Acorn Frangipane Tarts
I'm slowing getting used to the fact that the seasons have changed, and that I can no longer spend every free minute foraging. Fortunately, this has freed up some time for me to play in the kitchen. It's been a while since I've had enough time to roll with my creativity. Thankfully, the featured ingredient for the Wild Things foraging recipe challenge this month is acorn, which is providing me with lots of inspiration.
As you might expect, acorn tastes rather nutty. But what makes it truly special is a dark molasses-like sweetness, at once delicate and rich. I've got about a zillion ideas about things to make with acorn meal. Hopefully I'll be able to try most of them. I suspect the real trick in working with acorn lies in not masking its special flavor. But really, that's true with all delicacies, isn't it?
Today, I decided to take acorn to sweetsville, and use it in place of almond in a frangipane tart. The acorn frangipane filling is fluffy and lightly sweet, and plays well with seasonal fruit. I've used apples here, but use whichever fruit you enjoy, pears would be nice. Also, be sure to serve these tarts with a big scoop of either whipped or ice cream.
Gluten-Free Pastry Dough
1/2 c. arrowroot powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch baking powder
1 Tbsp. palm sugar
10 Tbsp. cold butter
2 Tbsp.+ water
1 tsp vinegar
Combine all dry ingredients. Cut in the butter until pieces are the size of small peas. Combine the egg, water, and vinegar, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the mixture starts to stick together, adding water one teaspoon at a time if the dough needs more moisture. Pull the dough into a flattened ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour.
Divide dough into four pieces. Roll each into a circle, 1/8" thick. Gently press the pastry circles into four small tart pans, trimming any extra from the edge of the pans. Poke holes in the pastry with a fork, then bake in a 425 (F) oven for 10-12 minutes.
Let cool completely.
Because I was winging it with the recipe, I ended up with extra pastry dough. But I happily wrapped it up and tucked it into the freezer to use another day.
1/2 c. acorn flour
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp. softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. arrowroot (or any other flour)
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients well, until the mixture is thick and creamy.
Acorn Frangipane Tart
Fill pre-baked tart shells with acorn frangipane, stopping 1/8" below the rim of the tart, because the filling will puff slightly when baked.
Peel, core, and thinly slice an apple. Fan out a few slices of apple on each tart, brush with butter, and sprinkle with a little sugar.
Place the tarts on a sheet pan, and bake at 350 (F) for 40-45 minutes, or until the acorn frangipane puffs, and the fruit takes on a touch of brown.
Heat 1 Tbsp. of whatever light-colored jelly/jam you have on hand, such as apricot or apple. Brush the fruit atop each tart with the melted jam to give it a bright shine.
I'm pretty famous for not having a taste for sweets. But I find this recipe to be outstanding. I like the acorn frangipane so much that I intend to put a layer of it beneath the custard in my pumpkin pie this year.
I'm sharing this recipe with Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager, the Hearth and Soul Hop, and Real Food Wednesday.