What is frangipane tart made of?

A frangipane tart is a baked tart that consists of a pastry shell filled with a sweet almond-flavored custard known as frangipane. The main ingredients in a frangipane tart are:

Pastry Shell

The pastry shell provides the crisp, flaky exterior for the frangipane tart. There are a few common options for the tart shell:

  • Pâte sablée – A classic French pastry dough made with flour, butter, sugar, and egg yolks. It has a sandy, crumbly texture.
  • Pâte brisée – Similar to pâte sablée but contains less butter, resulting in a more sturdy and flaky crust.
  • Puff pastry – Light and flaky dough made by repeatedly folding butter into the dough and rolling it out.
  • Sweet shortcrust pastry – A basic dough made from flour, butter, and sugar. Easy to work with.

Any of these pastry shells can provide a nice contrast to the soft frangipane filling. The most common choice is probably sweet shortcrust or pâte sablée. The dough is rolled out and used to line small tart pans with removable bottoms.

Frangipane Filling

The frangipane filling is really what defines this tart. Its distinctive ingredients include:

  • Butter – Provides richness and moisture to the filling.
  • Sugar – Sweetens the custard.
  • Eggs – Help thicken and set the custard when baked.
  • Almond flour/almond meal – Ground almonds give frangipane its distinctive nutty flavor and texture.
  • All-purpose flour – Helps thicken the custard.
  • Milk or cream – Adds richness and a looser texture.
  • Vanilla extract – Enhances the sweet flavor.
  • Salt – A pinch of salt balances the sweetness.
  • Brandy or almond extract – Optional, but brings out more almond flavor.

These ingredients are creamed together into a smooth, thick batter and then poured into the pre-baked tart shell before baking the whole tart. The custard puffs slightly but sets into a firm yet moist filling.

Common Variations

While the classic frangipane contains only the almond custard filling, there are some popular tart variations:

  • Fruit – Fresh fruit like berries, stone fruit, or apples are arranged decoratively on top of the frangipane filling before baking.
  • Chocolate – Melted chocolate is swirled into the frangipane batter before baking.
  • Nuts – Finely chopped pistachios or walnuts are sprinkled on top of the unbaked tart.
  • Citrus – Zest from lemons, oranges, or tangerines adds bright flavor to the frangipane.
  • Jams – A thin layer of jam or preserves is spread into the tart shell before adding frangipane.

The nuts and fruit add nice textural contrasts and bright, fresh flavors that complement the rich frangipane custard.

Step-By-Step Method

Making a frangipane tart is a relatively straightforward process:

  1. Make pastry dough – Prepare the tart shell dough, whether pâte sablée, sweet shortcrust, or other. Chill dough.
  2. Roll out dough – On a floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into circles or squares using a knife or tart ring.
  3. Line tart pans – Gently fit the dough circles into tart pans, trimming away excess dough from the edges.
  4. Chill tart shells – Return the tart shells to the fridge or freezer to chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Pre-bake shells – Prick the bottom of the chilled shells with a fork. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.
  6. Prepare frangipane filling – Beat together all filling ingredients until smooth and creamy.
  7. Fill and top tarts – Spoon the frangipane into the pre-baked shells. Top with any fruit, nuts, jams as desired.
  8. Bake tarts – Bake at 325°F for 30-40 minutes until the filling is lightly browned and set.
  9. Cool tarts completely – Allow the frangipane tarts to come to room temperature before removing from pans.

The key steps are taking the time to chill and pre-bake the tart shells to ensure they hold their shape and stay crisp. And allowing the frangipane tarts to cool completely before slicing allows the filling to properly set up.


Frangipane tarts are best enjoyed fresh the day they are made. But they can be stored properly for a few days:

  • Room temperature – Can be kept at room temperature lightly covered for up to 2 days.
  • Refrigerator – For 3-4 days maximum. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
  • Freezer – Allow to cool completely first. Can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 4 months.

The pastry shell can become soggy if stored too long. And the crispness of the tart is best right after baking.

History of the Frangipane Tart

The frangipane tart has a long, illustrious history in baking. While its exact origins are uncertain, food historians offer several theories about the tart’s beginning:

  • The ancient Romans are said to have been the first to pair almond-flavored custards with pastry. This influenced medieval tarts across Europe.
  • A Italian Renaissance chef named Cristoforo di Messisbugo is often credited with creating the first frangipane recipe in the 16th century.
  • The name “frangipane” may come from the Italian noble family Frangipani who famously used almond scents. Or it could refer to the scrumptious bread flavored with crushed almonds (pane frangipane).
  • In France, frangipane tarts have long been associated with the city of Nancy in the Lorraine region. The French name for frangipane is “crème frangipane.”
  • Frangipane tarts as we know them today became popular in the 17th-18th centuries in Europe before spreading around the world.

So while its exact origins are unclear, frangipane tarts have clearly been appreciated for centuries and remain a baking tradition today. Their crisp pastry and fragrant, nutty cream filling make them a timeless classic.

Common Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about frangipane tarts:

What does frangipane taste like?

Frangipane has a sweet and nutty almond flavor, often enhanced by vanilla. The creamy custard-like texture is soft, moist, and slightly dense.

Can you make frangipane with almond extract?

Yes, almond extract can substitute for harder to find almond flour or almond meal. Use 1 teaspoon of almond extract for every 1/4 cup of ground almonds. The flavor will still come through nicely.

Is frangipane gluten free?

Traditionally frangipane contains all-purpose flour, which has gluten. But you can swap in gluten free flour blends or almond flour to make this tart gluten free.

Can I make frangipane ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare frangipane filling up to 3 days in advance and store it covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Stir well before using.

What fruit goes well with frangipane?

Popular fruits to top a frangipane tart include fresh raspberries, blueberries, stone fruits like apricots and plums, pears, apples, and figs. Their contrasting flavors and textures pair nicely.


With its crisp pastry shell and irresistibly nutty, sweet frangipane filling, this almond tart is a delightful dessert that’s popular for good reason. While easy to make at home, the elegant appearance makes it perfect for serving guests and bringing to gatherings. Experiment with different flavor variations and fruits on top to find your favorite frangipane tart combinations.

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