, check out my previous post.

I cut the finished blitz puff pastry into squares, egg washed the tops to help them stay shiny & become golden, dabbed on a little frangipan, and topped it with a few slices of red and black plums.  I love the color contrast between the two plum varieties!  Even though making the pastry crust was a labor of love, the rest of the tart assembly came together really quickly.

After a 30ish minute bake in the oven, and a little brush of glaze post glazing, the plum frangipan tarts were ready to eat!  The pastry was crisp & crumbly (like a good puff pastry should be), the plums provided a bit of tartness, and the frangipan (which lets be honest, I could just eat all on it’s own, raw or baked) added a sweetness to compliment the tart plums.  I ate one all on it’s own--quality control, you know. But the real stars were the ones we ate later that evening with a scoop of ice cream.

I wonder what other baked items I can make with plums? My brain is humming with possibilities of this new-to-me ingredient.

yields 6 individual tarts 

This recipe will make more than you need to for the six tarts, but it is difficult to scale it any smaller. Store any leftover frangipan in the refrigerator. Or bake it in greased ramekins with more sliced plums on top.

55 g Butter, at room temp 
55 g Granulated Sugar
55 g Almond Flour (see note below) 
1 egg
1/2 tsp Almond Extract 

  1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar, on medium speed, until the mixture is fluffy & has lightened in color.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  
  2. Add the almond flour & mix, on low to medium speed until combined. Add the egg and almond extract.  Mix on low speed until just combined. Scrape the bowl as necessary.  
  3. Store in the fridge until ready to use.  The batter will keep in the refrigerator for several days.  

Note: if you don’t have almond flour, can use whole almonds (skins on or off) & pulse them in the food processor with the butter & granulated sugar. The texture will be more grainy, but the batter will still be delicious & work just fine. 

2 ripe Plums, red & black, sliced thin
1/2 batch Blitz Puff Pastry (or substitute regular store bought puff pastry, which is not gluten free) 
1 egg
1 batch Frangipan
Apricot Glaze (2 Tbl Apricot Jam & 2 tsp to 1 Tbl Water), optional 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. 
  2. Remove the puff pastry from the freezer & allow to thaw slightly. (only slightly).
  3. Slice plums into 1/4” thick pieces, but keep the skin. 
  4. Scramble the egg in a small dish to make egg wash.
  5. Using a pastry wheel/pizza cutter or a very sharp knife, cut all the edges of the dough, so that the layers are all exposed & the dough will puff more in the oven. Cut the pastry into squares that are between 3.5 inches & 4 inches, depending on the size of the dough. Place each pastry square onto a parchment lined baking sheet. 
  6. Brush the tops of each square with a light layer of egg wash, taking care not to egg wash the sides (or else the layers will not be as visible.  
  7. Spoon one tablespoon of the frangipan onto the center of each square & spread out slightly.  
  8. Top with thin slices of plum, alternating between the red & black plums. 
  9. Immediately place the baking sheet into the oven & bake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes, or until the pastry & frangipan are golden. 
  10. While the tarts are baking, make the optional glaze.  In a small microwave safe dish (such as a ramekin), microwave the jam & water for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Stir to make sure the water & jam combine. Reheat as necessary to keep a liquid consistency. 
  11. Once the tarts are removed from the oven, allow them to cool for a few minutes before brushing the tops with the jam glaze.  Or simply dust them with confectioners’ sugar. 
  12. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Top with ice cream, if desired.  
  13. Store any leftovers at room temperature & re-crisp in the oven before serving (DO NOT EVER MICROWAVE LAMINATED DOUGHS! Microwaves suck all of the love out of the layers of laminated doughs).  Enjoy within two days. 

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