I love almond extract in desserts. Chances are if you put it in something sweet that you’re making, I’m going to like it. I think that’s why frangipane tarts are one of my favorite western desserts to eat. The filling itself is thick and custardy, usually made from almond flour and almond extract, so there is some texture as well as the aromatic smell of almond involved.

The brilliant thing about frangipane tarts, if it weren’t brilliant already, is that as seasons change, you can the fruit which is currently in season right on top of the tart. Now even though I would eat frangipane tarts plain with nothing, I do think the tartness from the fruit brings out the almond-ness in the filling even more, and so I add it.

In the Northeast, cherries are fairly expensive all times of the year, right until about July when they are harvested. That’s when supermarkets offer big deals at $1.57 per pound versus the usual $5, $6 and $7 per pound cherries, which frankly, I don’t know who can afford. In addition to being one of my favorite fruits, cherries are excellent in frangipane tarts because they don’t break apart when baking. It only softens and sweetens just enough to complement the thick and textured filling that is the frangipane tart.

For the recipe, I pitted the cherries (using a wine bottle and chopstick) in a way that the stems were left intact for baking. I think it looks a lot prettier that way, but it can be a tad more annoying come time for eating.

But because frangipane is somewhat of a soft filling, it’s nice to pair it with somewhat of a crunchy cookie or pie crust. For this recipe, I am using a version of my vegan “Almond Flax Crumble Topping” for my crust. This is an amazing recipe because the crumble has a ton of flavor and texture from the coconuts and flaxseed and is not overly sweet as it is sweetened with just a bit of brown rice syrup, although you could substitute maple or any other syrup sold in the market.

Vegan Gluten-Free Cherry Pistachio Frangipane Tart

Crust

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut,
  • 1/6 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup oats, ground
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup (can substitute another syrup)
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance or coconut oil

Filling

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 egg substitute (2 tablespoons VeganEggs with 1/2 cup water)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • pinch of salt

Topping

  • 14 cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap a layer of tin foil around a rectangular 13 3/4-inch by 4 1/4-inch tart pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients of the crust together. Press it into the tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile in a mixing bowl, mix the almond flour, cornstarch, and granulated sugar until combined. Using a spatula, fold in the Earth Balance, egg substitute and almond extract until the filling is creamy and combined.
  4. Pour filling into the tart pan. Smooth top with an offset spatula. Top with pitted cherries and chopped pistachios.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the filling gets lightly golden brown. Let cool before cutting.