The malty flavor of whole-grain teff flour combines with juicy nectarines and plums in this surprisingly gluten-free, rustic frangipane tart.
The Food: Frangipane Tart with Plums & Nectarines
This is another recipe adapted ever so slightly from Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s genius book, Alternative Baker. (Her blueberry hand pies were also a hit.) The recipe length may look daunting, but the multiple steps ensure a flaky pie crust that is both whole-grain, gluten-free AND irresistibly good. This frangipane tart will convince those who associate “gluten-free” with “gross.”
What is Frangipane?
Frangipane is traditionally an almond filling, sometimes referred to as frangipane cream. It’s a mixture of butter, eggs, ground almonds, sugar, and usually a small amount of flour. It’s similar to marzipan, but the latter is an almond-sugar paste that’s so dense it can be formed into decorative shapes. While traditionally made with almonds, frangipane can be adapted with hazelnuts, pecans, or even sesame paste.
What is Teff Flour?
Teff flour is made from the gluten-free, whole grain. Hailing from Ethiopia and Eritrea, the name Teff is often assumed to be related to the word “lost” in Amharic – because of the tiny size (less than 1mm diameter – similar to a poppy seed) of its seeds. Since the grain is too small to process, it’s always eaten in whole grain form and boasts the highest calcium content of the whole grains. Many of Ethiopia’s long-distance runners attribute their sustained energy and successes to the health benefits of teff. They’re probably not eating it in tart form, but then again, I’m not planning to run a marathon.
The Personal: A Contrasts of Seasons
There have been so many changes in my life in the last year: a new relationship, a puppy, changing up the apartment to accommodate both, a barrage of work, and just generally navigating the contrasts caused by the pandemic. While these changes brought me a lot of joy, I missed the quiet and stillness I had found when the world was shut down. While many of my friends were eager to get back to “normal,” I was surprised by how difficult I found it to navigate.
I knew I needed to be gentle with myself. I needed to remind myself of what my friend “Brazil” would tell me if she were in the city. “Life is about contrast.” I needed to dig a little deeper to find the moments of quiet and stillness. What I found and what I relished were two sensory experiences that gave me pause this past summer and early fall: stone fruits and wildflowers.
I swear nectarines were the sweetest they’ve ever been, and I can’t tell you how many car trips included me gazing out the window in awe of goldenrod and bright purple blooms. I’m grateful for these seasonal delights. They helped to ground me and have inspired me to keep noticing as fall blankets my home.
Of course, stone fruits are even sweeter with butter and sugar.
The Mint ‘n Maple Corner:
I may be seasonally late in sharing this stone fruit recipe, but it’s not too late to make like Maple Le and soak up some sun.
You Might Also Like: Fried Pancake Horns with Teff Flour
When you fold gluten-free, whole-grain pancakes like sweet empanadas, fry them to give them that country fair style crispness, and then dust them with powdered sugar, you’ve taken pancakes to a whole new level. Think of these as a sweet treat teaser for your brunch. You’ll find the recipe for these in my book, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook. The pancakes featured have a Lemon Curd, Ricotta, and Blueberry filling, but you change it up: pumpkin and spice, Nutella and raspberries, chocolate whipped cream… there are so many possibilities!
Frangipane Tart with Plums and Nectarines
For the Gluten-Free Pie Crust
- 1/2 cup (80 g) sweet white rice flour (mochiko)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (35 g) GF oat flour
- 1/4 cup (35 g) teff flour
- 1/4 cup (30 g) cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons (15 g) tapioca starch/flour
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (15 g) finely ground chia seed
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 tablespoons (115 g) cold, unsalted butter, sliced 1/4" thick
- ¼ cup (60 mL) ice water
- ¼ cup (60 mL) cold buttermilk
For the Frangipane
- 1 cup (120 g) raw hazelnuts
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp (75 g) organic granulated cane sugar
- ¼ cup (34 g) hazelnut flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 Tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter, softened but cool
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
For the Stonefruit Filling:
- 1 lb (450 g) ripe but firm stonefruit (about 7 medium total nectarines and plums, or more depending on your pattern), sliced
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) milk or heavy cream, for brushing the dough
- 2 Tbsps (25 g) organic granulated cane sugar, for sprinkling
- 2-4 Tbsp (30-60 mL) honey, for drizzling
- Fresh herbs
To Make the Crust:
- In a large bowl, combine the rice, oat, and teff flours with the cornstarch, tapioca flour, ground chia seed, and salt. Scatter the butter pieces of the top, and work in with a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles gravel, with lots of butter chunks the size of large peas.
- Stir together the ice water and buttermilk, then drizzle the mixture over the flour mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing the dough with a rubber spatula to moisten evenly. Add just enough liquid for the dough to hold together when you give it a squeeze, and add it directly to the dry floury bits that like to hang out on the bottom of the bowl; you may need up to 8 tablespoons of liquid, total.
Use the “fraisage method” to form the dough:
- Dump the dough onto the counter. Grab a handful of dough, place it on the counter, put the heel of your hand on the dough, and push it away from you, scraping it across the surface several inches. Use a bench scraper to scrape the dough off the counter and place it back in the bowl. Repeat with the remaining dough. It should only take a minute or two to complete this process. Gather all of the dough into a ball, wrap it loosely in plastic wrap or a beeswax wrap, and flatten it into a disc. Chill the dough until firm, 30-60 minutes.
Roll the Dough:
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough out into a rough square that is about 1/4" thick. Fold it in thirds like you're folding a letter, then in thirds again, so the dough is a small, layered rectangle. Gently press to flatten it slightly, and chill for another 30 minutes.
Shape the Dough:
- Let the dough stand at room temperature until slightly softened, 5 minutes in a warm kitchen or 15 minutes in a cool kitchen. Sandwich the dough between two large pieces of parchment paper dusted lightly with teff flour, and gently begin pressing it flat, then roll it into a 12 x 16-inch (30 by 40-cm) rectangle. As you work, periodically peel back the top piece of parchment to dust the dough lightly with flour if need be. If the dough becomes too soft or sticky at any point, transfer to a baking sheet, and chill it for 10-20 minutes to firm the butter.
- When the dough measures 12 x 16 inches, use the bottom layer of parchment to slide the dough onto a sheet pan. Trim the sides so they’re even and straight.
For the Frangipane:
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts on a small, rimmed baking sheet and toast until the skins are loose, 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely, then rub off as much of the skins as you easily can.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the hazelnuts, sugar, hazelnut flour, and salt. Process until the nuts are very finely ground, 30-60 seconds. Add the softened butter, egg, vanilla, and almond extracts, and process to paste, 30 seconds. Don’t overprocess or the mixture could break and become greasy and separated.
- Use an offset spatula to spread the frangipane over the dough in an even layer, leaving a 1-inch (2.5-cm) border all the way around. Gently fold over the edges to make a generous 1-inch crust. Chill the dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
Prepare the Fruit:
- Arrange the sliced nectarines and plums in a perpendicular pattern. You want each array to be roughly the size of a serving, so the tart will be easier to cut.
- Brush the edges of the tart with milk, and sprinkle the sugar over the fruit and crust.
- Bake the tart until the frangipane is puffed and deeply bronzed, and the bottom of the tart is crisp, 40-50 minutes, rotating the tart toward the end of the baking time. The crust will look dark because of the teff flour, but take care not to underbake it, or the bottom will be soggy.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours.
- Just before serving, drizzle with honey and garnish with fresh herbs.