Friday, June 30, 2023

Apricot Frangipane Pie and Finding Mistakes

 Do you ever have one of those days when the recipe you are making keeps having issues...and then you correct them in time but end up losing so much time? I had that kind of day making this pie.

I wanted to bring this pie with us to a dinner party the same evening. Since I'd already made this pie once before as a tart, I didn't think it would be difficult and so I started at about 3 pm, thinking it would be ready by about 4:30 with plenty of time to cool before we left at 5:15.

The first mistake I made was in choosing a pie plate. I should have gone with something pretty flat...maybe 1 1/2 inches high. Instead I went with a beautiful white ceramic plate that was about 2 1/2 inches high. I used the already made pie dough circle which I had remembered to take out of the fridge a while that part was fine. Then I made my first mistake by putting it into the freezer. I often do that with single crust pies before blind baking because it helps to keep the dough from shrinking during baking. The part I forgot was that you don't do that with ceramic or glass pie plates. Going from freezer to hot oven works fine with metal plates, but not glass and ceramic! Fortunately I remembered after I took it from the freezer and before I put it in the oven! Let it sit awhile to warm up a bit, added parchment and my baking lentils (pie weights) and blind baked it. So far so good!

The next mistake was in not adjusting the recipe for a thicker filling. I needed twice as much filling for a pie 2 1/2 inches high. That includes having more room temperature eggs and butter, more ground almonds, and all the filling ingredients really. Fortunately I had an extra egg at room temperature and I used all the butter in the two butter dishes because that butter was at room temperature. The ground almonds almost ran out before the measuring cup was filled, but there was just enough! Another disaster averted. As you can see from the slice above, I really needed all that filling. The recipe below has been adjusted so the filling is what you see in the photo above.

The final mistake was not realizing that a thicker filling would require a longer baking time. Again, I was fortunate because I had the time I'd allowed for cooling...and I used it all! The pie went from the oven to the carrier. Once we got to our destination I asked the hostess to put the pie in the fridge to cool while we visited and ate. Even so, the very center was a bit warm.

Was it worth it? Yes! It was an awesome pie, everyone loved it and offers to leave some for the hosts were accepted (which is not always the case). Sweetie and I enjoyed a slice last night to finish it off.

I made this with fresh apricots which I blanched and peeled. You can also use canned apricot halves and still have a delicious pie. The fresh apricot season is pretty short so it's nice to know that there is another option. Of course you can also use another fruit with the frangipane filling...anything that goes well with almonds will work well...fresh pitted cherries, especially sour cherries would be awesome a would most berries.

The apricot jam on the bottom crust and on the tops of the apricots after baking (for shine) really is optional, but you do get a bit more apricot flavor that way.

Apricot Frangipane Pie

Serves 8

Prepare the crust:
Make your own favorite pie dough recipe for a single crust or use
Pillsbury Readycrust or similar packaged pie dough circles, as I did

Let the dough come to room temperature, then roll to a 12-inch diameter circle. Carefully transfer dough circle to a pie plate and shape dough to the sides of the pan. Turn under the edges and flute. If using a metal pan, place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. If using glass or ceramic skip that step.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the rack in the center of the oven.

Remove tart shell from freezer.  Line the prepared pan with parchment and fill with pie weights. I use lentils or dry beans and they work great!

Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on a rack. Remove the parchment and pie weights carefully and use the back of a spoon to gently press down any puffed crust, then bake another few minutes to let the bottom fully bake. Let crust cool. When cool, if desired, brush bottom of crust with apricot jam, using a pastry brush.

Prepare the frangipane filling:

6 tablespoons soft butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons 
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups almond flour or mixed nut flour

10 apricot halves, peeled, pitted, and patted dry
1/4 cup apricot jam, warmed (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To make the filling:  Beat together the butter, salt, sugar, flour, and almond extract.
Beat in the eggs, then add the almond flour, stirring just to combine.

To assemble the tart: Spread the filling in the bottom of the crust.

Place the apricot halves in a pattern on top of the filling, pressing them down gently so the bottom of the fruit is covered.

Bake the tart in the preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Filling will puff up around the apricots.  Cool slightly or completely before serving. If desired, brush the tops of the apricots with apricot jam, using a pastry brush.

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