Just in case you have too much chocolate to eat for Valentine’s Day (although who can ever get enough chocolate!), here is a delicious alternative to a chocolate treat. These frangipane tarts are made with a rich orange pastry, and they are the perfect item to take into the office since it makes 18 tarts, or enough to happily fill the stomachs of several special Valentines in your life! I found this in the January 1983 issue of Cuisine magazine where it says the recipe was inspired by and adapted from Paula Peck’s amazing book, “The Art of Fine Baking” from 1970. (make a mental note to yourself to find this book and make everything in it! It’s the best!)
Rich Tart Pastry: recipe follows
Frangipane Filling: recipe follows
1/4 cup apricot preserves
2 to 3 Tablespoons finely chopped unsalted natural pistachios or almonds
1. Make Rich Tart Pastry.
2. Roll cold pastry on lightly floured pastry cloth with rolling pin covered with stockinet to 1/8-inch thickness; dough will be very fragile. Cut dough into eighteen 3-inch rounds to fit into 2-1/2-inch tart pans. Using a wide spatula, carefully lift rounds from pastry cloth. Place a round of dough on each tart pan and press into pan with fingertips. Stack, reroll, and cut out any scraps. Place pastry-lined tart pans on large baking sheet; refrigerate, lightly covered, at least 1 hour.
3. Make Frangipane Filling.
4. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Divide filling equally among pastry-lined tart shells, filling each one to about 1/4-inch from top of pan. Bake tarts until tops are light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool.
6. When tarts are cool, heat apricot preserves in small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until melted. Press through a sieve with rubber spatula. Brush thin coat of preserves lightly over the surface of each tart. Sprinkle with pistachios or almonds. Makes eighteen 2-1/2-inch tarts.* (see note below)
Rich Tart Pastry
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 hard-cooked egg yolks, at room temperature
1 raw egg yolk
Sift flour, sugar, and orange zest together in large bowl; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mash the hard-cooked egg yolks and work in the raw egg yolk until thoroughly blended. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add egg mixture. Work the egg mixture into flour with fingertips or fork until mixture cleans sides of bowl. Shape dough into a ball; flatten with heel of hand and refrigerate, tightly wrapped until very cold, at least 1 hour.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup pure almond paste
2 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Beat butter in small mixer bowl until light in color. Divide almond paste into 8 equal parts; beat into butter alternately with small amounts of beaten egg until mixture is smooth. Stir in flour and orange zest until thoroughly blended. Let stand, covered, at room temperature until ready to use.
*Note: If you really want to make a lot of tarts, you could make thirty-six 1-7/8-inch size tarts. When rolling out the dough initially, just make the rounds 2-inches instead of 3-inches, and continue to follow directions as written.