How to make the French almond cream filling also known as the Frangipane recipe. This delicious, creamy, almond-rich filling is made with only 4 ingredients and is ready in 10 minutes only, perfect for filling tarts, cakes, pastries, and croissants.
As a French baking blogger and pastry enthusiast, almond cream is one of the simplest and most useful basic recipes in all kinds of French tart and viennoiserie recipes.
What is Creme d'Amande
Almond cream filling also called "crème d’amande" is a very well-known recipe used in French pastry and in the world for filling pastries, tart shells, fruit tarts or in more traditional desserts such as the French galette des rois (king cake).
But the almond cream is more of an easy version of the frangipane filling because this recipe calls for only 4 main ingredients and requires only 10 minutes of preparation time.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Simple Ingredients: Almond cream filling is made with easily accessible ingredients like almonds, sugar, butter, and eggs. Its simplicity means you can whip it up with pantry staples without needing any special or hard-to-find items.
- Quick to Make: Preparing almond cream filling is a straightforward and quick process. It doesn't require lengthy preparation or complex techniques, making it an excellent choice for both novice bakers and experienced chefs who need a reliable, quick filling.
- Rich Almond Flavor: The rich, nutty taste of almonds is the star in this filling, offering a delightful flavor that enhances any pastry. Its versatile almond taste pairs wonderfully with a variety of fruits, chocolates, and other flavors, making it perfect for a wide range of baked goods.
Ingredients You Need
What we like about this cream is that it is really one of the simplest preparations to make, simply mix all the ingredients together.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter with a well-softened texture.
- Almond: blanched almonds or whole almonds, use ground almonds instead of almond flour, which you can replace with other nut flour such as ground hazelnuts.
- Sugar: White granulated sugar, powdered sugar or brown sugar.
- Eggs: Raw eggs at room temperature, it is possible to make it without eggs or to use only the egg whites.
- Vanilla and salt: optional pure vanilla extract which can be replaced by pure almond extract to reinforce the almond aroma and a pinch of salt to bring out all the flavors.
>> Ratio: A simple ratio to remember = 1 : 1 : 1 (Example, for 50 g almond meal + 50 g butter + 50 g sugar + 50 g egg (about 1 egg))
How to make Almond Filling
- Cream butter and sugar: Place softened butter pieces with granulated sugar in a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes until creamy.
- Add eggs and vanilla: Add large eggs and vanilla or almond flavoring and mix again to incorporate.
- Add almond meal: Add the almond meal and salt and mix again with the hand mixer to obtain a homogeneous and airy almond cream.
- Use your almond filling: almond cream immediately as a tart filling or croissant filling or store it in the refrigerator.
How to use this filling in pastry
Almond cream, also known as frangipane, is a versatile and delicious ingredient often used in pastries. Here's a list of ways you can use almond cream in your pastry creations:
- Tarts and Tartlets: Fill tart shell or tartlet shells with almond cream and top with fresh fruit, such as sliced pears, apples, or berries, before baking. A classic example is the French Pear and Almond Tart.
- Croissants and Danish Pastries: Use almond cream as a filling for almond croissants and Danish pastries. It adds a rich, nutty flavor that pairs well with other fillings like chocolate or fruit jams.
- Puff Pastry Twists: Spread a thin layer of almond cream over a sheet of puff pastry, fold it, cut into strips, and twist them before baking. You can sprinkle them with sliced almonds for extra crunch.
- Brioche Fillings: Enhance brioche by adding a swirl of almond cream inside the dough before baking. It gives a moist, flavorful core to the bread.
- Galette des Rois (King Cake): This traditional French cake, typically served on Epiphany, is made by filling two layers of puff pastry with almond cream. A small trinket or bean is often hidden inside.
- Almond Cream Pies: Similar to custard pies, but with almond cream as the primary filling. Top with whipped cream and almonds for a simple yet elegant dessert.
- Financiers: These small French almond cakes can be enhanced by adding a dollop of almond cream in the center before baking, creating a moist, dense texture.
Storage and freezing
Room temperature: It can only be kept in the fridge as it contains eggs which makes it a fragile cream. Covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container, you can keep it for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
In the freezer: In a conservation box you can keep it up to 3 months in the freezer. Let it slowly recover in the fridge.
- Quality of Almonds: Use high-quality ground almonds for the best flavor. You can also grind whole almonds yourself for a fresher taste.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure that your butter and eggs are at room temperature before you start. This makes it easier to blend the ingredients smoothly.
- Creaming Butter and Sugar: Start by creaming the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. This aerates the mixture, giving your almond cream a lighter texture.
- Resting the Mixture: Let the almond cream rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour before using it. This helps the flavors to meld together and makes it easier to spread or pipe.
- Pre-baking: For tarts and pies, consider pre-baking the crust a little before adding the almond cream to prevent a soggy bottom.
- Thickness of Application: When using almond cream in pastries, be mindful of the thickness. A very thick layer can make the pastry heavy and dense, while a thin layer might not be substantial enough.
Recipe Variations and Substitutions
- With Cocoa Powder: Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to your almond cream mixture for a chocolatey twist. This pairs wonderfully with fruits like raspberries or cherries in tarts.
- With Chocolate Chips: Stir in ½ cup of chocolate chips (dark, milk, or white chocolate) into the almond cream before using it as a filling. This adds delightful chocolate chunks to your pastry.
- With Rum: For an adult version, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of dark rum to the almond cream. Rum enhances the almond flavor and adds a warming note, perfect for holiday baking.
- With Spices: Spice up your almond cream by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom. Start with ½ teaspoon and adjust according to taste. This variation goes well with apple or pear tarts.
- With Fruit Puree: Mix in ¼ cup of your favorite fruit puree, like raspberry, apricot, or peach, for a fruity almond cream. Reduce the sugar in the recipe slightly to balance the sweetness.
- Dairy-Free Option: Replace butter with a dairy-free alternative, like margarine or coconut oil. Ensure that the alternative has a similar texture to butter for the best results.
- Sugar-Free Option: Substitute the sugar with a sugar-free sweetener. Be mindful of the sweetener's conversion ratio to sugar, as some are sweeter than regular sugar.
FAQS - Frequently asked questions
Is almond cream the same as Frangipane?
Almond cream and frangipane are similar, but not exactly the same. Almond cream is a mixture of butter, sugar, eggs, and ground almonds, while frangipane includes these ingredients plus a pastry cream, giving it a lighter and creamier texture.
Is almond paste the same as Almond filling?
No, almond paste and almond filling are not the same. Almond paste is a dense blend of ground almonds and sugar, while almond filling is softer and includes almond paste mixed with ingredients like eggs and butter for a creamier texture.
Why my almond cream is curdled?
This often happens when the butter is too cold and does not blend with the other ingredients. Use room-temperature butter and whip with an electric mixer to get a smooth cream.
How to make almond cream with whole almonds?
To make almond cream with whole almonds, you first need to process the almonds into a fine meal using a food processor.
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