This post has been updated for recipe, photos and content since its original publication in 2015.
If you’re looking for an elegant dessert for a special occasion, this easy frangipane tart is a good one. There are three components to the dish: a pate sucrée pastry, almond filling and honey and spice poached apples. The individual components are easy to make and you can assemble them ahead of time and bake the apple frangipane tart the day you’re serving it. A dusting of powdered sugar gives a sweet, snowy effect to the fruit filled almond tart. It’s a rich, buttery dessert, but not overly sweet.
Frangipane tart is an elegant fall dessert
Puffed, sugared tarts like this one remind me of the French bakeries in Paris, their displays lined with beautiful fruit tarts and confections. In fact this apple frangipane tart is something you’d likely find in one of those patisseries.
This apple frangipane tart has three components. The pastry (pate sucrée), frangipane almond filling and poached apples.
Pate Sucrée is a lightly sweetened pastry that’s a good choice for tarts. You can roll out the dough or just press it into the tart pan (which is what I do).
Each component for the frangipane tart can be made up to several days ahead of time and refrigerated until you’re ready to assemble the dessert.
Since the pastry needs to be refrigerated whether you’re making it ahead of time or baking the tart the same day, I usually start by making the pate sucrée first.
Pate sucrée ingredients
- Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- Nonfat Dry Milk
- Cubed Cold Unsalted Butter
- Egg Yolk
- Vanilla (or Almond) Extract
- Ice Water
You can make the pate sucrée for the apple frangipane tart by hand or in a food processor. I prefer the food processor because it cuts the butter in quickly and efficiently.
Steps for pate sucrée
- Combine the flour, dry milk powder, sugar and salt in a food processor or bowl and mix to combine.
- Add the cubed, very cold unsalted butter and pulse several times to cut the butter into the dry ingredients or use a pastry cutter to do it by hand.
- Mix the egg yolk, extract and ice water in a small bowl and add to the pastry flour mixture.
- Pulse together or mix with a spatula until the mixture starts to hold together. If the pastry is very dry, you can add another tablespoon of ice water until it holds together.
- Bring the dough together into a ball (it’s ok if there are whole bits or streaks of butter (that makes it flaky) and press into a disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour. Note: if you’re making the pastry ahead of time, assemble it to this point and remove the pastry from the refrigerator 15 minutes before going on to the next step.
Blind baking pate sucrée for apple frangipane tart
- Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll it out to a 12″ diameter, and place it in the tart pan.
- Press the bottom and sides of the pate sucrée into the tart pan and prick all over with the tines of a fork.
- Return to the refrigerator and chill for an additional 30 minutes.
You’ll want to poach the apples for the frangipane tart before assembling so that they are slightly softened.
Poaching the apples in the spiced honey syrup adds a subtle sweetness and flavor to the fruit.
Making poached apples
- To a large saucepan add the honey, sugar, water, cinnamon, vanilla and star anise. Bring the pot to a simmer and stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Maintain the poaching liquid at a low simmer (do not boil).
- Peel the apples and slice them in half vertically.
- Use a melon baller to remove the core and cut away the stem and base of the apple with a paring knife.
- Add the apples to the poaching liquid and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the apples are tender, but not soft. You should be able to pierce the apples with a paring knife and the knife should slide in and out of the apples easily.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let the apples cool in the poaching liquid to room temperature. (Note: you can make the apples to this point then transfer to a storage container with the liquid and refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the apple frangipane tart, up to 3 days ahead.
Frangipane is a soft almond flavored filling that nestles and hugs the poached apples.
It’s easy to make using a stand mixer, but you can also use a hand mixer.
Make sure you cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy for the frangipane filling.
Ingredients for frangipane filling
- Cold Unsalted Butter
- Almond Flour
- All Purpose Flour
- Almond Extract
- Lime Zest
- Dark Rum
Making almond frangipane filling
- In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together for 5 minutes on high speed until very light and fluffy.
- Alternate adding the almond flour and eggs in 3 separate additions, beating well between each addition.
- Add the almond extract, lime juice and rum and stir to combine.
Note: You can make the frangipane filling up to this point, cover and refrigerate for up to three days until you’re ready to assemble the apple frangipane tart.
To assemble the apple almond tart
- Just before baking, line the pastry with a piece of parchment paper that overhangs all the sides.
- Fill the parchment with ceramic pie weights (or dried rice or beans) and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tart is light golden and set. Note: pie weights prevent the pastry from puffing up out of the shell as it blind bakes.
- Let the pastry cool to room temperature, then fill the pastry with the frangipane filling. Use an offset spatula to smooth it to the edges in the par-baked pate sucrée shell.
- Remove the apples from the poaching liquid and dry them well with paper towels. Cut the poached apples into 1/4″ slices and fan them out in a radial pattern from the center of the tart to the crust edge. Fill in any gaps with additional poached apple.
- Transfer the frangipane tart to a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the frangipane filling is golden and set.
The frangipane filling puffs up around the poached apples as the tart bakes, enveloping the tender fruit with sweet almond confection.
All of the components in this classic apple almond tart work in concert with each other from the lightly sweetened pate sucrée to the soft, fragrant frangipane and spiced poached apples.
Be sure to let the frangipane tart cool to room temperature before sprinkling with powdered sugar to serve. Note: it’s also delicious with freshly whipped chantilly cream.
This classic fall and winter dessert can also be made with pears, just be sure to use firm pears for poaching, so they hold their shape without falling apart.
Though there are several steps required to make apple almond tart, none are difficult and the result is pretty impressive.
This beautiful dessert is ideal for Thanksgiving and Christmas or New Year’s celebrations or other special occasions.
More fall and winter desserts you might like:
- Rustic Apple Cranberry Walnut Tart
- Autumn Spiced Baked Pears
- Sweet Tart Apple Cranberry Pie
- Cranberry Pear Upside Down Cake
- Death By Chocolate Fudge Tart
Apple Frangipane Tart
- 9" tart pan with removeable bottom
- Food Processor
FOR THE PATE SUCRÉE
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon nonfat dry milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into 1/4" cubes (cut the butter into cubes and refrigerate until you need it)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ice water
FOR THE POACHED APPLES:
- 3 large Granny Smith Apples or other firm apples
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 whole anise seeds
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise, seeds scraped
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup almond flour
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 lime zested (can use lemon)
- 1 tablespoon dark or golden rum
FOR THE PATE SUCRÉE:
- Add the flour, nonfat dry milk, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to combine.
- Add the butter cubes to the flour and pulse quickly, about 10-12 times until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- Whisk the egg yolk, vanilla extract and ice water together and add to the flour mixture. Pulse quickly, just until the dough starts to come together.
- Turn the pastry dough onto a work surface and bring it together in a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Transfer the pastry to a 9” tart pan with removable bottom. Press the pastry into the bottom and sides of the pan. Prick it all over with the tines of a fork and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
- While the tart shell is chilling, preheat the oven to 375°.
- Place a sheet of parchment over the tart shell and weigh it down with pie weights or a pound of dried beans (note: you won’t be able to eat the beans, but you can save them as pie weights for future use).
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until very light golden brown.
FOR THE POACHED APPLES:
- In a large saucepan bring the water sugar and honey to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cinnamon, anise and vanilla bean with seeds. Keep the heat at a low simmer.
- While you’re bringing the poaching liquid to a simmer, peel the apples and slice in half vertically. Use a melon baller to remove the seeds and trim away the core with a sharp paring knife.
- Transfer the apples to the poaching liquid and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until slightly softened but not mushy. Be sure not to over cook the fruit, otherwise it will fall apart. (Note, you can do this with very firm ripe pears as well).
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the apples to a bowl or storage container. Strain the poaching liquid through a fine mesh strainer over the apples and let cool to room temperature. You can make the apples to this point up to 3 days in advance. Refrigerate until you’re ready to proceed with the recipe.
FOR THE FRANGIPANE:
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Alternate adding the almond flour and eggs. Start with 1/3 cup of almond flour, mix well and add one egg. Blend thoroughly before adding 1/3 cup almond flour, followed by the egg, etc.
- Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and use a spatula to fold it into the frangipane mixture until just blended.
- Add the lime zest, almond extract and rum and stir to combine.
- Note: you can make the frangipane to this point and refrigerate, covered, until you’re ready to assemble the tart.
ASSEMBLE THE FRANGIPANE TART:
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Transfer the frangipane filling to the tart shell and use an offset spatula to evenly spread the filling into the shell.
- Remove the apples from the poaching liquid and pat very dry with paper towels. (Be sure to remove as much liquid from the apples as possible).
- Slice the apples vertically from root to tip into 1/4” thick slices. Fan the apple slices in a radial pattern from the center of the tart out to the edge of the shell. Fill in any empty spaces with additional apple slices.
- Using two hands, carefully transfer the tart to a baking sheet and place into the oven. Place the apple frangipane tart into the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the frangipane filling is light brown and set.
- Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. When the tart has cooled, add a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar to a mesh sieve and sprinkle the top of the tart with the sugar. Serve.