Passion fruit tart: five steps to tropical heaven

This zingy, easy-to-make tart, served with whipped cream, is a dessert to savour

Delicious and special: passion fruit tart

Delicious and special: passion fruit tart

 

I have always enjoyed growing passion vines. They yield abundant flowers in late spring, and it is hard not to admire their exotic purple and white flowers. Since I do not have a greenhouse and a good summer is never guaranteed, I have never cultivated them for their fragrant fruit, which when grown in a warm climate are a wonderfully tasty ingredient.

The oval-shaped fruit with brown wrinkled skin look far less impressive than the flowers, but this is how they look when lusciously ripe.

The pleasantly sweet and slightly sharp flavour of passion fruit provides a harmonious pairing with custard-based desserts. Buying the whole fruit and manually extracting the fruit’s pulp is a simple enough task. The pulp can be used to make passion fruit curd, ice cream and soufflés.

You can often find passion fruit purées or coulis in the shops as they are a popular accompaniment to ice cream. The super fruity and zingy flavour of both passion fruits and lemons make them wonderfully interchangeable. The filling in this passion fruit tart is very similar to a lemon tart filling that I make.

The beauty of making pastry from scratch is that it provides you with an opportunity to create indulgently rich tarts (and simple quiches) for any occasion. Adapting recipes is fun for the adventurous cook. In this tart, the hint of cocoa powder in the pastry is not obligatory by any means, but it adds a subtle chocolate flavour and the tart shell contrasts with the bright filling. (You can omit it altogether and stick with using a plain pastry.) A slice of this easy to make tart, served chilled, with a dollop of freshly whipped cream is tropical paradise for chocolate lovers.

PASSION FRUIT TART

Makes one 20cm tart or four tartlets

Ingredients
150g plain flour
2tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
30g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
75g cold butter, diced
2 egg yolks
1 tsp cold water, if needed

For the passion-fruit filling
9-10 whole passion fruits
1½ lemons
125g caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly whisked
125g cream
Optional garnish: mint, grated chocolate

Method 
Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Grease a 20cm loose bottom tart tin (or four small tartlet tins if making individual tartlets).

To make the pastry by hand, sieve together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt into a bowl. Add the diced butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With a dinner knife, work in the egg yolks then bring together to a firm dough (add a little water if the pastry feels dry, to help the mixture come together). Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface and use to line the tin (or small tins). To bake the pastry blind, line with parchment paper and fill with baking beans. Place in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, without the pastry colouring. Remove the beans and paper and set aside.

For the passion fruit filling: Set a sieve over a bowl. Cut each passion fruit in half and use a spoon to scrape out the contents (fully ripe fruits will contain moist seeds and some pulp). Use a spoon to press the pulp and passion fruit juice through the sieve and into the bowl (discard the gritty seeds once you are sure you have sieved out as much moisture as possible from them).

Use a fine grater to grate the zest from one lemon. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice from one and a half lemons. In a mixing bowl, combine the passion fruit pulp, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar, then stir well to combine until all the sugar is dissolved. Lightly break up the eggs with a whisk, then stir them into the fruit mixture, followed by the cream. Mix well with a whisk, skimming away any froth.

Pour the mixture into the pre-baked chocolate pastry. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is just set in the centre (once cooked the filling should no longer wobble in the centre). Remove from the oven and set aside in a cool place to cool completely. Serve chilled.

Variation
Instead of whole passion fruits, you can use 100ml passion fruit purée. If the purée is sweetened, reduce the quantity of sugar in the filling.

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