Frangipane (almond cream filling) is made of just a few simple ingredients and is used in a variety of different French desserts, both classic and modern. With the right technique, you can make a great frangipane almond cream in as little as 5 minutes using 4 simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
💡 What is frangipane
Frangipane is a fancy-sounding, yet simple, almond cream that is used as a filling in traditional and contemporary French delicacies like Galette des Rois, Fig frangipane tart, Raspberry frangipane tart, pithiviers, frangipane cake, and a variety of pastries like this jam tart recipe. The frangipane origin is dated back to the 16th century. This elegant cream custard has been a crucial component of French desserts since then due to its rich texture and wonderful nutty flavor.
The gentle touches of sweetness make it an ideal addition to any fruit, whether it be figs, pears, or raspberries. The classic recipe for frangipane almond cream filling calls for an equal amount of 4 simple ingredients that you most likely already have on hand: almonds, egg, sugar, and butter. Yes! That's all you need to make this quick and delectable cream.
You also have the option to substitute the almonds with a different kind of nut or add some interesting flavors. Check out my signature Pistachio Raspberry Tart Online Class that is made using pistachio frangipane cream.
📖 Frangipane vs Marzipan
If you've ever wondered about the difference between frangipane and marzipan, you're not alone. Although both of these European baking staples are derived from the same basic ingredient, almonds, they each exhibit significant variations in texture and flavor which affect the way they are used.
Frangipane is a light and silky cream custard made with almonds, butter, egg, and sugar. Its smoothness allows it to be used as a filling in frangipane tarts, pastries, galettes, and pies. While this almond filling cannot be consumed raw, it puffs up in the oven to develop a wonderful nutty flavor.
Marzipan, on the other hand, is a thick dough typically made of almond, powdered sugar, and egg white. The extra sugar creates an exceptionally sweet and malleable dough that can be used raw to cover cakes as fondant or molded into various shapes to serve as decoration. This fondant-like confection is used to make candies and cake toppers for birthdays and festivals since it absorbs dyes and colors in under a minute!
🌟 Why this is the best frangipane recipe
- It's so easy - This is a super easy frangipane recipe, a simple 4-ingredient almond cream filling and you don't need any special baking skill to achieve the best result
- It's super quick to make - You can make it in no time, literally less than 5 minutes!
- It has the best flavor and texture - Creamy almost custard-like filling with deep nutty notes will take your desserts to the next level
- It's so versatile - You can get creative and change the flavor to your liking by swapping the nut with another one (eg. using walnut or pistachio instead of almond) or adding spices to the cream (eg. cinnamon, vanilla bean)
- It doesn't need fancy baking equipment - If you have the regular tools to bake a cake at home, then you can make this recipe, only an electric mixer is required
📝 Ingredient notes
- Almond: The primary ingredient that constitutes the nut-rich flavor of frangipane is almond. Although almond flour, almond meal, and whole almonds all work fine for this recipe, each provides unique results due to their different textures and flavors. Almond flour makes a super-smooth, light-colored cream, whereas almond meal is better suited for making a rustic frangipane due to its grainier texture obtained from unblanched almonds.
- Butter: Using a high-quality European-style butter with a fat content of 82% will result in the most fantastic almond filling you've ever tasted. Use unsalted butter at room temperature to ensure smooth mixing
- Egg: This recipe calls for room-temperature whole eggs. Cold eggs are a big no-no since they impede the emulsification process. I often make frangipane with egg yolk only, which results in a more fudge texture and smaller rise
- Sugar: Use white granulated sugar for the best results. In the classic creme frangipane there is an equal amount of sugar, butter, egg, and nut flour, however, if paired with something sweet eg. a ganache, I usually reduce the sugar by 30%
- Vanilla bean paste (optional): Pure vanilla extract complements the dessert in ways that artificial flavors cannot. This recipe can be made with Nielsen massey vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract
- Flour (optional): All purpose flour allows for better binding. While most frangipane recipes do not use flour, I sometimes use it in my recipes when I want to achieve a bit more "spongy" texture as opposed to "fudge"
- Salt: Often overlooked, but so essential, salt helps to balance the flavors of this nutty cream filling, resulting in the most delicious frangipane.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
This easy frangipane recipe is super quick to make. But like most baking recipes, you need to follow the recipe to the T to ensure a delightful cream filling. Overmixing or adding the components in the incorrect order will result in a dense and unappealing cream. You can always half, double, or triple the recipe to suit your needs. Keep in mind that frangipane puffs up in the oven, so you'll probably need less than you think.
Make the perfect frangipane by following these steps:
- Combine and cream up room temperature unsalted butter and sugar to create a fluffy mixture. Using an electric hand mixer will get the job done in about 3 minutes
- Using a fork, lightly whisk up the eggs, then slowly whisk the egg into the almond sugar cream. Avoid overbeating at this stage.
- Mix in the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract, whatever you prefer. This is not a part of the traditional frangipane but adds a brilliant flavor nonetheless.
- Fold in the almond meal/flour and a pinch of salt until well combined.
- When the cream is finished, place it in the refrigerator for about ten minutes to allow the butter to thicken. This results in a firmer cream that is easier to pipe into almond tarts, pastries, or pies using a piping bag.
💡Top Tip: You can also make this cream the night before and chill it. Just allow it to come to room temperature before using it.
📚 Flavor variations
Frangipane almond cream is so customizable to your tastes and needs that it has become a go-to recipe for bakers. The simplest approach to creating a unique frangipane flavor is to replace the almonds with other nuts like pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, or walnuts. You can even combine them with almonds to make a tasty cream filling that closely resembles the classic.
If you're not into swapping out the almonds but still want to add a modern twist to your frangipane, try spices like cinnamon, cardamom, or even some instant coffee powder.
Frangipane pairs amazingly well with fruits of all kinds - raspberries, pear, cherries, plums, apricots, berries, and everything else! Citrus zest can also lend a much-needed punch to your cream. Rosewater can be a great addition to your raspberry frangipane desserts. Or, why not add a dash of almond or coffee liqueur to create a boozy frangipane for adult-only events.
🥣 Equipment notes
It is best to use an Electric hand mixer to cream the butter, sugar, and eggs. It not only makes your job easier but also produces a cream that is evenly combined. If you're strong enough and have some additional time, you could also consider mixing by hand.
If you're using whole almonds instead of almond meal or flour, you'll need a food processor. To ensure an even powder, pause the processor a few times in between to scrape off the almond crumbs stuck on the sides. The benefit of processing whole almonds is that you can build a meal that is appropriate for the type of frangipane you want to make. Rustic or smooth, both are scrumptious!
Baking is an art but also a science that requires precision and accuracy. Measuring cups, on account of simply being a US customary measure, are not the most accurate way to measure ingredients. Using a digital scale guarantees that you follow baking recipes exactly. Please get a Digital scale to avoid disappointment.
🎓 Expert tips
- Having your ingredients at room temperature allows for appropriate emulsification which is what creates the perfect frangipane cream filling
- Chill frangipane in the refrigerator before using it as a filling. Refrigeration helps create a firm custard-like consistency that is easy to handle and pipe
- Adding the ingredients in the order this recipe instructs will ensure the most perfect frangipane texture. It's likely you will find more than a few recipes that suggest blending the almonds and sugar first and then adding the butter to the mixture. This is not the traditional way of making almond filling. Mixing the butter at the beginning creates a fluffier cream.
- Go easy on the flavorings: As much as we love a little but of this and that to flavor creams, keeping it to a minimum is key to a delicious almond frangipane. Added flavors should not overpower the nutty taste of the almonds.
- On the other hand, please make sure to try this cream using a different nut. Both hazelnut and pistachio frangipane are absolutely lush
If you need more or less almond cream, just calculate and measure out the ingredients accordingly. Make sure your electric mixer can withstand the load and do its job right when doubling or tripling this recipe.
While raw eggs can be consumed if they are fresh and stored appropriately, I do not recommend this frangipane cream for filling cakes and croissants. The almond cream is meant to be baked in the oven, making it a perfect filling for pies, puff pastry, and tarts. In the case of an unbaked frangipane filling, leave out the eggs and perhaps replace it some a small amount of cream.
There are different terminologies used by different pastry books, but in general, in most cases, these are interchangeable and mean the same thing
Yes, classic frangipane cream is, in fact, gluten-free! (without the optional flour element)
Typically frangipane is smooth and has a spreadable consistency which can be achieved by using blanched super fine almond flour. For a grittier texture, use home-processed unblanched whole almonds or almond meal. You can even add crunchy almond pieces to your frangipane once it’s done.
While whisking the egg in, make sure that 1. eggs are lightly pre-whisked 2. eggs are at room temp 3. you pour the egg into the mixture slowly. Do not pour in the eggs one by one as some other recipes state as it might break the batter and becomes soupy
Fill it much less than you think, always follow the recipe. Frangipane fluffs up and expands while baking which is why it's best not to overfill your pies and tarts. This will save you the hassle of cleaning up an overflowing tart or pie.
Use as much frangipane as you need to pipe, fill, and spread, then store the rest in the refrigerator. It will last in the fridge for approximately 3 days if kept in an airtight container.
If you want to make the cream ahead of time and freeze it, put it in a vacuum-sealed bag. It'll remain for a good couple of months
🧁 More frosting and filling recipes
🥧 Recipes using Frangipane
Frangipane (Almond Cream) VIDEO
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- With the help of an electric hand mixer, cream room temperature butter and sugar until fluffy, for about 3 minutes
- Whisk egg lightly and slowly incorporate into the almond mixture while the mixer is on
- Whisk in vanilla, if using
- Fold in almond meal and salt
- Fill a piping bag with the almond cream and pop it into the fridge for 10 minutes to slightly thicken
- Use it according to the recipe
- Store in fridge for max 3 days in airtight container