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David Lebovitz’ Summer Frangipane Fruit Tart

David Lebovitz’ Summer Frangipane Fruit Tart
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        Picture your favorite summer stone fruit—cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, fresh apricots, pluots*– sumptuously emerging from a rich almond cream, their colors a promise of their juicy interiors, a perfect summer pleasure in a perfect buttery crust and there you have it: A great dessert for a dinner party.  You can make the pastry crust the day before, refrigerate it and then use it at will.  And the Frangipane can also be made ahead of time.  So with minimal effort, the day of your party you can present your guests with a freshly made tart.   That’s David Lebovitz’ Summer Frangipane Fruit Tart.

David Lebovitz
David Lebovitz left San Francisco some years ago to become an American in Paris.  Once there, this talented pastry chef began writing a steady stream of fascinating books.  “The Sweet Life in Paris” (Broadway Books 2009) combined his observations of life in that city with a series of recipes almost all concentrated on the capital’s sweets. From there, he went on to write “Ready for Dessert” in 2012 and, to celebrate his 10thyear in the city, he published “My Paris Kitchen”, a treasure

trove of stories linked to recipes that ran from Appetizers to French Fries.  His “Living the Sweet Life in Paris” blog is must-reading and one of the blogs we are hooked into. (See “My Blog List” on the left-hand side of this page).    Andrew is a great fan of his work and so when our local and not so local stone fruits appeared in abundance this summer, he sought out David’s recipe for Summer Fruit Tarts with Almond Cream (Frangipane). In addition to all its charms, according to Lebovitz, it is ‘one of the simplest fruit tarts to make.’

St. Francis of Assisi, Jacoba dei Settesoli and her cakes
While Lebovitz called his recipe Summer Fruit Tart with Almond Cream, I think the lure of the more exotic “Frangipane” adds something mysterious to the tart.   The Frangipanis were a noble Roman family into which a woman named Jacoba dei Settesoli (a romantic name in itself meaning Jacoba of the Seven Suns) married.  She was soon widowed and having heard of a holy man named Francis of Assisi, she sought his advice, specifically on how to be charitable. When Francis came to Rome to preach the gospel of the poor, Jacoba met with him and spent the rest of her life doing good works.  She became great friends with Francis and as he lay dying in 1226, he asked to once more taste the almond treat that she had brought him many times before.  From then on, the almond cream took on the name Frangipani or Frangipane.
Andrew made great use of this recipe on five (!) occasions, each time using a different combination of fruits: Apricots, Peaches, Plums and Cherries.  He used blanched almond flour, which we find in the Natural or Organic section of our supermarket.  Lebovitz says the hazelnut, walnut or even pistachio flour are fine to use as well.   Lebovitz uses 12 oz or 3 nectarines. For color contrast and an extra bump of flavor, raspberries stud to spaces between the stone fruit sections.  Again, blueberries, blackberries, cherries can be used in place of the raspberries.  I’ve included a recipe for the pre-baked tart shell Lebovitz calls for. Here are the recipes:
* Pluots are a cross between a Plum and an Apricot.

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