Gluten-Free Cherry Frangipane Tart

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It’s really all my mother’s fault. About eighteen months ago she called to tell me about a dessert that friends had brought to her house for a dinner party. She raved about the flavor, the texture and the beautiful color. What was all the fuss about? A cherry frangipane tart. She was practically swooning. And then the punch line: maybe you could make one?

Well, I found out that there are a lot of interpretations of frangipane in the cookbook world. I tried way too many of them but I learned a lot along the way. One of which is that you can never have enough frangipane tart because as soon as you think you never want to see it again, you start craving it.

Some of the versions I tired didn’t have enough filling. Some had a weird texture. More than a few had very little flavor. Or not enough cherries. Or too much sugar. Or not enough sugar. It was amazing how so many people could take the same basic recipe and, in the interest of creating of their own version, muddle it. In the end, I gave up on my favorite cookbook writers and did what any self respecting recipe developer would do: I created my own recipe for a cherry frangipane tart, one that met all my criteria- tender tart crust, full-of-flavor fruit, just enough sweetness, rich almond flavor, and enough filling to satisfy the longing for filling.

Although there are cookbook writers who swear you have to use almonds without skins, I found that it didn’t make a bit of difference to the taste or texture. I made it with fresh cherries when they were in season last summer and I made it with frozen when they weren’t. I found that when I bought the best frozen cherries I could, it was just as good if not better than fresh because the fruit was more consistent (and because I didn’t have to pit the darn things). In fact, I found an incredible line of frozen organic fruit from a company called Woodstock Foods. Their frozen Organic Dark Sweet Cherries taste like perfectly ripened cherries and the entire bag is filled with richly colored fruit that is already pitted. You simply let the cherries defrost, pat them dry to the best of your abilities and then spread them over the filling.

So if you’ve been all a tizzy about wanting to bake a frangipane tart to bring to a friend’s dinner party, but were too befuddled by the hundreds of different variations, try this one! And be reassured, if you’re not a cherry lover, the frangipane is also delicious with pears (poached or flash frozen like my cherries), and fresh peaches or plums.



Gluten-Free Cherry Frangipane Tart

Here’s a luscious almond cream filling you can use with cherries, peaches, plums or pears.

Makes one 9-inch tart

1 9-inch Traditional Pie Crust dough (recipe below)

1/2 cup unsalted butter (or butter substitute)
1/2 – 2/3 cup granulated sugar (depending on sweetness of cherries)
1 large egg
1 cup finely ground almonds
1 tablespoon brown rice flour mix*
1 tablespoon Amaretto (or dark rum)
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups fresh sweet cherries (about 1 pound), washed, dried and pitted (or 10-12 ounces good quality frozen** (about 2 1/2 cups), thawed, drained and gently patted dry with paper towel).

To prepare Pie Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Position rack in center of oven. Grease 9-inch tart pan with cooking spray, and generously dust with rice flour. Place pie pastry into tart pan and make sure sides are at least 1 1/2 inches high. Bake crust in oven for about 25 minutes until golden and cooked through. Cool on rack while preparing filling (do not put filling into hot crust or the butter will melt and separate; crust can be warm, but not hot)

To prepare Filling:

  1. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl of electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add egg, almonds, flour, Amaretto, almond extract and beat until smooth and creamy. Spread frangipane evenly over bottom of baked tart crust. Then, spread pitted cherries across the top of the frangipane (try to place cherries smooth side up).
  2. Bake tart in center of oven for 40-50 minutes until frangipane is puffed and light brown in color across the entire surface, including the middle. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Serve tart warm or at room temperature.


Cooks Notes: Tart can be made one day ahead. Store tightly covered in refrigerator. Best when eaten within two days of baking.

*Find my Brown Rice Flour Mix in the Guide to Flour Mix section of this blog.

**Frozen cherries should be weighed and measured while frozen. I recommend Woodstock Organic Sweet Dark Cherries


Food Philosopher’s® Gluten-Free
Traditional Pie Crust 
From Gluten-Free Baking Classics
This recipe also appears on

Makes one 8- or 9-inch pie crust or tart crust.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Brown Rice Flour Mix*
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (or butter substitute)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons orange juice or lemon juice

  1. Spray 9-inch pie pan or tart pan (with removable bottom) with cooking spray. Generously dust with rice flour.
  2. Mix flours, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt in large bowl of electric mixer. Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.
  3. Add egg and orange juice. Mix on low speed until dough holds together; it should not be sticky. Form dough into a ball, using your hands, and place on a sheet of wax paper. Top with a second sheet of wax paper and flatten dough to 1 -inch thickness. Dough can be frozen at this point for up to 1 month; wrap in plastic wrap and then use foil as an outer wrap.
  4. Roll out dough between the 2 sheets of wax paper. If dough seems tacky, refrigerate for 15 minutes before proceeding. Remove top sheet of wax paper and invert dough into pie/tart pan. Remove remaining sheet of wax paper, and crimp edges for single-crust pie. Dough can also be frozen at this point for up to 1 month; line pie shell with wax paper, wrap in plastic wrap, and use foil as an outer wrap.

*Find my Brown Rice Flour Mix in the Guide to Flour Mix section of this blog.

Cooks note: When you prebake or parbake this crust, do so at a lower temperature than is commonly used for pie crusts made with wheat (see directions below). This is to make sure the dough cooks before it browns. If you notice the crust rising in the middle while it is baking, open the oven quickly and prick it once with the point of a sharp knife or press the crust down lightly. Partially bake this pie crust whenever you are making a fruit pie or quiche.

To partially bake (parbake) a bottom pie crust:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake pastry for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven. Fill and bake as per recipe.

To prebake a bottom pie crust:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Gently prick pastry in 3 or 4 places with a fork. Bake pastry for about 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Prebaked pie shells can be stored in airtight plastic containers or plastic wrap in refrigerator for 3 days. For longer storage, wrap in plastic wrap and then in foil, and store in freezer for up to 2 weeks.

 ©2013 by Annalise Roberts



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2 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Cherry Frangipane Tart”

  1. Pamela Henderson

    This Frangipane dessert is amazing! I have never had a gluten free dessert like it, it reminds me of my pre-Gf days. I also have to say, all those who have shared it with me, both times I have made it, loved it too and they are not GF. Thank you for sharing this recipe. You have inspired me to try more things.

    1. hi!
      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! There are a lot of recipes here on this blog and on my website for you to try. I hope you find a more than a few that you enjoy. Please let me know if you have any questions.

      Very best,

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