party of one – plum pistachio frangipane tart

by hungryrabbit on August 23, 2012

Plum Pistachio Frangipane Tart

I had a moment of panic when M told me he’d be in NJ for a week-long work-related seminar. It’s usually not a big deal when he goes away for business trips, but this time, it was–he’ll be away during my birthday.

We just celebrated our 15th Anniversary, and this will be the first time we won’t be together to celebrate my day. After a moment of uncertainty, reality set in. As much as I wanted M to be there for my birthday, it’s a great opportunity for him and I’m truly excited for him, as he is. I suppose love is to see the big picture and know what’s best for the person you so deeply care for.

What’s best for me is to celebrate anyway–and M endorses that. I’m very lucky to have friends, JackieMargaret, and Mariko, who will come to the rescue. (True friends can be found in the Twitterverse.)

Instead of a cake, I decided to make a tart. My latest obsession is frangipane, which is  classically made with almond paste. For this unique day, I wanted to use another favorite nut, pistachio, which appeals as much as the flavor as the soft day-glow green hue.  I’m taking a break from peaches and pairing pistachios with plums.

I added rose water to the tart to complete the flavors of the Middle East. This might not look anything like a birthday cake, but I feel it’s the perfect dessert for me, especially when I can celebrate early with M before he leaves.

Plum Pistachio Frangipane Tart

yield: one 10-inch tart


1 recipe pistachio tart shell, recipe to follow
3/4 cup pistachio, shelled
1/2 cup (4 ounces) light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon rose water
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/1/2 stick), cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flout
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3-4 cups plums, cut large plums into wedges, small in half
1/4 cup pistachio, chopped


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350℉.

2. Process pistachio and sugar in food processor until nuts are finely ground, about 1 minute. Place pistachio mixture, egg, egg yolk and rose water in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium, add butter one piece at a time until combined and lighter in color.

3. Reduce speed to medium-low, add flour and cinnamon and beat until barely combined. Remove bowl and finish by hand with rubber spatula.

4. Spread pistachio frangipane into prepared tart shell, smooth with small off-set spatula. Top with plums, pressing them in slightly. Sprinkle chopped nut  on too and bake until filling is set, about 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool tart completely on cooling rack. Serve.

Pistachio Tart Shell

yield: one 10-inch tart


1/4 cup pistachio, shelled
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/1/2 stick)
1 large egg, room temperature


1. Process pistachio and sugar in food processor until nuts are finely ground, about 1 minute. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add egg and pulse until the dough forms a ball. Sprinkle flour on work surface and empty dough on top. Press dough into a 6-inch disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 45 minutes.

2. Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Roll dough between 2 large sheets of lightly floured parchment paper to 13-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Peel off top sheet, and loosely roll dough around rolling pin. Unroll over 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Working around circumference of pan, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into corners with other hand. Press dough against fluted sides of pan, patching breaks or cracks if necessary. If some sections of edge are too thin, reinforce by folding excess dough back on itself. Run rolling pin over top of tart pan to remove any excess dough. Freeze dough-lined pan for 30 minutes.

Recipe Notes

1. I have divided the recipe to make a 4-inch and an 8-inch tart.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

sreebindu August 23, 2012 at 4:18 am

yumm.. :)

Jenny August 23, 2012 at 8:18 am

Happy Birthday Ken. Gorgeous tart. Twitter is great. I’ve made some of my very best friends there! All the best to you.

Brian @ A Thought For Food August 23, 2012 at 8:38 am

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEN!!! To my Virgo friend! MWAH! :-)

Margaret August 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

The tart looks amazing, and love the combination. So glad I get to spend your birthday with you. I’m looking forward to what we do best…feast on good food! Happy Birthday darling!

Isabelle @ Crumb August 23, 2012 at 9:55 am

Happy birthday, Ken! May today be magical and wonderful in every way, even if M can’t be there to celebrate.
I love your choice of celebratory dessert, BTW. Birthday cakes are overrated anyways… I’d much rather have a gorgeous fruit tart like this one. (In fact, it makes me kind of sad that my birthday is the wrong time of year to make plum tarts to celebrate.)

Barbara | Creative Culinary August 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Happy birthday my friend and glad you have some tweeps to help you celebrate. I felt that way the first time my kids weren’t available on my birthday but friends came to the rescue for me too and the day was saved!

I love plums with frangipane and of course you’ve upped it a notch. Sounds wonderful.

Betty Ann @Mango_Queen August 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Happy Birthday, my dear Ken! This is a lovely post and great recipe. A little sad for you M won’t be there ~ but you’re right, there is a bigger picture! Enjoy your birthday with those great friends you have. Wishing you a great day, another wonderful year & many more to come. Hugs & Cheers :-)

Wendy Read August 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Happy Birthday to you Ken!!! Many more healthy and happy years for you :) Gorgeous tart as an aside….

Javelin Warrior August 24, 2012 at 8:58 am

Happy Birthday and Happy (belated) Anniversary! Love the idea of a tart to celebrate (so much more creative than a cake) and this one turned out gorgeous… I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and thanks for the inspiration…

hungryrabbit August 24, 2012 at 9:04 am

Thanks, as always, I’m grateful for the Food Fetish Friday mention.

Jamie August 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

Happy Birthday, baby and a very exciting Happy Anniversary to you both! Sometimes, quiet birthdays with friends are the best. And this tart is stunning – gosh, as usual!!! I’ve been waiting to bake with plums but they aren’t really sweet and succulent this year yet.

Hope your birthday – and the second one celebrated with M – is sensational and filled with love and joy! xoxo

Amy @ FragrantVanillaCake August 24, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Happy Belated Birthday! This tart sounds wonderful! It is so beautiful as well, with the brightly colored plums and green of the pistachios! Much better than B-day cake :)!

marla August 25, 2012 at 10:19 am

Stunning tart and I love the flavor combination!

Jeanne @ CookSister! August 28, 2012 at 7:50 am

Hey – happy birthday, gorgeous! LOVE the look of the tart – pistachio & plums are such a great combo…

Jen Laceda September 3, 2012 at 9:36 pm

OMG! I NEED to make this. This is amazing! Pinning…

Soybean January 25, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Amazing. Made this for new year. Everyone loved it. The recipe is very precise and easy to follow.

hungryrabbit January 25, 2013 at 5:39 pm

This makes me so happy that my readers enjoyed my sweet offerings. -Ken

RJP June 21, 2013 at 5:11 am

Hi, just came across this recipe after an extensive search for something like this – does the pastry need to be blind baked beforehand? Thanks, keen to try it this weekend

hungryrabbit June 21, 2013 at 7:10 am

There’s no need to pre-bake the tart shell. YOu can add the frangipane directly to the slightly frozen tart shell. Happy Baking! – Ken

RJP June 24, 2013 at 7:52 am

Thanks – it was a great success, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about not pre-baking the pastry but needed have been. I substituted rhubarb for the plums for a different variation.

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