Dessert First + Alessi: Raspberry Hazelnut Frangipane Tartlets

May 23rd, 2014

 raspberry frangipane tartlets and petnic
raspberry frangipane tartlets and petnic

It's almost Memorial Day weekend, and I hope you all have picnics and barbecues and welcome-to-summer festivities awaiting you! In honor of the holiday, I thought this new piece from Alessi's spring/summer collection, PetNic, fit the summer theme perfectly.

Although it's part of Alessi's pet accessories line, it can definitely be used for humans and pets alike. There's enough room in there to store treats, a bottle of water, and a ball for playing fetch. I especially admired the two hinged lids for the hamper - as you can see in the photo above, they can detach and be used as serving plates - very clever! It comes in three colors, but I was naturally drawn to the cheery pomegranate color, a perfect carefree summer hue. 

raspberry frangipane tartlets
raspberry frangipane tartlets

That rosy red color inspired my dessert creation: these little raspberry frangipane tartlets that are simplicity to make, and keep and travel well, making them ideal sweets to store in this picnic basket. 

The tartlets have a traditional pâte brisée crust, buttery and flaky-tender. Although the idea of rolling out crust may sound too time-consuming for some, I discovered a great secret from Deborah Madison's great Seasonal Fruit Desserts book: you can press the dough right into the tin and it turns out just as great! You do have to take care to press the dough in evenly to avoid having an unevenly thick crust, and do exercise the same care in chilling the dough to avoid having it shrink when baking. Still, this alternate press-in method does save time and stress if you want to make these tarts in a jiffy.

Another terrific thing about this recipe is that both components, the tart crust and the frangipane, can both be made in the food processor. A true summer recipe: no need to fuss about with tons of bowls and utensils, just a quick tart crust, an even quicker filling, and you're on your way to the park or beach with dessert in hand.

Frangipane is usually made with almonds, and you can certainly use almonds if you like, but I decided to change it up and use hazelnuts, which I love paired with raspberries. (Also, I checked and hazelnuts appear to be safe for dogs, while almonds are considered generally safe as well but could cause stomach upset if large amounts are consumed.) 

You also use any berries you like - I'm a big fan of raspberries and their color went so well with the PetNic, so that's what I went with. The final tart is flaky and crumbly, nutty and fruity all at once. The hazelnuts especially make the frangipane even richer-feeling than usual, so I think the addition of the tart raspberries cuts through the decadence beautifully and lifts it into summer.

 
raspberry frangipane tartlets and snickers
raspberry frangipane tartlets and snickers

Since I'm featuring something from Alessi's line for pets, I couldn't not show Snickers. Here she is, posing with PetNic! I had almost forgotten what a great dog model she is - although the tartlet was inches from her, she didn't move at all when I told her to stay. You can see her gaze is unwaveringly fixed on the food, though!

I checked to make sure that none of the ingredients in the tartlets are dangerous to dogs - hazelnuts and berries are generally considered ok. So Snickers might have gotten a little crumb, although she probably shouldn't eat too much of such a rich dessert! To reward her patience, I brought along some real dog treats for her. If you'd like to make your own pet treats to tuck into the PetNic, may I suggest these pumpkin and peanut butter treats? As a bonus, here is Snickers posing with another item from Alessi's pet line: the supremely adorable Lulajar. Snickers never had it so posh!

alessi lulajar snickers
lulajar and snickers

Happy Memorial Day weekend to all of you! Next week, I'll have the final Dessert First + Alessi post, plus I will be announcing another collaboration I've been working on with Westfield and one of my favorite chocolate shops, CocoaBella! 

 
raspberry frangipane tartlets on petnic
raspberry frangipane tartlets on petnic

 

Raspberry Frangipane Tartlets

(1) 9-in tart or (6) 3-in tartlets

Pâte Brisée

  • 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1-in pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Frangipane

  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For the Pâte Brisée:

  • Place the flour, sugar and salt in bowl of a food processor, and process to combine.
  • Add in the butter and process until mixture resemble coarse crumbs - don't let it turn into a solid ball of dough.
  • Add the water and process just until the dough starts to clump together.
  • Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and form into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until it has firmed up and is no longer sticky. Refrigerate longer if needed, or you can also store the dough in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the tart tin(s), trying to keep the thickness even. If the dough gets soft and sticky, you can put it back in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.
  • Refrigerate the tart shells for 30 minutes before baking.
  • Prick the bottoms of the tart shells with a fork. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and dry. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the frangipane:

  • Combine almonds and sugar in bowl of food processor. Process until almonds are finely ground.
  • Add butter and process until combined and mixture is smooth.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and process until mixture is fully combined and smooth. You can store the frangipane in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it, or use it right away.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill the tart shells with the frangipane, being careful not to overfill as the frangipane will puff up while baking.
  • Place a few berries in each tart. Bake for 35-40 minutes (40-50 minutes if you are doing one big tart) until the frangipane is puffed up, light golden brown, and firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

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