I love almond cream and these Mini Almond Pies with Fruit and Whipped Cream are made with the best almond cream recipe I have ever tasted. In fact, it may be my favorite recipe from culinary school. This almond cream is so versatile that you can use it in just about any kind of pastry from danishes and croissants to pies and tarts. I have even been know to put it on bread and toast it in the oven. The best part of this recipe is how fast and easy and well… fool proof it is. Really, you can’t mess it up.
So, how did I come up with figs on top of itty bitty little pies? Well, the other day, I saw these cute little figs at the market. I mean really. Have you ever seen food so cute? I couldn’t resist buying them. You should have seen me putting them in the front seat of the shopping cart, carefully arranging them in the grocery bag (no, I didn’t let the bag-boy do it) and placing them in the car where the air conditioner would keep them cool. I got them home and cleaned off a whole shelf in the refrigerator just for them before it hit me, “Now what do I do with them?!”
Well, what do you do with fresh figs? They are way too cute to mash up and put in the middle of a Fig Newton and I couldn’t bare to put them in a food dehydrator and watch them shrivel up like little prunes. Boiling them up for some kind of jam didn’t seem right, either.
While I stood there looking at them, I realized they were the perfect excuse to whip up a batch of the almond cream recipe I had from Chef Colley’s Commercial Baking class. You might know it as “frangipane” but, this recipe has quite a bit more egg than regular frangipane recipes so it is lighter and fluffier. It also has a different proportion of butter than most of the recipes I’ve used. I think it is perfect.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to call it a “frangipane tart.” I’m not sure I can get my big o’ boys to eat something called a “frangipane tart” that’s why I just call them Mini Almond Pies. But, you can call them anything you want…. just try them. Trust me, you’ll love them.
Roll out chilled pie crust on a lightly floured surface. Use a chilled rolling pin, if possible. I often use a cold can of soda to help keep the butter chilled and the pie crust flakey. If you use a regular wooden rolling pin, you can go over to crust with a chilled soda can to chill the butter back down. I used a pre-made pie crust that you can purchase in the refrigerator section of just about any grocery store. Not only is it faster, I like the pie crust with this delicate almond cream to be very, very thin.
Cut the dough into circles just large enough to fit into your muffin tin or tart mold. You may combine the scrapes of dough and roll them out to make more circles but, keep in mind that they may be tougher in texture than the original batch do to the additional flour and kneading of the dough.
Spray the tin or molds with non-stick spray. Place the pie crust circles into the tin or molds as evenly as possible.
Use scraps of dough to form a little ball and press the crust into the tin or mold to keep from tearing holes in the crust. Cut off excess dough that sticks over the edges of the molds.
Mix the almond paste and sugar together. Beat in the butter until creamy. Add each egg one at a time. Slowly add the cake flour. Spoon almond cream into a pastry bag or zip bag and cut off the corner to pipe into the pie crust.
Fill the mini pie crusts 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 16 minutes or until set and lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Turn out of the muffin tins or molds and continue to cool on a wire rake.
- 8 oz almond paste
- 8 oz or 1 cup sugar
- 8 oz butter (room temperature)
- 8 eggs
- 4 ounces or ½ cup cake flour
- 2 prepared pie crusts
- 1 pint fresh figs
- 3 to 4 ounces granulated sugar
- 8 ounces whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
- Cut figs or fruit of your choice into halves, quarters or bite sized pieces and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Cover and allow the sugar to release the juice from the fruit.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix the almond paste and sugar together with an electric mixer until well blended and. The mixture should look like sand.
- Add butter and beat until creamy.
- Beat eggs into almond cream one at a time.
- Add flour and mix well.
- Spoon almond cream into a large pastry bag or zip bag. Set aside.
- Roll out pastry dough with a cool rolling pin.
- Cut out circles of dough that will fit in your muffin tin or tart molds.
- Carefully ease the dough evenly into the mold or tin without tearing the dough.
- Trim off dough that is over the edge of the mold or tin.
- Fill the molds ¾ of the way to the top, leaving room for the eggs to expand.
- Bake at 350 degrees 12 to 16 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
- Cool slightly and remove from molds or tin. Continue to cool on a wire rack.
- Whip the cream with powdered sugar. Mix in the vanilla.
- Serve the mini pies with fruit and whipped cream. Be sure to use some of the juice from the fruit as well.
- Garnish with toasted almonds, if desired.
I really hope yo will give these Mini Almond Pies a try with or without the figs. You can choose any fruit you like. I think cherry and almond go well together, peach and almond, plum and almond….
—posted by Sandy