Monday, March 29, 2010

Friday Lunch at Frangipane

Every neighbourhood should have a shop like Frangipane, dispensing pleasure by the mouthful. Most of the mouthfuls at Frangipane are sweet - lovely fruit tarts, chocolates, iced lemon shortbread.

This shop does understand that there are those who think they cannot live by sugar alone so offers a couple of savory tarts. We make them the foundation of our lunch. One is a plain gruyere tart, the other is onion, prosciutto and gruyere. They are sold in heavy paper molds which facilitate transportation. Both have soggy crusts which would normally be a negative. Here it seems as though the pastry has melted into the custardy filling, creating an unctuous whole that satisfies the need to experience both taste and "mouth feel" as you consume. The onion in the second tart adds more texture but the prosciutto is largely absent.

Then it is on to cookies. Swedish oatmeal is a slightly lacey version of the oatmeal cookie, one that would wed beautifully with a glass of cold milk. Whoever made the lavender shortbread was heavy handed with the lavender ceating a cookie that gives all the pleasure of biting into a bar of soap. This sensation disappears quickly as we turn to the cherry frangipane Basque tart. Rather than the usual pastry cream (with or without cherry preserves) this version has a frangipane (almond cream) filling with cherries. The pastry hits all the correct Basque tart notes: rich, crumbly, and slightly crunchy with sugar.

If Frangipane is in your neighbourhood, you are lucky.

Price for three tarts and three cookies: $17.64

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