Frangipane is an almond pastry cream that’s used a lot in French rustic baking. We love it for its delicate almond flavor, and for the fact that, despite its French pastry origins, it is an incredibly simple cream to master.
1 stick (4 ounces) Danish Unsalted Butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs, room temperature
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
poached pears (recipe above)
¼ cup whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
¼ cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch x 9-inch baking pan and line it with two sheets of parchment paper, arranged crosswise, to make a sling.
Add butter, sugar and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and mix until just combined.
Transfer dough to the prepared pan and press down into a smooth, even layer. Lightly prick bottom with a fork and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely on a baking rack.
In a large saucepan, combine cranberry juice, sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise and cloves. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Peel the pears and submerge in the poaching liquid. Return to a gentle simmer and cook, turning pears occasionally, until easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, but not falling apart, about 20 minutes.
Remove pears from liquid; transfer to a large plate. Let cool completely.
If not already on, preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine almonds and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until very finely ground, but not a paste. Add butter, salt and almond extract and blend until combined. Add eggs and blend until smooth and creamy. Add flour and pulse until just combined.
Pour frangipane mixture onto the cooled shortbread crust and spread in an even layer.
Working one pear at a time: slice in half lengthwise, remove core with a melon baller, and cut lengthwise into ⅛-inch slices. Fan pear slices and arrange in a decorative pattern to cover top of frangipane.
Scatter cranberries and sliced almonds in the gaps between the pears, then sprinkle granulated sugar over the whole surface.
Bake until frangipane is golden brown, puffed, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool completely before removing from pan and cutting into 16 squares.