The last meal and a gluten free rhubarb frangipane tart

Nigh on an eon ago, whilst undertaking my food studies course, we made frangipane for the first time. Frangipane is a filling for a cake or tart made with, or flavoured by almonds. In this day and age, it is normally made of ground almonds, butter, egg and sugar. The manner in which this mixture puffed up and surrounded the fruit placed on top, seemed magical to me back then and still does today.

It appears that this fluffy almond concoction could also have been a favourite of a saint. Some googly research unearthed the charming story of Jacoba dei Settesoli, an Italian woman who married into the Frangipani family in 1210. After meeting Saint Frances of Assisi, she became a friend and follower of his, devoting her life to good works. The story goes that upon his death bed, Francis called for ‘Brother Jacoba’ (as he had named her due to her fortitude), to bring him some of his favourite almond treats. Much to the consternation of the other monks, she was allowed in to the monastery with a basket of almond pastries and stayed until the revered man took his last breath.

This tale of a woman before her time, feeding a saint the food he wished for on his death bed, led me to ponder what my last meal on earth would be. Before making this momentous decision, I asked The Yak what he would choose. He replied that it would have to be his ‘once favourite dish’ from his ‘once favourite’ Italian restaurant Buon Ricordo. The legendary cream and Parmesan fettuccine topped with a truffled egg. He would also feast on a basket of the finest gluten laden breads.

For myself at the time of writing (I am nothing if not fickle), it would probably include half a dozen Sydney rock oysters ‘au naturale’, a bowl of buttery garlic prawns, a slice of good sourdough bread to mop up the prawny juices, steamed asparagus spears drizzled with lemon, a splodge of the creamy French soft cheese Buche d’Affinois and an icy cold glass of champagne. (Well, maybe more than one.) For dessert, this pretty and delicate cake would certainly be a contender. The piquant rhubarb offsets the buttery, nutty, sweetness of the frangipane perfectly.

A tart worthy of a saint or a Cheergerm’s last meal.


150g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder (1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1 lemon rind finely grated
150g almond meal
35g (1/4 cup) gluten free plain flour
150g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths

Preheat oven to 180C.
Grease a 34 cm x 12 loose based tart tin rectangular tin or a 23cm loose based flan tin.
Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until they are light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the vanilla and lemon rind and beat well.
Add almond meal and flour and fold to combine.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the top with a spatula.
Arrange the rhubarb over the top of the mixture in a pleasing pattern.
Put in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
If you want to serve it warm, give it 15 minutes before trying to take it out of the tin. Otherwise, cool completely then gently loosen the edges before removing carefully and placing onto a plate for presentation.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream or without. That’s really up to you.

Slightly adapted from the SBS food recipe website. Link follows the photos.

37 thoughts on “The last meal and a gluten free rhubarb frangipane tart

  1. Lord knows I’m not a religious woman (wait, what’s wrong with that sentence?) but this tart looks enough to make a believer out of even me. That’s another gluten-free recipe added to my list. Merci!

  2. More magnificent baking, Mrs Cheergerm! Surely more than good enough for the two little Saints in your life!? πŸ˜† A massive “arhhh” to Mr Silly Yak, wishing for all that gluten laden breadπŸ˜• but surely he can’t be doing too badly what with the plethora of delights coming out of your busy and fragrant kitchen!? No more talk of last meals …. far too many other delightful recipes to try and to share first! xx

    • Thanks J! Kid 1 was a massive fan, as was
      The Yak. I think he does all right, he can suffer from a bit of gluten melancholy every now and again but he also knows that far worse things happen. Yes, not trying to be grim…ever onwards and upwards towards all that delicious food! Xxx 😘😘

  3. Susanne

    A coupla things. Primo- Frangipani is definitely going to make it into a new story. What a GREAT character name! Maybe she’ll be a lousy cook, just for fun. Secondo-I WILL make this tonight as I have 3 bags full (truly!) of rhubarb in the freezer that need using. Like MELewis above, I am not religious but this could turn into a conversion experience!

  4. Now here is a recipe combination I’ve not come upon before, but I can assure you I will polish up my fork and be ready to give it a go. I love the super tartness of rhubarb and the nutty sweetness of almond magic. It seems to me like a match made in heaven–especially for a last meal scenario. Perhaps it’s a welcome home treat.

    • Let’s hope it’s not anyone’s last meal! I think a Welcome Home tart is a much better scenario. Rhubarb is quite the wonderful vegetable/fruit hey? Years ago I even used it in a sweet and sour pork dish. Nuts I tell you, nuts!

  5. I know what I’m making when I get back. Lovely Frangipane.
    Heavenly treat for my favourite saint and the Yak, but I am more of a devil, so before this I would have all those other things you mentioned and some Pinot Gris- ‘Sqealing Pig’ brand.

    • Thanks matey. A slight twist on someone else’s idea but it’s a bit of a winner. Think of all the lovely summer fruits that could sit atop this desserty delight. Mmm….

  6. This looks divine! The combination of butter, sugar, egg and almond, lightly caramelized on the outside, fluffy on the inside. And now you’ve got me pondering my last meal. It might have to be New York pizza, but the truffled egg is very tempting!

    • It is really is very, very good LM. Would be very cute in mini tart tins as well. It may seem morbid but I find it quite fascinating to hear what others would have as their last meal. NY pizza hey? Any particular topping? I think you would love the truffled egg pasta, if you ever come to Sydney, we shall go!! 😁

      • Oooh yes please πŸ™‚
        As to the pizza, I am partial to the classic cheese slice that you fold in half, but I might be persuaded to add mushrooms and black olives! And red pepper flakes, mmmm.

    • Thanks KW. I have always had a soft spot for St Francis and I am fond of the thought that perhaps he was a devotee of frangipane. Plums would be lovely, sweeter fruits (figs, nectarines) are great on this a contrasting tarter fruit cuts through the richness.

  7. Such a pretty, puffed up tart! Lady, you have done it again! My last meal would involve the exact cheese you mentioned, multiple glasses of Moet, lobster, cold prawns, salmon sashimi…and a few hot chips just coz πŸ™‚

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