party of one – plum pistachio frangipane tart

party of one – plum pistachio frangipane tart

I had a moment of panic when M told me he’d be in NJ for a week-long work-related seminar. It’s usually not a big deal when he goes away for business trips, but this time, it was–he’ll be away during my birthday.

We just celebrated our 15th Anniversary, and this will be the first time we won’t be together to celebrate my day. After a moment of uncertainty, reality set in. As much as I wanted M to be there for my birthday, it’s a great opportunity for him and I’m truly excited for him, as he is. I suppose love is to see the big picture and know what’s best for the person you so deeply care for.

What’s best for me is to celebrate anyway–and M endorses that. I’m very lucky to have friends, JackieMargaret, and Mariko, who will come to the rescue. (True friends can be found in the Twitterverse.)

Instead of a cake, I decided to make a tart. My latest obsession is frangipane, which is  classically made with almond paste. For this unique day, I wanted to use another favorite nut, pistachio, which appeals as much as the flavor as the soft day-glow green hue.  I’m taking a break from peaches and pairing pistachios with plums.

I added rose water to the tart to complete the flavors of the Middle East. This might not look anything like a birthday cake, but I feel it’s the perfect dessert for me, especially when I can celebrate early with M before he leaves.

Plum Pistachio Frangipane Tart


Pistachio Tart Shell
  • 1/4 cup pistachio, shelled
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces/1/2 stick)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
Pistachio Frangipane Filling
  • 3/4 cup pistachio, shelled
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon rose water
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces/1/2 stick), cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3-4 cup plums, cut large plums into wedges, small in half
  • 1/4 cup pistachio, chopped


Pistachio Tart Shell

1. Process pistachio and sugar in food processor until nuts are finely ground, about 1 minute. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add egg and pulse until the dough forms a ball. Sprinkle flour on work surface and empty dough on top. Press dough into a 6-inch disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 45 minutes.

2. Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Roll dough between 2 large sheets of lightly floured parchment paper to 13-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Peel off top sheet, and loosely roll dough around rolling pin. Unroll over 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Working around circumference of pan, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into corners with other hand. Press dough against fluted sides of pan, patching breaks or cracks if necessary. If some sections of edge are too thin, reinforce by folding excess dough back on itself. Run rolling pin over top of tart pan to remove any excess dough. Freeze dough-lined pan for 30 minutes.

Recipe Notes

1. I have divided the recipe to make a 4-inch and an 8-inch tart.

Pistachio Frangipane Filling

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350℉.

2. Process pistachio and sugar in food processor until nuts are finely ground, about 1 minute. Place pistachio mixture, egg, egg yolk and rose water in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium, add butter one piece at a time until combined and lighter in color.

3. Reduce speed to medium-low, add flour and cinnamon and beat until barely combined. Remove bowl and finish by hand with rubber spatula.

4. Spread pistachio frangipane into prepared tart shell, smooth with small off-set spatula. Top with plums, pressing them in slightly. Sprinkle chopped nut  on too and bake until filling is set, about 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool tart completely on cooling rack. Serve.