How many times have you wanted to bake something only to be thwarted by a store cupboard shortage or lack of ingredients in your local shop?
This post is less of a recipe than a series of ideas and suggestions around a theme. While making drunken plum tart several times over Christmas, I fell more than a little in love with frangipane and have been looking for other ways to use it ever since. Previously I’d associated frangipane with the sickly sweet almond filling you often find in croissants – a heavier, altogether different beast from the light, sweet simplicity of the version I made at home. With a new-found favourite and a new technique added to my baking repertoire, I was keen to get experimenting.
After seeing this recipe over on one of my favourite baking blogs, I knew that chocolate frangipane had to be next on my list. In the original version cocoa powder is used, but I wanted to try out melted chocolate to see how it affected the texture (and because, well, I love melted chocolate). I also decided to swap out the sliced pears for cherries, not quite ready to let go of the winning combination of sweet, tart stone fruit and folds of frangipane I had so adored in that original plum tart.
Early on Saturday morning I made my pastry, adding a little almond flour for texture and cocoa for richness (and to echo the flavours of the frangipane with which I would fill it). My tartlet cases baked, I used a wooden spoon to beat a velvet bowl of almond frangipane before stirring in a glossy slick of melted chocolate. Chocolate frangipane sitting on the side, I headed out to the shops to pick up a punnet of cherries for my filling.
Of course cherries aren’t in season at the moment, something I’d completely ignored in my excitement at the idea of this chocolate-cherry combination. I returned home empty handed and, impatient to get on with the task at hand, decided to bake up my tarts without any fruit, simply scattering a few flaked almonds over the smoothed-out frangipane.
The resulting tarts were lovely, but felt somehow incomplete. Similar in ingredients to a flourless chocolate brownie but with near equal quantities of butter, sugar, chocolate, almond and egg, the frangipane bakes up to a texture that is both light yet solid, rich without being overly chocolaty. It’s delicious, but takes on another, incredible dimension when given the contrast in flavour and texture provided by slices of pear, cherry or another type of fruit.
On Sunday, I went against all my principles and bought a bag of cherries from Chile (the ones you can see in these photos). In spite of the appalling number of air miles, I can confirm that they worked wonderfully stoned and eaten with the chocolate tarts, so while the recipe below is what I actually baked, I’d highly recommend using it as a starting point only. Stud some stoned cherries into the batter before baking, layer it with pears or if you really can’t find any fruit, try a little layer of jam underneath the frangipane. Different nuts would also be amazing – try swapping out the almonds in both crust and frangipane for pistachios or hazelnuts, both perfect partners with chocolate.
Most of the recipes I post in this space are tried, tested and loved. While these tarts are tested in their most basic form – and certainly loved for their chocolaty flavour and crisp, nutty pastry – this post is also intended as a springboard for you to try something new. If you come up with any alternative flavour combinations, I’d love to hear about them. I’ll definitely keep experimenting and keep you up to date with mine.
Chocolate Cherry Frangipane Tarts
(makes 8 little tarts)
For the pastry
125g plain flour
25g icing sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder
75g butter, slightly softened, cubed
50g ground almonds
1 large free range egg yolk + 1 tsp cold water
For the frangipane
100g unsalted butter, softened
110g golden caster sugar
100g ground almonds
100g free range egg (approx. 2 large eggs but I’d recommend weighing if you can), beaten
95g plain dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), melted
For the pastry
Sift the flour, icing sugar and cocoa into a medium-sized bowl. Add the cubed butter to the bowl and rub with your fingers until no lumps are left. Stir in the ground almonds.
Loosely beat the egg yolk and cold water together then mix into the butter and flour mixture until you have a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for an hour to firm up.
Remove the pastry from the fridge 5 minutes before you want to use it. Divide the dough into eight equal portions. Flour the work surface and roll one portion of dough into a thin round. Line an individual, loose bottomed tartlet tin with the pastry, trimming off any excess around the rim. Repeat with the seven remaining tins (or, if like me, you only have four, freeze half the dough), then prick the base of each tartlet and pop in the freezer for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Remove the tartlets from the freezer, line with baking parchment and baking beans and bake for fifteen minutes. Remove the baking beans and bake for a further 5 – 10 minutes until crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside while you make your frangipane.
For the frangipane
In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add a quarter of the ground almonds and a quarter of the egg, beat until combined then repeat until all the almond and egg is incorporated.
Stir in the melted chocolate until the mixture is completely smooth then spoon into the pre-baked tartlet cases so that they are approximately two-thirds full.
Scatter with flaked almonds then bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the frangipane has puffed up slightly and feels set to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before topping with fresh cherries and serving.
47 responses to “Chocolate Cherry Frangipane Tarts”
what lovely tarts!
I so like tarts!!! yuummy!
I hear you on playing around with recipes – I seem to be going through a phase where I keep on playing with similar ingredients or techniques for a while before moving onto something else entirely.
And yes, I agree with you re the sickly sweet filling you often get in croissants – although I must say I have a weak spot for Gail’s almond croissants (the best I have ever tasted).
I made a walnut frangipane the other day to fill a wholemeal spelt Galette de Roi for Epiphany which was lovely. I am thinking a walnut frangipane would work wonders in between layers of chocolate puff pastry and sprinkled with sea salt. As for using different fruits – I cannot wait for apricot season! I can already see some little pastry shells filled with pistachio frangipane and juicy halved apricots in my future!
Nicole – thank you.
Trials in Food – thanks!
Milk & Bun – me too 😉
Kerry – thank you.
Sophia – just had a look around your lovely blog and subscribed to updates. Walnut frangipane sounds absolutely fab. I’ve got a recipe for apricot and pistachio frangipane tarts on my blog – they’re really delicious, do have a look 🙂
I will definitely have a look at the apricot & pistachio frangipane tart recipe! And thanks for the follow!
I loved reading about your journey with these tarts. I love experimenting with cooking. Somethings are more successful than others, but it’s funny how your original intuition is always right, as it was with the cherries.
I love the idea of using this recipe as a starting point – I can think of so many ways to use this, thank you! I’m not sure I’ve ever made frangipane but you describe it so wonderfully that I can’t wait to try!
Love frangipane! Must give this a go!
Looks wonderful, could just do with one to go with my morning coffee!
I’ve been dreaming about a chocolate frangipane for the past few weeks. I kept thinking how I could make it work best but you have done an amazing job. They look so good.
One of my favourite tart filling when I have fruit is frangipane , and as youve discovered, its extremely versatile and so hard to resist. This combination is lovely and although you may have clocked up some air miles on the cherries for this teat .., sometimes you just have to work with your ideas…its more fun that way .
I´m a big fan of chocolate and berries, but cherries are my favorite pairing for sure. I´ve been trying out walnut and pistachio cream instead of always almond and I don´t understand why it´s not used more. Frangipane is good with so many fruits, it´s amazing. Now, a chocolate nut cream is one of the best things I came across lately. I adore this idea for tarts Kate! And cherries are in season here!
I love frangipane, but I’ve never had a chocolate version. I’ll definitely be trying this!
Jennifer – the cherries really are delicious with it, just have to give myself a little slap on the wrist for the food miles 🙂
Kathryn – do give it a try, I’m sure you’d love it.
Food Nerd – enjoy!
Andrea – that would be delicious 🙂
Sophie – ah, thank you so much.
My Kitchen Stories – never stop experimenting, it’s a good motto to have 🙂
Paula – I adore pistachio frangipane but have never tried with walnuts. Another reader mentioned them so will definitely have to try!
Stephanie – enjoy 🙂
your tarts look gorgeous and delicious, I love the combination of chocolate and cherry, it reminds me of the chocolate candies Mon Cheri ^^
These look amazing – I love frangipane anyway so a chocolate version is even better!
I love the chocolate frangipane, and intend to use it. Why use golden caster sugar instead of white? Is it a degree of processing thing, or do you notice a difference in the flavor?
Trangquynh – they’re a little less sickly sweet, but I know what you mean 😉
Sarah – thank you! You can’t go wrong throwing in a little extra chocolate…
Susan – to be honest, I don’t really keep white caster sugar in my cupboards but it’s mostly a flavour thing. I think golden caster sugar adds a slightly more caramel note to the finished dessert but you could definitely use either.
Lovely tale of your joy of experimenting in the kitchen; this is something I love too, as are frangipane tarts. I have yet to do a chocolate version, but thanks to you I will try it out soon. Most recently, we have had franipane mince pies. Since discovering these a few years ago, we just can’t go back to plain ones!
Reblogged this on and commented:
Sounds delicious – putting on the ‘to bake’ list.
This is such a winner! I can’t think of a more perfect use of chocolate frangipane. Three perfect pairs–chocolate and cherry, almond and cherry, and chocolate and almond–come together.
Amy – I’m not a huge fan of mince pies but I do rather like the idea of a frangipane version. May have to give that a go!
Tramp Student – thank you, enjoy!
Sacha – I just knew the combination was going to work, even if it’s not in season and a little bit naughty 🙂
These look fab! I too make chocolate frangipane and cherry tarts but I use jars of cherries in kirsch when they’re out of season. Adds a nice boozy touch to the tarts too!
As ever, a STUNNING series of photos for a GORGEOUS bake, and super ingredients too! Karen
Beautiful – I really love that first photo. Having just spent a week in the Alps eating the sickly sweet frangipane in almond croissants, I admit to a bit of a soft spot for that…but a chocolate version sounds fabulous. And I totally empathise with that “NOOOO!!!!” feeling when the ONE cinching ingredient you need isn’t at the shops….
Joanna from Zebbakes directed me to your blog and this recipe.
Thank you so much for sharing. I made the tarts although I did a little change up and used less sugar in the frangipane and more chocolate.
I also paired mine with raspberries and blackberries rather than cherries- because that is what I had on hand.
My camera battery died whilst I was taking pictures to post with them- so I will post on my blog sometime later. Do you mind if I link to your post? I converted the recipe for my American visitors, but would send everyone else to you for your recipe.
Thanks again- these are totally delicious!
Victoria – that sounds like a great idea, may have to try next time.
Karen – thank you so much.
Elly – thank you!
Heidi Annie – it’s my absolute pleasure and so pleased you liked the recipe. And I’d be more than happy for you to link to my post – thank you 🙂
What beautiful little tarts…and a wonderful combination of flavours. I love frangipane and the addition of melted chocolate sounds fab! I always think I should be more adventurous when it comes to recipes, so perhaps I’ll try this one but try to make some alterations of my own! 🙂
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I have made them too and they really cheered us up on this icy winter’s afternoon. Thank you so much for the inspiration, you are a wonderful blogger xx
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I’ve just made a standard raspberry and almond frangipani tray bake. They were nice, but these look amazing!
I’ll take frangipane however I can get it – heavy and thick, or light and spongy!
Love your presentation – that last photo could be from a cookery book!
Laura – definitely do and let me know how you get on!
Joanna – aw, thank you for such a lovely comment 🙂
David – I don’t know, what you made sounds pretty fabulous too 🙂
The Caked Crusader – you’re too kind, thank you so much!
Every recipe of yours makes me stop what I am doing and just stare and drool! Haha, these look amazing.
I’ve always had a fondness for frangipane and well chocolate and I go way back so this is calling to me!
Yum! These look soooo good. I think I’d want to do a test and make them with and without chocolate in the frangipane.
Ho just perfect to tea time!
I love this reinterpretation of the classic frangipane!
Lemon Cake – ah, you’re too kind! 🙂
Sylvie – it’s such a gorgeous combination.
Laura – I think both would be delicious.
Mrs Deer – thank you!
Oh, this is just divine….
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This frangipane was soooo delicious and rich. Thank you for the recipe!
Ooh yey, I’m so glad you enjoyed them. Chocolate frangipane is so delicious 🙂
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