Friday, April 13, 2012


by Sheila Connolly

You've heard of "earworms," right?  You hear a song and you just can't get it out of your head?  Well, my innocent reference to Fannie Farmer's Frangipane Cream Pie last week wormed its way into my cooking-conscious (does that make it a "tongue-worm"? a "taste-worm"?), and I had to try it.

What is frangipane?  According to Wikipedia, frangipane is a filling made from almonds, that can be used in a variety of ways including in cakes, tarts and other assorted pastries. The earliest modern spelling coming from a 1732 confectioners' dictionary. It was originally designated as a custard tart flavored by almonds or pistachios. These days it is normally made of butter, sugar, eggs, and ground almonds: beat butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, gradually beat in the eggs, fold in the ground almonds.

I was off to a good start—until I looked at Fannie's recipe, which was basically a custard pie filling into which she dumped a bunch of macaroon crumbs.  I love a good almond macaroon, but I don’t want crumbs in my pie.  So I had to first make my own frangipane.  Don't worry—it's not hard.


1 8-oz. can or 7-oz roll of almond paste (not marzipan)
½ stick (1/4 cup) of unsalted butter, softened
3 Tblsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
2 large eggs
3 Tblsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt

In a stand mixer, beat together the almond paste, butter, sugar, salt, almond extract and vanilla, for about 3 minutes at medium-high, until creamy and well blended.  Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time.  Last, mix in the flour.

Voila!  I'll admit I was tempted to eat it straight from the bowl, but I resisted.  This made more than I needed for the pie, so I dutifully froze the rest.  It now waits for succulent fresh fruit so I can make a layered tart.


I used vanilla wafers, but when I was grinding them up in the food processor I added a handful of almonds for flavor.  Make about 1½ cups of crumbs. then add ½ cup sugar and ½ cup butter, press into a pan, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Let cool.

The Frangipane Cream (filling for one pie):

2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup flour
¼ tsp salt
2 cups scalded milk (you can do this in a microwave)
2 eggs
2 Tblsp butter
4 (or more) Tblsp frangipane
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract

Mix together the dry ingredients.  Add the scalded milk gradually, whisking (remember last week?  Just keep whisking!).  Cook the mixture in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, whisking, for about 15 minutes.

Beat the eggs slightly, then whisk them slowly into the hot mixture (too fast and they'll scramble).  Cook for another three minutes.

Add the butter and the frangipane and taste.  Cool, then add the vanilla and the almond extract.

Pour into the cooled pie crust and chill overnight.  Garnish with whipped cream and sliced almonds.

I promise I'll come up with a healthy spring recipe soon!  Farmers markets are opening!


  1. This does look tasty! I never thought about a frangipane pie, but I am glad to come across this. Almonds are a favorite flavor of my sisters and I really think she would enjoy this. However, I would have to indulge in a tassty slice myself as well!

  2. Sheila, we have to wait until the next morning to eat this???

  3. Sheila, I can't wait to meet you at Malice. You are so my kinda pie lover. Cheers!

  4. I learned something new today. Always thought frangipane was some exotic drink or cocktail. Maybe it is.

  5. This pie is new to me, too. Does it taste like marzipan?