Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dessert: Passion Fruit Cream Tart

One of our favorite cookbooks - and bakeries - is Tartine. I've purchased my fair share of books that proclaim to let out the secrets and throw you the keys to the kingdom. Many don't, but Tartine, Craft of Baking, and Bourke Street Bakery do.

Excuse me if I wasn't surprised when Food 52 cited Tartine's 'Lemon Cream' as one of their Genius Recipes. As I read through the comments section of the post, I noticed someone said they'd subbed out the lemon for passion fruit.

Passion fruit?!?!?! Oh hell no!

Fresh off our Hawaiian vacation, the tang of passion fruit (they call it lilikoi)was still on our tongues. Oh what a treat a passion fruit cream tart would be - if we were in Hawai'i. You see, passion fruit grows in Hawai'i like crabapples grow in Ohio. They can't give away these things in Hawai'i. Ohio? $1 a piece (yields about two or three tablespoons including seeds). [below is a picture showing them (lilikoi) being sold for a dime.]
Fruit is about the only cheap thing in these parts.

Needless to say, buying individual passion fruit would be a very expensive proposition in the Midwest. Luckily Premier Produce & Specialty Foods carries passion fruit puree for around $15. After calling just about every Mexican and specialty grocery in town, this was pretty much the only place that had it. Great people and very helpful, BTW.

Passion Fruit Tart with Toasted Coconut and Macadamia Nuts
I'm not going to crazy copying the recipes for these posts. Here's the link to the Lemon Cream recipe. They don't include the sweet tart dough recipe that Tartine uses, but there is a link for Paule Caillat's Brown Butter Tart Crust.

  • The substitution for passion fruit to lemon (or any fruit juice) is 1:1. Pretty self explanatory, right? I thawed out the puree before I used it, but realistically I don't think it makes much difference.
  •  Err on the side of the water simmering too low, rather than too high. If you take the temperature up too quickly you are most definitely going to end up with what looks like smalls shards of egg white in your curd. While it's probably going to be chopped up by the blender anyway, take a few more minutes to heat it up. What's the big hurry?
  • If you're doing the lemon version, used freshly squeezed lemon juice. I tried to pass one over on the boss and got called out on it. Me: 0 Boss: 1 
  • Freestyle on the accouterments to compliment whatever juice you're using. We went with the Hawaiian theme on this particular version. Most every dessert in this island paradise has one, if not all, of these ingredients.
  • Read the whole recipe first and have everything at the ready. Once this ball starts to roll, there isn't a lot of time to pull out extra bowls and utensils. Lay the whole thing out first and know what steps you have to take. Nothing sucks worse than having hot curd and realizing you haven't even taken the butter out of the fridge yet.
  • Use a blender. I normally like using a stick blender, but this goes much easier if you just get it in the blender and drop in the butter from there. I've tried it both ways, and as much as I hate cleaning a dirty blender - it's way easier. In the long run.
  • If you have a dough you like - use it. I wouldn't recommend a flaky dough, though. Any shortbread-like sweet dough will do.