August 8, 2009 § Leave a comment

So what is frangipane? I always believed it was a batter consisting of ground nuts and flour. Upon consultation with my trusty copy of Larousse Gastronomique, I discovered the term started with a 16th-century man “Marquis Muzio Frangipane” who invented a perfume for scenting gloves. This in turn inspired pastry chefs of the time to create a scented almond pastry cream made with milk, sugar, flour, eggs and butter. It does seem that the popular definition used in current recipe books is a egg, sugar, butter, almond meal (or other ground nut) and plain flour combination baked as a tart filling.

According to the book The Mystery and Lure of Perfume By C. J. S. Thompson, the same family lends its name to the common name for the frangipani flower otherwise known as the Plumeria flower. It was Marquis Muzio Frangipane’s grandfather Mercutio Frangipane who made the family’s perfume formula into a liquid scent. He travelled with Columbus to the West Indies where he discovered the Plumeria flower.

Why it is sometimes spelled as frangipani and other times frangipane I have no idea.


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