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What is Frangipane?

 I have a cookbook that was written some time ago. In it there is a recipe for frangipan. The recipe resembles pastry cream. It mentions nothing about almond paste. Did frangipan always have almond paste in it?

 It is interesting how food and cooking terms can evolve over a few hundred years. The earliest reference we can find to frangipane dates from about the mid 1600s, and was applied to a custard tart that included both ground almonds and pistachios in the custard. Since then, it is most often used to refer to an almond-flavored pastry cream, but, like you, we have found a reference to a vanilla-flavored pastry cream without almonds also called frangipane. We have found a pastry shell itself that goes by the name, which may be stuffed with a savory filling rather than sweet. Finally, it can be a gooey, savory paste, used to stuff meats or fish before cooking.

Given all those choices, we vote for the almond-flavored pastry cream, and intend never to use the word for anything else! Nowadays, it is mostly spelled frangipane or frangipani.

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