What is the difference between frangipane and almond cream in galette des rois?

Nestled in its foliage, the eternal frangipane has been delighting gourmands for ages with its intense fragrance, its softness, and its generosity. And it is so popular that many French people confuse it with its little sister: almond cream. However, in the 2023 vintage of galettes des rois proposed by the greatest chefs in France, not all of them contain frangipane but indeed almond cream.

The difference between almond cream and frangipane

The almond cream, which is prepared by adding softened butter, sugar, almond powder, egg, and rum, is in reality step 1 of making frangipane. Indeed, frangipane is a mixture of almond cream + pastry cream. Frangipane therefore takes slightly longer to make than almond cream, since it requires a slight resting time. Let’s not forget that almond cream contains butter, and that custard is a cooked cream, therefore heated. We cannot therefore mix it immediately with the almond cream, otherwise the whole thing will melt. QED.

To read: The basics of pastry: 11 cream recipes to know

Frangipane or almond cream: which is better?

To be honest, there is no cream better than the other, there is above all a difference in texture – in almond cream, we will feel more the “crunching” effect of the mixed oilseeds if you indulge us expression – while the frangipane will be softer due to the presence of milk. As seen previously, there is also a difference in preparation time. The almond cream can be prepared immediately and spread directly on the puff pastry, when the frangipane will need a little rest before being used. If frangipane, sometimes there isn’t, don’t worry, it will be good in any case!

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