Passion Fruit

Passion Fruit

Passion fruit always conjures up the very essence of the sultry tropics; sweet, tart, and colorfully exotic! Scooped right out of its pod and eaten on the spot, topping an airy Pavlova, in an icy Mojito, stirred into a savory curry, or frozen on a stick, it refreshes and soothes like nothing else under the tropical sun!

For the passion fruit tart recipe which follows I have used the smaller purple fruits that tend to be sweeter, but any variety will be fine. It is the pairing of flavors in this recipe, a dark chocolate layer hidden under the passion fruit curd that always surprises and delights!

A few words about sweet pastry dough: There are numerous recipes about and most of us have our favorites, myself included, Nancy Silverton’s recipe from Pastries from the La Brea Bakery (recipe available online). The key here is a higher fat content in the dough and a lower baking temperature that produces a light crust with a slight nutty overtone.

To avoid any mishaps, a few tips for working with pastry dough with high butter content, and particularly in a warm climate!

Roll out the dough on a floured piece of parchment on a flat work surface. Slip a baking sheet under it and chill the dough until it firms up again before placing it in the tart pan. 

When firm, remove the chilled dough round from the refrigerator and onto a flat work surface. Slide a large icing spatula under the dough and loosen any sticking points. Let it sit for a minute until it becomes just pliable and gently fold dough in half and transfer it to the tart pan and press the dough into the edge and up the sides of the pan. Brush the entire surface with melted butter and chill for 15 minutes. Line the dough with a circle of parchment slightly larger than the pan. Add pie weights, being sure to distribute them to the edge and up the sides.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180C for 25 minutes with the pie weights. Then take out of the oven and remove the pie weights and parchment and slip the tart back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes to finish baking the center.

Passion Fruit Tart  

Passion Fruit Tart

Passion Fruit Tart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Makes 1 10 inch tart

Prepare ahead:

  • blind baked sweet pastry tart shell, chilled
  • semisweet chocolate ganache
  • passion fruit curd

         For serving:

  • whipped cream
  • 6 fresh passion fruits, to be scooped out onto each serving as a final garnish 

Dark chocolate ganache: makes 1 cup

  • 4 oz dark semisweet chocolate, grated
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract 

Mix the chocolate, sugar, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Heat the cream and butter to a simmer and remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate mixture in the bowl. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes without stirring, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the orange extract. Cool to room temperature and then slip some plastic film directly onto the surface of the chocolate and set aside.

Passion Fruit curd (filling)

  • 4 eggs 
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, strained
  • 3/4 cup fresh passion fruit juice, strained
  • a pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Combine the eggs and egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl and whisk in the sugar, lime juice, and passion fruit juice. Fill a pan large enough to accommodate the stainless bowl sitting on top with several inches of water and heat almost to a simmer, but not boiling. Place the stainless bowl on top of the pan. The steam rising from the water will slowly thicken the mixture without curdling the eggs in the process. Be patient! This takes some time, but with gentle stirring with a whisk in a circular motion, the curd will eventually thicken.

Once the mixture has thickened to the point where it will sit on the surface of the curd when running off the whisk, remove it from the heat and strain into another bowl. This will remove any egg that may have cooked on the sides of the bowl during the thickening process. Add the butter scattered over the surface of the curd. Once it is melted, gently fold it into the curd until well combined. Set aside to cool until it comes to room temperature and then slip some plastic film directly onto the surface of the curd until you are ready to pour the curd into the tart shell.

Assembling the tart:

Passion Fruit Tart

Passion Fruit Tart

Remove the chilled baked tart shell from the refrigerator. With a silicone spatula spread a thin even layer of the chocolate ganache over the bottom of the tart shell. Smooth with an icing spatula and return the tart shell to the refrigerator to chill until the ganache firms up, about 30 minutes.
Once the chocolate layer is set, pour the passion fruit curd into the shell and spreading it evenly all the way around.
Refrigerate for several hours until set.

With a wet knife blade, slice the tart into potions, wiping the knife clean and wetting it between each slice.
Plate each serving and top with whipped cream and fresh passion fruit scooped directly out of the pod, including seeds for their delightful crunchiness !!

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