Frangipane (Almond Cream)

Frangipane (Almond Cream)

posted in Bakes, Pastry, Recipes, Tart on with 26 Replies

Frangipane, also know as frangipani in Italian and crème frangipane in French, is as rich and velvety as it sounds. It is an almond pastry cream that is used as a filling in tarts, cakes and assorted pastries. It is comprised of creamed butter and sugar, with eggs and finely ground almonds added in. The term can be used to refer to both the almond cream itself or the pastry that is filled with it.

While most pastry terms reflect a characteristic of the substance or technique they refer to, that is not the case in this instance. This anomaly was enough to spark my curiosity and set me on a search of the origins of this delectable cream. I soon discovered that my culinary hunch was correct, and this mystery took on a life of its own.  I learned that the word frangipani itself is actually derived from the Italian phrase “frangere il pane,” which means “bread-breakers.” One legend states that this name was bestowed upon a noble Italian family in the 11th century for their generosity in distributing bread to the poor during a time of great famine. Sifting through the lore of this lusciousness, I came upon two possible origins of the almond cream moniker. Both of these deliciously savory stories feature members of the Frangipani family. 

One such account of the origin of frangipane features the Italian noblewoman and member of the Frangipani family, Jacopa da Settesoli, and St. Francis of Assisi. Upon meeting St. Francis, Jacopa became a follower and benefactor of his, and was so moved by St. Francis that she spent the remainder of her life in service to him and others in need. St. Francis had given Jacoba the title of “Brother” in gratitude for her service and determination, a title that allowed her entry into the friary to visit with the dying St. Francis at a time where women were forbidden to enter. It was said that St. Francis requested her appearance at his death bed and asked that she bring with her an almond sweet that she had made him during one of his visits to her in Rome. While it is believed that he was too ill to consume it, this sweet nonetheless became known as frangipani.

Another account is that this almond cream’s namesake was a 16th century Italian nobleman living in Paris by the name of Marquis Muzio Frangipani.  Frangipani was the inventor of a popular accessory of the time, a bitter almond perfumed glove, said to have been worn by Louis XIII. It is believed that in order to capitalize on the popularity of these almond scented gloves, pâtisseries flavored pastry cream with almonds and called it “frangipane.”

The following is my recipe for this delightful filling. 

Ingredients:

1    cup (114 grams) finely ground whole blanched almonds or almond flour (preferably organic)

½  cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

3    tablespoons (30 grams) King Arthur’s unbleached all-purpose flour

¼  teaspoon salt

4    tablesoons ½ stick (57 grams) Lurpak, or any European style, unsalted butter, softened

2    large organic farm fresh eggs

Zest of 1 organic tangerine

How to Use Them:

Process whole almonds or almond flour until finely ground. It is wise to use the pulsing method for processing the almonds to avoid over-grinding them into an almond paste.  IMG_9234Use the creaming method to beat the softened butter and sugar for 2 minutes on medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, if using a hand held mixer add 2 additional minutes.IMG_9272Add the ground almonds and beat on medium speed until blended, approximately 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.IMG_9280Break the eggs in a separate bowl and add the eggs one at a time on medium-low speed, beating well after each addition.IMG_9300Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and add the 3 tablespoons of flour. Beat on low speed until just incorporated, approximately 1 minute.IMG_9306This frangipane is now ready to be used as is or flavored as your favorite tart or pastry recipe calls for. This mixture can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to a week.IMG_9322

26 Comments on “Frangipane (Almond Cream)

  • Pingback: Rhubarb Tangerine Frangipane Tart | Laws Of Baking

    • Thank you so much for your question Sophie. This recipe is actually meant as a filing, so you are absolutely correct, whether in a tart on its own, or as a layer, you would definitely bake it!

      Reply
  • I just found your website, i love it!!!, can this filling be used for layered cakes, or only if it is baked in a pie or tart. I was wondering about the raw egg, would love to place this recipe in my go to stash!!

    Reply
    • Much gratitude for your kindness, I have yet to try it in a layered cake, but it may work if it is baked into that cake as long as it’s the base layer since it is more dense than a sponge, or maybe marbled in a more dense batter like a pound cake. I bet it would also work beautifully as perhaps a layer in a brownie or bar cookie. I don’t think it would serve you well as a traditional cake filing since as you noted it’s got raw eggs in it, but it is quite lovely when baked. I hope these are some helpful ideas, I will try baking it in cake myself soon and let you know how it turns out!

      Reply
      • Thank You So Much For the Super Quick Response, How I can Find the European Butter!!!, I’ve heard they are the best!!!

        Reply
        • I absolutely love European butter as the lower water content results in a richer product, with better texture and crumb. Fortunately, you can now find them in most grocery stores. Look for such brands as Plugra, Lurpak, Kerrygold, but make sure you always get unsalted butter so you are able to control the salt content yourself. I hope this helps. Happy baking friend!

          Reply
      • It seems to me that once cooked, it could be used as a typical American style cake filling, perhaps by baking in a qt container, cooling, then place between the layers- then frosted. I’d refrigerate the cake also. But the recipe looks lovely and I’d love to try this idea!

        Reply
      • I would line a cake pan with parchment and pipe the filling in a circle starting from the center and working out. Then bake on its own. This would be the best way to add a layer in between cakes without mixing it in cake batter etc. And as long as its the same pan size it would be easy enough to stack and not have to trim to fit the cake rounds or what ever pan shape you would use. Maybe give it a spritze of simple syrup to make it a tad moister and then layering with cake or butter cream. Or better yet a thin layer of ganache! I rather like this idea. I love frangipane and a nice yellow sponge with a layer or two in between sounds awesome! Im thinking apricot glaze ontop of a yellow sponge with frangipane and a layer of dark chocolate ganache or mousse even? And thanks for the history lesson! Very cool. Even if its what I call “useless information “..i.e something you’ll never need to know but like anyway. I love to have an idea of where and when things came to be. Thank you! Now to try this dark chocolate,apricote and frangipane sponge idea!

        Reply
        • Jennifer, thank you so much for your comment, the wonderful insight and inspiring ideas. I am loving the dark chocolate, apricot and frangipane combination! Please let us know how it turns out.

          Merci,
          Effie

          Reply
  • Great information! I have been recently been giving myself an education , on the difference between almond paste & marzipan. You just answered all my questions on frangipane..very helpful .

    Reply
    • Effie Post author

      Amanda, thank you so much for your question. This is not a cake that would normally require refrigeration and should be fine at room temperature for a few days. However, if you live in a warm climate, it’s best to not leave it out, but make sure you wrap it tightly prior to refrigerating to minimize drying out. Also, if you add any kind of dairy based topping such as whipped cream or buttercream, then you would definitely want to refrigerate it.

      Merci,
      Effie

      Reply
  • As to the origin, the first story seems apocryphal and unlikely to have spread far and wide, just how many witnesses were there at St. Francis’ death bed who then turned around and asked their cook to whip up this pastry no one tasted that night?

    As for the second account, it certainly has all the hallmarks of a celebrity driven marketing scheme that went viral. The fact that it happened in Paris, where the recipe was likely to quickly become standardized, seems to bolster the claim. Thanks for the fun post!

    Reply
    • Jenny, much gratitude for the comment, and please forgive the late reply as I was not receiving the notices that a comment was made. I LOVE pistachios and have often added and substituted ground pistachios in this recipe. As long as the weight remains the same, you can certainly play with the nut mixture and see what you flavors you enjoy best.

      Merci,
      Effie

      Reply
  • Effie,
    I just made a fresh fruit tart with almond pastry cream (the recipe called it frangipane) and it came out tasty, but the texture was a bit granular due to the almonds. Is frangipane meant to be smooth or have a bit of texture to it? Should I have strained it? This was not a baked version such as your recipe as the mixture was cooked on the stove.

    Thank you for your advice!

    Reply
    • Alison, much gratitude for the comment, and please forgive the late reply as I was not receiving the notices that a comment was made.

      So I have made and have tasted various recipes for Frangipane and depending on who makes it, the texture differed greatly. I personally prefer a smoother texture, which is why my recipe calls for the almond to be finely ground. The texture of the Frangipane really depends upon how finely ground your almonds are. While this recipe will never be a creamy texture due to the almond flour content, it can be less grainy with a finer almond flour.

      Thank you so much for your question, andI hope this helps!

      Merci,
      Effie

      Reply
    • Cheryl, much gratitude for the comment, and please forgive the late reply as I was not receiving the notices that a comment was made.

      That is a great question. I think the answer to your question really lies in choosing the right fruit for the tart. Fruits with a high water content like berries will release a lot of water during the baking process and in turn shrink away from the Frangipane filling. I love using less water logged fruit like apricot, figs, or even a vegetable like I have done in this rhubarb tart: http://lawsofbaking.com/rhubarbtart/

      Thank you so much for reaching out and I hope this helps!

      Merci,
      Effie

      Reply
    • Gennie, much gratitude for the comment, and please forgive the late reply as I was not receiving the notices that a comment was made.

      I love that your looking for a recipe to make for your brother, that is so sweet! I have a twin brother and when we lived together in college, I used to cook and bake for him all the time!

      The most common use of Frangipane is in a tart like the one I have here: http://lawsofbaking.com/rhubarbtart/

      Another one of my favorite almond recipes in this Rosemary Lemon Financiers which a little Petite French Almond Cakes found here: http://lawsofbaking.com/financiers/. You can certainly leave the rosemary out if you prefer and just flavor with the lemon if he’s not a fan of the herb element (though I love it and it adds a unique and lovely flavor to the cakes).

      Thank you so much for reaching out and I hope this helps!

      Merci,
      Effie

      Reply
  • Pingback: Frangipane and Pear Galette | I Say Nomato

    • Sandy, much gratitude for the comment, and please forgive the late reply as I was not receiving the notices that a comment was made.

      Oh my goodness, what a great idea! I think that would be a lovely dessert. I would actually add a touch of ground cardamom along with the tangerine or orange zest to compliment the middle eastern phyllo dough, as well as topping with some orange blossom flavored simple syrup since both the phyllo dough and Frangipane will be a bit dry.

      Thank you so much for reaching out, and I hope this helps!

      Merci,
      Effie

      Reply
  • Hi! Can you describe how you developed your recipe? Or describe your thoughts on:

    -Flour or no flour?
    -Some recipes call for equal masses of almond, butter and sugar, but did you find those too greasy? I would rather decrease butter and sugar as well.
    -Will the frangipane still puff up if refrigerated for a week before baking?

    I made a frangipane tart once, but I forgot the quantities I used. I’m planning to make one again, but I can’t decide on a recipe. Thanks for any help!

    Reply

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