Be the Queen of Hearts: Frangipane Cherry Tarts

As the weather cools here in New England, I start to think about hot tea, hot cocoa, and all the warm fall drinks I enjoy while sitting on the deck.  I love a good Vermont Steamer (hot milk and maple syrup) in the morning and a rich hot chocolate in the evening.

What makes each sip even better is when I have a sweet little treat to nibble on, just warm from the oven.  Our Maple Walnut Brownies are soft and meltingly good, heady with maple and nuts.  Mystery Cake is another fall favorite, spicy with cinnamon and clove to pair with your favorite tea.

While the brownies are homey, and the cake is fun, when I’m feeling romantic and Victorian, I make these Frangipane Cherry Tarts. Frangipane (fran-gee-pahn) is a rich almond filling that can be served baked solo in a tart crust, or mixed with fruits to make delightful fillings.

Crisp on top with a creamy center, frangipane is one of the classics of pastry making but little used outside of bakeries. Once you learn how to make it though, you’ll find yourself turning to it’s intense almond flavor and creaminess again and again.

These tarts also feature fresh cherries. Cherry and almond together are a taste sensation, and the deep red color of the fruit echoes the reds of the fall leaves as they turn sections of the valley to bright flame.

Let’s make Frangipane Cherry Tarts:

Roughly chop your cherries and check for pits. Place them in a microwave safe bowl and add the liquor or juice. Cover and microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside to cool as you make the batter.

Now is a good time to preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a pop up tart pan, or standard muffin tin.

What  looks like Play-doh, but is so much tastier? Almond paste is less sweet than marzipan, it’s easy to knead and break into pieces for adding to your recipes.

Cream the butter and almond paste with the sugar until light and fluffy with no lumps, then add the egg yolks.  Then beat in the vanilla.

On low speed, mix in the flour and almond flour. You don’t want to incorporate lots of air, so stick to a lower speed until the mixture is well combined.

The mixture should be thick, like cake batter and slightly grainy from the nut flour. For almond lovers, it will hard to keep from eating it by the spoonful.

Drain the excess liquid from the cherries and gently fold them into the batter by hand.

Fill the wells of your pan right to the brim. These tartlettes don’t rise so much as puff, so you shouldn’t have over-spill.

Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the centers are puffed and set. You want the centers to still be soft and tender inside so don’t overbake.

Cool the tarts in the pans for 5 to 8 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mmmm, warm cherry almond goodness.

If you are using muffin tins, take a minute to spread the batter out with your finger. The thick batter doesn’t spread much during baking so you want to fill all the pan with batter.

If you are wondering, yes, you can use canned cherries. The color isn’t a lovely and deep red but it can be done.

These tarts can be served warm, or at room temperature. They are delicious as is or you can dust with confectioners’ sugar to dress them up a bit. The contrast of crisp outer edges with the creamy, soft, melt-away middle is divine, it’s hard to eat just one. Good thing the recipe makes several!

Please bake, rate and review our recipe for Frangipane Cherry Tarts.

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. DonnaChase

    I’ve been making this recipe for a year now with both fresh and dried cherries. Honestly I like the dried cherries better. They allow the almond flavor to come out more. Also during this time I have gone gluten free. So as this is the most requested recipe I make, I made this gluten free. I simply substituted the 1/3 cup of flour for 1/3 cup of KAF gluten free flour or KAF ancient grains gluten free flour. I also add about 1/3 teaspoon of ganthum gum.
    No one can tell the difference! Of the two gluten free flours I prefer the ancient grains as it adds another nutty undertone flavor.
    Donna Chase

    1. Linda J

      When you use dried cherries, what amount do you use? Also, do you rehydrate the cherries, and if so, how?

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Linda, you can use the same amount of cherries and simply heat them in the microwave with the liquor as you would with the fresh cherries. It will help them rehydrate. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    3. Beth Bennett

      Hurray! I was just looking for a post regarding gluten free. 3 of my granddaughters are gluten and dairy-free eaters, and we are always looking for special treats to make for them. Fortunately, they CAN have nuts, so almond flour is a definite go. I usually use the dairy free Smart Balance or Earth Balance “butter” you can buy at the grocery store, because it gives more flavor, but can anyone tell me if consistency-wise, shortening or lard would be a better choice for these?

    4. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Beth, Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks is our go-to ingredient when it comes to baking dairy-free. It’s a perfect choice for replacing the butter in this recipe. Also, you might want to explore using our new Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour. You can use it to replace the regular all-purpose flour in almost any recipe to make it gluten-free: no other changes are necessary! (Just be sure to use it in recipes that don’t call for yeast for best results.) Happy GF baking! Kye@KAF

  2. DonnaChase

    Thank you, I will give the dried cherries a go and let you know how they turn out.
    Also, do you know where I could obtain the rectangular tart pans you show in your photos? I have not been able to find them anywhere.

    Thanks Donna

    1. PJ Hamel

      We used to carry that pan, Donna, but unfortunately no longer do. Not sure where you might find it – though I think the mfr. might have been Chicago Metallic, if that helps… PJH

  3. DonnaChase

    I can’t wait to try these, they look delicious. However, I mistakenly read “dried cherries” in the recipe, and that is what I ordered from KAF. Can the dried cherries be used successfully in this recipe?
    Thanks Donna

    1. PJ Hamel

      Absolutely, Donna – go ahead and microwave them with the liquor, just as you would with the fresh. I’m thinking this will be a tasty new version of this recipe! 🙂 PJH

  4. omaria

    I made these little tarts this morning . Used frozen apricot halves.(defrosted and soaked in apricot brandy).Also used fiori di sicillia instead of vanilla. Wanted to take them to my daughter this evening but hubby told me to leave them here. They are not that good and he will sacrifice himself by eating them…… They are just delicious !! By the way, we buy almondpaste in big 7 lbs.cans from Blue Diamond. Ria.


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