What is frangipane and how do you use it? We uncover all there is to know about this sweet almond cream that professional bakers love.

What Ingredients Are in Frangipane?

Frangipane is a pastry filling made with finely ground almonds or almond meal. It is sometimes referred to as almond cream. And, being more or less like a pie filling, frangipane is never consumed raw because it contains raw eggs.

Unlike marzipan and almond paste, frangipane is not widely available ready-made and off the supermarket shelf. This means that you have to make it yourself from scratch. But no worries, you don’t need to be a trained pastry chef to make frangipane.

Types of Frangipane

There are different versions of frangipane. The classic French version is based on crème pâtissière, a thick, custard-like pastry cream made with eggs, milk, butter, flour, and sugar, which is then mixed with ground almonds. For a quick and easy no-cook frangipane, you can simply whip it up using butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. There is also the option to make frangipane vegan without eggs or dairy.

Can You Make Frangipane With Almond Paste?

Making frangipane using almond paste instead of ground almonds is not recommended. Recipes calling for frangipane require a specific balance between almonds, sugar, egg, and flour. Because almond paste already contains almonds and sugar, it will be difficult to create the same end result. It is much easier — and more economical due to the price of almond paste — to make frangipane from scratch.

Raw frangipane by Chef John
Raw frangipane before baking
| Credit: Chef John

History of Frangipane

There are several theories about how and when frangipane was invented. Most sources attribute the idea to the Roman nobleman named Marquis Muzio Frangipani, whose family served as perfumers to King Louis XIII of France, who reigned from 1610 to 1643. All the fashion worn by nobility at the time was heavily scented, and gloves in particular. Frangipane introduced leather gloves that were intensely perfumed with bitter almond. These gloves à la Frangipani were such a hit that they later inspired French pastry chefs to incorporate the scent into a pastry cream. The recipe first appeared in a cookbook between 1674 and 1756 depending on the source you want to trust.

How to Use Frangipane

Frangipane is used in several European pastries, especially as a filling for tarts.

In French baking, it is used for the Epiphany cake called Galette des rois. It is traditionally baked on January 6 and contains a dried fava bean, which makes the person who finds the bean the king or queen. Note that some recipes use almond paste instead of ground almonds for the frangipane filling. Frangipane is also used to fill Pithiviers, a similar pie made of puff pastry with a distinct spiral or flower pattern.

A popular British specialty with frangipane is Bakewell tart, which is a variation of Bakewell pudding that originated in the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire, England.

Not attributable to a particular cuisine is Pear Frangipane Tart, which in the Italian variation becomes Pear and Frangipane Crostata.

How to Store Frangipane

Frangipane made with raw egg must be refrigerated and used as soon as possible, within the same day. Vegan frangipane, however, can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for up to six months.

Our How to Make Frangipane article describes how to make frangipane three different ways, as well as storage guidelines for each version.

More Fun With Frangipane