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Almond frangipane is a classic French preparation that can be made in moments. It provides a delicious base for raw or poached fruit and is spread over uncooked pastry to make simple tarts. It can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, then softened at room temperature or in the microwave in less than a minute. This recipe uses ground almonds, but it can be made with ground hazelnuts or walnuts. A fun variation is to leave the poached fruit halves whole and to cut pastry shapes to echo the shape of the fruit being used, thus making individual pear tarts or even peach or plum tarts. Each pastry shape must be chilled well before baking to prevent shrinking.

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