While I'm still on my mango season kick, I figured I should share a mango curd recipe with you. This is the classic egg based custard version which is great to spoon over fruit or yogurt but this is NOT one you should use between cakes, you can use it on top but I would avoid using it between the layers of a cake as the weight would squeeze it out. For that I will another recipe in a few weeks at my column at the San Francisco Chronicle.Read More
In 24 hours, I get to see my mom and sister after two years. We see each other and chat once a week over FaceTime (my mom's preferred method of communication) but I don't think that counts. This is also the first time they're visiting us since we moved to California and I've been scrubbing the floors on my hands and knees because I need everything to be "mom-proof" aka "how to avoid feedback on how to life your life, raise your pets, etc.". My mom is actually wonderful and I enjoy spending time with her. I think she likes M more than me at times, which if fine, it might be a Mother-in-law thing.
My mom doesn't like to cook, in fact she doesn't understand why I cook with such "heavy" cookware. This is also why I started to cook, early on as a child when my parents worked. It turned out to be the best thing I had ever done! Cooking became my lifeline, my thread that would become my connection to the past, to the present and to the future.
This passion fruit tart for example, I had never eaten or tried or even heard of this "tropical-flavored" fruit until I moved to America. It's bright and sunny tart filling that makes me happy every time I sink my teeth into it. Then I add ginger, a root I knew well enough as a savory and sweet ingredient. It can pack a fiery punch into every dessert it's folded in to such as the spicy ginger infused freshly squeezed sugarcane juice sold on the streets of Bombay. And so this passion fruit and ginger tart like many of the recipes on my blog, ties me to the different moments and events in my life that have shaped my thinking on food.
The pretty cake stand was provided by Martha Stewart and I did some urban foraging for my passion fruit (it's thankfully grown on my streets as much as the lemon and orange trees and my kind neighbors usually leave boxes on the sidewalk for people to grab.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this tart;
- Use whatever tart shell you'd like to but when blind baking, waterproof the surface using an egg white, it will increase the shelf-life of the tart.
- Making passion fruit curd is very similar to lemon curd. Be gentle with the eggs while they're cooking and stir constantly to avoid curdling.
- I don't like to grind the seeds with the pulp in a blender to extract the fruit because it can end up gritty and sometimes the color isn't as bright and smooth as I like it to be. Instead, I put all the pulp in a sieve set over a large measuring cup and stir the pulp aggressively with a spoon to release the liquid trapped inside the soft translucent yellow pulp. The liquid that is released will collect in the cup and I use that to work with.
- To prepare the ginger juice, peel and grate a 4 to 5 inch piece of ginger root. Squeeze the pulp in a sieve over a small bowl and collect as much liquid as you can. If the starch in the liquid starts to settle at the bottom of the bowl, then stir it well to re-disperse the contents before using it.
passion fruit ginger tart
for the filling
2 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 cup passion fruit extract
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed ginger juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter cubed at room temperature
Prepare a pot of boiling water. Place a large glass bowl over the pot, the level of the boiling water must be an inch below the base of the glass bowl. This allows the steam to heat the eggs evenly. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl and using a hand whisk or handheld electric whisk, whisk at high speed for about 5 minutes until the eggs become pale yellow and light and fluffy. Whisk in the passion fruit, ginger, and butter. Whisk continuously, until the mixture transforms into a thick custard. Remove from heat and transfer to container. Keep aside until ready to use. The passion fruit curd can be prepared a day ahead in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.
To prepare the tart follow the instructions here for this lemon tart (they are exactly the same). You just need to use the passion fruit curd instead of the lemon tart.
To decorate the tart
2 tablespoons passion fruit pulp with seeds
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons crème frâiche
After the tart is completely set and chilled and ready to be served, take the fruit pulp and sugar and mixing it in a bowl. Place the crème frâiche at the center of the filling in the tart and pour the sweetened fruit pulp on top. Serve chilled. This tart will stay good refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Martha Stewart. However, all opinions expressed are solely my own.
Goodness, it's already the last week of January! The start to the new year has been wonderful with lots of new and exciting food and photography projects that I am really grateful and thankful for. I've also been experimenting in the kitchen with a lot of new techniques and flavor combinations, so stay tuned for some fun things in the future.
January is also a great, great time to get your hands on blood oranges! We've been buying a couple of pounds every weekend and besides guzzling their sweet bloody segments down, I've been cooking extensively with them.
Every year I make a small batch of lemon curd but this year, I decided to switch things around a little bit and prepare a blood orange version.....with a little honey bourbon. The end result is a perfectly tangy and sweet citrus curd with a hint of bourbon flavor make it a great little dip for fresh fruit or a spread for cookies or pound cakes. To be honest, I had some fixed feelings about the final color. Though I like the pink color of the curd, I would rather have it deep and dark red just like the orange but the combination of the eggs and the butter will lighten things up. So to get around this issue, I tried adding a little beet juice in the first batch I prepared but it didn't make much of a difference with the color. By the time I ate the first batch and started on the second and third batches, the pink color grew on me and now I absolutely love it as much as I love the flavor of this curd!
Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing this orange curd,
- The bourbon is optional, if you don't like alcohol in your blood orange curd then skip it.
- If you feel like your blood orange curd is not thick enough, you whisk in a little cornstarch. Add 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch mixed in 1 teaspoon cold water and whisk and cook until the curd is thick but do not let it boil. The addition of cornstarch gives a better glaze if you wish to use the curd as a filling in pastries.
- The curd needs to chill for at least 4 hours but it will taste best after overnight refrigeration. The "eggish" taste disappears and the flavors in the blood orange curd will be sweet and tangy.
My blood orange curd recipe is adapted from this recipe from Food and Wine .
blood orange curd with honey bourbon
yields: approximately 1 1/3 cups
3 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup blood orange juice, freshly squeezed and strained to remove pulp
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons honey bourbon
1. Place the eggs and the yolks in a thick bottomed saucepan. Whisk them to break the yolks and mix gently until combined. Pour in the sugar and whisk gently until combined.
2. Place the saucepan over a medium-low flame. Add the orange juice, the zests and the chopped butter. Whisk the ingredients of the saucepan constantly, scrape the sides down with a silicone spatula while the mixture is cooking for about 8-9 minutes. The mixture should be gently simmering and should never boil or the eggs will curdle. The mixture will resemble a very thick custard by the time it is done cooking. Immediately remove from stove and strain it through a sieve into a storage container.
3. Stir in the orange blossom water (if using) and the honey bourbon. Cover the surface of the curd with cling film (this will prevent any skin formation). Chill overnight before serving the curd.