Thirst-quenching and lip-puckering passionfruit and lime crème brûlée tarts

Passionfruit needs a little sugar to balance sourness but enough to bring out sweetness

Passionfruit and lime creme brulee tarts.

Passionfruit and lime creme brulee tarts.

 

I have a penchant for sharp and tangy. I tend to resist making or eating overly sweet desserts, and I like it that way.

Most of my dessert recipes, and the desserts I would opt for when eating out, lean more on the savoury, soothing or sour side of things. Anything on the menu that brings to mind a toothache, I am inclined to bypass.

Passionfruit and lime have a thirst-quenching, lip-puckering, sour sense to them, the kind of combination you want to eat or drink on a beach somewhere very hot. I love using tropical fruit in desserts, they add a prickly feel to your mouth, and work well in so many dishes. 

Like rhubarb, passionfruit needs a little sugar to help balance its sourness, but just enough to sweeten so that the flavour of the fruit shines through. This week’s recipe started off as a custard tart laced with little pearls of passionfruit and a soft accent of lime, until I tasted it and realised it could benefit from a little more texture, and dare I say it, a touch more sweetness. One scant sprinkle of sugar and a blowtorch later, I had a crème brûlée tart: two birds with one stone, and a delightful hybrid dessert.

The sugar gives the tart just the right amount of sweetness to balance the passionfruit and lime custard, and scorching it adds a beautiful sheet of sugar, as thin as glass, that breaks into tiny sweet golden shards once your spoon cracks into it.

The tart is gorgeous on its own, with perfect short pastry and a soft, wobbly custard centre, but the crrème brûlée top adds another level of elegance and refinement as well as a sweet and satisfying crunch.

This recipe makes enough for six individual tarts, or one larger 23cm tart. It will take slightly longer to cook if making a larger tart, about 10 to 15 minutes, so keep an eye on it. It should be set around the outside with a very slight wobble in the centre.

Once baked, the cooked tarts will keep for two or three days in the fridge. The brulée top is best made right before serving; the tarts should be completely set and cooled before sprinkling with sugar and popping under the grill for a few minutes to blister, no blowtorches necessary.

Recipe: Passionfruit and lime crème brûlée tarts

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