Be the Queen of Hearts: Frangipane Cherry Tarts

frangipane-cherry-tarts

As the weather cools here in New England, I start to think about hot tea, hot cocoa, and all the warm fall drinks I enjoy while sitting on the deck.  I love a good Vermont Steamer (hot milk and maple syrup) in the morning and a rich hot chocolate in the evening.

What makes each sip even better is when I have a sweet little treat to nibble on, just warm from the oven.  Our Maple Walnut Brownies are soft and meltingly good, heady with maple and nuts.  Mystery Cake is another fall favorite, spicy with cinnamon and clove to pair with your favorite tea.

While the brownies are homey, and the cake is fun, when I’m feeling romantic and Victorian, I make these Frangipane Cherry Tarts. Frangipane (fran-gee-pahn) is a rich almond filling that can be served baked solo in a tart crust, or mixed with fruits to make delightful fillings.

Crisp on top with a creamy center, frangipane is one of the classics of pastry making but little used outside of bakeries. Once you learn how to make it though, you’ll find yourself turning to it’s intense almond flavor and creaminess again and again.

These tarts also feature fresh cherries. Cherry and almond together are a taste sensation, and the deep red color of the fruit echoes the reds of the fall leaves as they turn sections of the valley to bright flame.

Let’s make Frangipane Cherry Tarts:

Roughly chop your cherries and check for pits. Place them in a microwave safe bowl and add the liquor or juice. Cover and microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside to cool as you make the batter.

Now is a good time to preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a pop up tart pan, or standard muffin tin.

What  looks like Play-doh, but is so much tastier? Almond paste is less sweet than marzipan, it’s easy to knead and break into pieces for adding to your recipes.

Cream the butter and almond paste with the sugar until light and fluffy with no lumps, then add the egg yolks.  Then beat in the vanilla.

On low speed, mix in the flour and almond flour. You don’t want to incorporate lots of air, so stick to a lower speed until the mixture is well combined.

The mixture should be thick, like cake batter and slightly grainy from the nut flour. For almond lovers, it will hard to keep from eating it by the spoonful.

Drain the excess liquid from the cherries and gently fold them into the batter by hand.

Fill the wells of your pan right to the brim. These tartlettes don’t rise so much as puff, so you shouldn’t have over-spill.

Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the centers are puffed and set. You want the centers to still be soft and tender inside so don’t overbake.

Cool the tarts in the pans for 5 to 8 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mmmm, warm cherry almond goodness.

If you are using muffin tins, take a minute to spread the batter out with your finger. The thick batter doesn’t spread much during baking so you want to fill all the pan with batter.

If you are wondering, yes, you can use canned cherries. The color isn’t a lovely and deep red but it can be done.

These tarts can be served warm, or at room temperature. They are delicious as is or you can dust with confectioners’ sugar to dress them up a bit. The contrast of crisp outer edges with the creamy, soft, melt-away middle is divine, it’s hard to eat just one. Good thing the recipe makes several!

Please bake, rate and review our recipe for Frangipane Cherry Tarts.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. jenh76

    These look wonderful, and I look forward to baking them. Perhaps it would be helpful to note in the recipe that you’re using canned almond paste, and not the stuff in the tube? In my experience, there’s a significant difference.
    Yes, this is true. You want to be sure you are using almond paste not marzipan for this recipe. Marzipan is made from blending almond paste with confectioners sugar, corn syrup and fondant. The consistency is stiffer and quite different from almond paste. Elisabeth @ KAF

    Reply
  2. Wei-Wei

    They look amazing! I thought that you put actual flower in them, at first. Do you know why they’re called Frangipane tarts?
    HI Wei-Wei,
    The frangipane is from the name of the almond filling used. It’s different from the flower frangipane, but both are lovely in their own way. :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. cchamfam03

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! But I have a question first.
    The printable recipe is different from the photo directions. The printable recipe lists 2 eggs, the photo lists only egg yolks; also the recipe lists adding the cherry liquid, the photo lists draining cherry liquid before adding. Which is correct?
    Sorry for the confusion, I’ve updated the recipe online. It was an earlier version that hadn’t gotten all the corrections. Glad you’re my proofreader :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. debruval50

    I just purchased this tart pan and can’t wait for it to arrive. I plan on making these tarts as soon as I can.
    Wonderful! I just love it when a plan comes together. ;) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. screamingmadre

    These look great. It looks as if you use the sweeter, dark cherries. Or is that just the photography? If you use the more tart pie cherries with extra sugar, will the dough still be ok, or will it mess with the chemical karma?

    I think we used black cherries in this one. Either will be delicious. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  6. KimberlyD

    Does the almond paste taste better than marzipan? I don’t like marzipan. Do you think other fruit might work like apple or blueberry or peach?

    Almond Paste has less sugar, letting the almond flavor shine through boldly. I think any other tender fruit would work in this recipe. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  7. binag

    I live in Hong Kong and almond paste is not available here but marzipan is. Is there any way I could substitute one for the other? Or could I make my own almond paste? I would really love to try this recipe.

    Marzipan has a greater percentage of sugar, compared to almond paste which is close to a 50:50 blend. They are not equal substitutes. Marzipan can vary greatly between brands on it’s sugar content. Almond paste is made by slowly grinding almonds and sugar together, under controlled temperature conditions. I don’t think it is possible to recreate it at home. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  8. Joy

    I was living in Denmark until recently and nothing called “almond paste” was available there either. However, the marcipan was the same as almond paste here. Binag I suspect you will have to look carefully at the ingredients to determine what it really is. It may be the same thing that is called almond paste in the States.

    Joy

    Reply
  9. hara san

    Hi, can i substitue almond butter in this recipe?- i have a lot of it now:)
    You could not substitute the almond butter for the almond paste. But, you could try substituting 1/3 of the butter with the almond butter. Let us know how it goes! Elisabeth @ KAF

    Reply
  10. volpe0311

    Joy, I was surprised to read that when you were living in Denmark you were unable to find almond paste. Both almond paste and marzipan are sold in plastic tubes in a box (7 ounces each), manufactured by Odense in Denmark. Available in supermarkets here in the U.S. in the baking section. There is also a company that manufactures almond paste and poppyseed fillings (in cans). Can’t remember the brand. You might check out Odense.com on the Internet. Hope this helps.
    I think the brand is American Almond. They make a good product which we use here in our bakery and in our Baking Education Center. The Love n Bake brand that we sell can also be found in US grocery stores. Elisabeth @ KAF

    Reply
  11. omaria

    I made these little tarts this morning . Used frozen apricot halves.(defrosted and soaked in apricot brandy).Also used fiori di sicillia instead of vanilla. Wanted to take them to my daughter this evening but hubby told me to leave them here. They are not that good and he will sacrifice himself by eating them…… They are just delicious !! By the way, we buy almondpaste in big 7 lbs.cans from Blue Diamond. Ria.

    Reply
  12. DonnaChase

    I can’t wait to try these, they look delicious. However, I mistakenly read “dried cherries” in the recipe, and that is what I ordered from KAF. Can the dried cherries be used successfully in this recipe?
    Thanks Donna

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Absolutely, Donna – go ahead and microwave them with the liquor, just as you would with the fresh. I’m thinking this will be a tasty new version of this recipe! :) PJH

  13. DonnaChase

    Thank you, I will give the dried cherries a go and let you know how they turn out.
    Also, do you know where I could obtain the rectangular tart pans you show in your photos? I have not been able to find them anywhere.

    Thanks Donna

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      We used to carry that pan, Donna, but unfortunately no longer do. Not sure where you might find it – though I think the mfr. might have been Chicago Metallic, if that helps… PJH

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