We are still in the middle of a summer heatwave here in Greece, so I was hoping to go without switching the oven on until it gets cooler (erm…October?), but cherries (one of my favourite fruits) are in season and I had to bake something with them!
I love cherries and I love almonds and I’ve been wanting to make a cherry frangipane (or vegan bakewell tarts as they’re known in the UK) for a while now. My first attempt was a bit scary – the frangipane mixture exploded during baking and then solidified into a sticky sugary lace all over the muffin tray – it took me several attempts to clean that stuff off.
I did not expect such a poor result and was a bit stressed as we’ve had so much on recently that I didn’t start experimenting until Wednesday afternoon (I know!) and if I didn’t crack it, there would be no recipe today.
It took me three more goes to get the result I was after and I’m really pleased with the final product. Duncan pronounced it possibly his favourite thing I’ve made since I started the blog so I must be onto something here.
- 180 g / about 1½ cups white, all-purpose flour, sifted
- a pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 45 ml / 3 tbsp olive oil or unmelted coconut oil
- Combine sifted flour and icing sugar in a large bowl. Add olive oil and rub it into the dry ingredients with your hands. Finally, add water – be careful, do it gradually – how much water you’ll need depends on how absorbent your flour is. Combine all the ingredients into a dough gently, but do not knead. Wrap it in a piece of cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into 6 portions. Roll each portion out between two sheets of baking paper until you get a rough circle, about 2 mm in thickness. Place the rolled-out dough over a muffin hole (I used a 12 hole regular muffin tin for my tarts) and gently line the inside of the hole with the pastry. Trim the excess pastry with a sharp knife. Repeat with the remaining holes.
- Chill pastry-lined tin in the fridge for about 60 mins.
- 45 min into pastry chilling time, preheat the oven to 175° C / 350° F. Line the pastry cases with pieces of baking paper or muffin liners and fill with baking beads or rice.
- Blind bake the pastry for 10 mins. Remove the paper and beads and bake for another 5 mins.
- While the pastry cases are baking, prepare the filling. Cream oil and sugar with an electric whisk. Next, whisk in flour. Finally add almond extract and aquafaba, one tablespoon at a time. Whisk well after each portion of aquafaba.
- Now fold in ground almonds with a spoon. You should end up with a thick almond batter.
- Divide almond batter between pastry cases and place half a cherry on top of each filling – do not press it into the filling much as the filling will rise during baking and you want the cherries to remain visible.
- Bake the tarts for about 30-35 minutes, until the filling is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and allow the tarts to cool down before removing them from the mould.