Halloween dessert: Pumpkin mousse on frangipane

Two of my favorite recipes that I took from Commercial Baking were almond cream (frangipane) and California cheesecake (no-bake).

It was love at first bite. It didn’t look like much, but its taste was wonderful—soft, smooth, toasty, nutty, light, but not at all insubstantial. Chef C.’s recipe was titled "Almond Cream." I loved it. A classmate baked it in a pie shell, giant goodness. My lab partner and I made little tarts. I wanted to put it everywhere. When we did our section our puff pastry, I wanted to fill my Danish with it. Chef warned me that it wouldn’t work because the batter would melt and ooze everywhere, and it did, but I still enjoyed the almond coating the almond cream left over the top of the Danish.

I Googled it several times, always coming up with almond pastry cream or almond candy or amaretto coffee creamer. Finally, I came across something … frangipane tart. Frangipane. I wrapped my mouth around the world slowly, and several times … mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to say it. "FRAHN juh payn." Like pain. Of course. Because it tastes so good, it hurts.

I really learned to appreciate almonds in this class--toasted to bring out their flavor, ground into flour, mixed into fresh marzipan (so much truer to almonds than store-bought stuff), and baked in tart shells as frangipane tarts. I was almost desperate to find a "free-form" frangipane, since the usual stuff is dense, almost like a thick custard. I found a recipe for frangipane cake online, and it was definitely good enough.

It started with almonds
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

Homemade almond paste
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

Sifting cake flour before folding it in
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

Ready to bake
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

Frangipane, cake form
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

The lovely rind is leftover. Oh, darn
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

Paper cups
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

Decorated cup
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

Cake rounds in cups
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

The California cheesecake took me by surprise. My mom had always made no-bake cheesecake, and while it was ok, I wasn't a huge fan of the strong cream cheese taste that dominated the recipe. This recipe uses it as a supporting role, and the result is a gently flavored mousse. I like pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake, but sometimes, I don't want that pumpkin flavor to punch me in the hard as hard as it does, so this is toned down a bit, and laced with the usual pumpkin-loving spices.

Pumpkin mousse
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

Cups topped off and set in fridge overnight
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

Decorated with halved candy pumpkins, pumpkin seeds, and slivered almonds
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

Boxed in ice for the party
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

Not all of them made it into the box
pumpkin cheesecake on frangipane

Comments

SusanV said…
Hi--while googling something completely different, I stumbled upon this blog entry. It looks so good that I'm now going to google frangipane cake to see what's involved in making it. Thanks for the inspiration!
Julie said…
Hi, Susan! Try this! I saw on your blog that you're vegan--if you come up with a vegan translation, I'd love to see it! A good friend makes an amazing vegan chocolate cake that I ask him to bake for me for my birthday--I love it, but I've never gotten the recipe from him!

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