This Almond Cream, also often called Frangipane Cream, is a delicious almond flavoured filling for tarts, pastries, cakes and croissants. Made with 4 ingredients only and ready in 10 minutes, this almond filling is perfect baked with fresh fruits or inside pastries!
Why we love this recipe
Baked inside a Pear Tart, as a Croissant Filling or inside a Cake: there are SO many ways to use this buttery Almond Filling.
Not only super quick and easy to make, it is a great basic French Pastry recipe that is extremely versatile. It is made out of 5 ingredients only and can be made with a mixer or by hands. When baked, the cream will puff and become super light and golden - almost like an almond sponge.
It is an incredibly flavourful filling that works so well with Fall and Winter fruits like in Apple or Pear Frangipane Tarts, but will be just as delicious when associated with Summer fruits like in a Peach Frangipane Tart for example.
What is a "Crème d'Amande"
Almond Cream, or "Crème d'Amande" in French is a simple almond flavoured cream that is used to fill tarts, pastries and cakes. It is made out of 4 simple ingredients: Butter, Sugar, Eggs and Ground Almond / Almond Meal.
From Almond Cream to Frangipane Cream, Almond Paste or Marzipan, there are many different almond based preparations that can be used to make a creamy filling - but they are often mixed up!
This recipe will show you how to make the most basic - and easiest! - French Almond Cream; what we call a "Crème d'Amande".
This cream is made from 4 very basic ingredients, with the addition of vanilla, which makes this recipe so easy.
- Butter - unsalted and very soft / at room temperature. A good quality butter will be best for flavours here.
- Sugar - Caster Sugar or fine White Sugar. This recipe does also work with Icing or Powdered Sugar, but the classic way to make it is with caster sugar.
- Whole Eggs: it is very important for them to be at room temperature - and at the same temperature than the butter.
- Almond Meal: or Ground Almonds - blanched and skinned. Don't forget to sift your almond meal as it tends to create lumps when stored.
- Optional: flavouring like Vanilla Paste or Almond Extract
I personally only used Vanilla to boost the flavours of the cream, but if you want a stronger, or more bitter, almond taste, you can add a few drops of Almond Extract. You can also flavour the cream with some Lemon or Orange Zests.
It its most classic form, this cream follows a very simple ratio of 1:1:1:1. That means that we use the same quantity (weight) of each ingredients! And yes, to best way to be precise here is to weight the eggs (along with all the other ingredients).
How to make an Almond Cream Filling
Note that if made by hand, you will need to cream the butter and sugar for quite a while with a whisk instead of a paddle.
Before starting, make sure to take the Butter (and Eggs if you keep them refrigerated) out of the fridge at least an hour before starting the recipe. This is to insure the butter has time to get very soft and the eggs come back to room temperature.
- Place the Soft Butter and Sugar in the bowl of your mixer and beat for 3 to 5 minutes on medium speed to cream them together. It should be light, fluffy and got a more pale colour. - photo 1 & 2
- Add the Eggs, one by one, mixing them in very slowly one after the other. A good way to incorporate the eggs more easily is to beat them in a separate bowl before slowly adding them to the butter and sugar (*) - photo 3 & 4
- Optional: with the last Egg addition, add the Vanilla Paste or Almond Extract.
- Lastly, add the Almond Meal (sifted if lumpy) and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. - photo 5 & 6
- Use straight away or store in the fridge in a bowl or container covered with plastic wrap touching the surface.
(*) Don't worry if the preparation curdles (splits); that can happen if the eggs and/or butter are too cold or if the eggs are mixed in too fast and the emulsion fails. It will come back together when you add the almonds meal.
Tips to make this recipe
- Both the Butter and the Eggs need be at room temperature to avoid curdling when mixed in.
- Cream the Butter and Sugar for at least 3 to 5 minutes. It needs to look pale and the sugar should have dissolved into the butter. It is mainly the air incorporated during the creaming step that will make the filling puff when baked.
- For the best results, the Eggs should be weighted (without their shells) to insure you get the perfect texture. Egg weight can vary a lot from a small to a large egg, so the best way to know you are using enough is to weight them.
- If the preparation curdles (splits) when you add the eggs, it can be because the eggs (or butter) where too cold or were added too fast. It will come back together when you add the Almond Meal.
- When stored in the fridge, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface to avoid drying out the top of the cream
- If made in advance and kept in the fridge for more than a few hours, take it out of the fridge about an hour before using it so it comes back to room temperature. This will soften up the cream and make it easier to fill your cakes or pastries.
This can be a bit of a grey area as many, many recipes will use both name "frangipane" and "almond cream" interchangeably. In Classic French Pastry though, there is a big difference between the two:
- Almond Cream: a basic filling made from Butter, Sugar, Eggs and Ground Almond
- Frangipane: a cream filling made from mixing Almond Cream and a basic Pastry Cream.
The real French style Frangipane (the one that has Pastry Cream in it) is most often used to make a Galette Des Rois (King Cake). That being said, many classic French Pastries will call for Frangipane when they actually use an Almond Cream, so most often, they do refer to the same thing.
No, the two are different. Almond Cream is made with Butter, Sugar, Eggs and Ground Almonds while Almond Paste is made by grinding Whole Almonds, Powdered Sugar and Egg Whites (and sometimes Almond Extract).
Again, an almond preparation that is often confused with Marzipan, but is in fact different.
Although the basic recipe follows a 1:1:1:1 ratio, I personally prefer to make it a little bit less sweet. I have made this recipe with half of the sugar content only with no problems at all!
This cream does not need to be chilled or rested if used straight away to fill your tarts and pastries. If made in advance, it should be stored in the fridge for up to two or three days (it contains raw eggs), covered with plastic wrap touching the surface so that the cream does not dry out.
This cream can be frozen as well (in a freezing container or freezing bag) and thawed in the fridge before using, although I would recommend to make it fresh for the best results.
How to use this Cream
This French Almond Cream can be used in many different ways:
- To fill Tarts made with a Sweet Shortcrust Pastry or a Chocolate Pastry, topped with any of your favourite fruits like Pears (to make the classic French Bourdaloue Tart), Apple or Berries
- To make this Honey Baklava Tart
- for a classic British Bakewell Tart
- Inside Pastries like Croissants (Almond Croissants - yes please!) or Hand Pies.
- Baked inside a Cake the same way you would make a custard cake
More Creams and Sweet Toppings
- Chocolate Pastry Cream
- Strawberry Coulis
- Vanilla Pastry Cream
- Whipped Chocolate Ganache
- Stewed Rhubarb
- Raspberry Coulis
- Mixed Berry Compote
- Mango Coulis
- Easy Blueberry Compote
- Lemon Curd
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Almond Cream Filling (Frangipane)
- 150 gr (2/3 cup) Unsalted Butter, soft
- 150 gr (2/3 cup) Caster Sugar - or fine white sugar
- 3 Small Eggs - or 150 gr of Eggs without the shell
- 150 gr (1 1/2 cup) Almond Meal
- 1/2 teasp. Vanilla Paste or Almond Extract - optional
- Place the very soft Butter (see note 1) and Caster Sugar in the bowl of your mixer and cream together (using the paddle / leaf attachment) for 3 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Add the Eggs, one at the time (see note 2). With the last egg, also add the Vanilla or Almond Extract if using some.
- Mix in the Almond Meal on low speed until fully incorporated.
- Use straight away to fill tarts, pastries or cakes - or store in the fridge (covered with plastic wrap touching the surface) for 2 to 3 days.
- Make sure the butter has been taken out the fridge at least 1 hour before starting the recipe so it has time to get very soft and at room temperature.
- The Eggs should be at room temperature.
I find it easier to incorporate the eggs when they are beaten together separately in a bowl first. Don't worry if the preparation seem to split a little bit, it will come together when you add the Almonds.