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Traditional Provençal frangipane
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Preparation and cooking time: 90 minutes – Serves 8

Ingredients:
For the puff pastry: 500g flour, 2 level teaspoons of salt, 250ml water, 500g butter, 1 egg to glaze the frangipane.
For the cream: 250ml milk, 80g sugar, 40g flour, 2 whole eggs, 70g sweet ‘tant pour tant’ (a mixture of almond flour and sugar), 20g bitter ‘tant pour tant’. If you don’t have ‘tant pour tant’, crush 100g sweet almonds and 15g of bitter almonds with 3 spoons of sugar.

Preparation: in a stainless steel pot, mix the sugar, flour and eggs, and add the boiling milk, whisk, bring to the boil, and keep whisking. The cream will thicken, leave it to boil for 2 or 3 minutes, then take off the heat. Add the sweet and bitter ‘tant pour tant’ and mix.

Cut the flaky pastry in half. Roll out one half into a circle of 30cm across and 4mm thick. Place the pastry sheet on a damp baking tray. Use a pastry brush to moisten the remaining part. Cover the middle with cream, leaving a 2cm border around the edge. Moisten the remaining part with a pastry brush. Roll out the other half of the pastry in the same way and cover everything. Carefully stick the two pastry edges together, without flattening it too much. Using a large plate, and the point of a knife, cut the pastry that exceeds the circle, to have a clean circumference.

Beat an egg, and glaze the top of the frangipane. With a knife, draw designs, roses or make light incisions on the pastry. Make a chimney in the centre. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. Pre-heat the oven for 20 minutes at 250°C. Put in the oven and reduce the temperature to 200°C. Bake for at least an hour.

Recipe take from ‘La Cuisine du soleil’ by Gui Gedda, published by Jeanne Laffite.

Frangipane - a traditional Christmas treat©Fotolia