Christmas Recipes from France: Red Berry and Frangipane Tart

December 2, 2022  |  By Peg Kern
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This red berry and frangipane tart is a wonderful Christmas tart recipe. It may also be made during the summer – in the height of berry season – but when you join Chef Nikki at our Cooking in the French Alps culinary vacation, you may see it on the Winter and Christmas menu too. After all, berries frozen over the summer work just as well in this winter berry tart. Plus, the beautiful color of the berries make it the perfect French Christmas tart.

What Is Frangipane?

Have you heard of frangipane? If not, prepare to be enlightened! It is a wonderful almond-y cream that is used in tart fillings, and is both delicious and versatile. Its flavors mimic those of marzipan, but it is less dense. Because it incorporates not only almonds and sugar but also eggs and butter, it forms a custard-like filling when mixed with fruit or other fillings. And although it might sound fancy, it is really one of the easiest things to make, and requires no great technical baking skill.

Berry and frangipane tart for a Christmas celebration.What Is the history of Frangipane?

I have read that the name frangipane hails from a 16th-century Italian nobleman, the Marquis Muzio Frangipani, who used to scent his gloves with an almond perfume. Evidently local pastry chefs tried to replicate the scent in desserts. Regardless, this type of almond-flavored filling predated the Marquis. Legend says that it was also a favorite of Saint Francis, and this type of dessert is often made to celebrate his feast day. It was introduced to him by a Roman noblewoman named Jacoba, whom he called “Brother Jacoba,” and was requested by him on his death bed.

Frangipane Tips And Tricks

Although a frangipane filling is easy to make, it also looks and tastes delicious. You will definitely wow your friends and family if you serve this Christmas frangipane tart over the holidays. Some tips for making sure it is a success:
1. Add a bit of almond extract if you want to “up” the almond flavor.
2. Make sure to finish add the flour to the frangipane to get the proper consistency, but don’t add more than indicated.
3. If you want a crispier crust, you can blind bake the pie or tart crust for 20 minutes before adding the frangipane filling.

Red Berry and Frangipane Tart

Serves: 8
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 mintues
Cook method: Bake

Cooking classes take place in a beautiful French chaletIngredients: Pastry

  • 250 grams (just over 1 cup) flour
  • 85 grams (1/3 cup) icing sugar
  • 110 grams (just under a stick of) butter
  • 1/2 lemon zest
  • vanilla extract
  • 1 small egg

Ingredients: Topping

  • 170 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 170 grams (Stick and a half) butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 grams (2/3 cup) ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 flaked almonds

Red berry tartsInstructions:

1. Using an electric mixture, mix together all the pastry ingredients listed above. Mix well until it turns into a paste. But do no over mix.

2. Put the paste on a floured surface, and then roll out the pastry. You can then either line 8 individual dishes or one large one. (If you want, now is the time to pre-bake the pastry shell for 20 minutes.)

3. Make the frangipane topping by beating together the butter and sugar until it’s a pale color. Add in the eggs just one at a time, along with spoonfuls of the ground almonds. By adding these ingredients slowly, it won’t curdle.

4. To the topping mixture, add in the vanilla extract as well as the flour, and mix.

5. Spread the frangipane over the pastry evenly. Then top this with red berries, and sprinkle with the flaked almonds.

6. Preheat the oven to 180°C (or 350°F) and then bake the pastry for 20-30 minutes.

The completed dish looks amazing, but tastes even more amazing! Enjoy it all on its own, or Chef Nikki recommends enjoying it with ice cream. Whichever way you choose to eat it, it’s sure to be a great addition to your holiday spread.

Want to learn more Christmas tart recipes like this one? Join us on our French Alps cooking vacation, or check out our blog for more recipes, such as for another fabulous Christmas dessert, Ile Flottante, or for Pears Poached in Port.

By Peg Kern

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