This is my birthday week and it's been off to a wonderful start! But there are lots of recipe updates for you!!!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.
Let's me just start with how many mishaps this pastry involved. I had some grandiose plans as you will see below for styling it and then ended up repairing and fixing my pie top because my measurement was off for the larger ring of flowers on the top sheet of pastry. Still things worked out well and I covered it with the flowers I had cut out earlier.
If you've noticed on Instastories, I've been going crazy over our neighbors huge stack of passion fruit vines that keep dropping their fruit all over the sidewalk. Every day when I take Snoopy on our walk, I make sure we get some passion fruit (this also makes M think I'm a little crazy). I guess I'm urban foraging??? But who can say no to free fruit and produce grown on your street, not me! That beautiful guava like taste is so delicious and I think it is one of the most under-appreciated fruits of fall.
I like the purple variety of passion fruit because it is less acidic than the other cultivars. All you need to do is scoop out the yellow flesh with the seeds in a strainer kept over a bowl and expel the liquid by gentle pressing the flesh against the sides. The delicious yellow liquid will be released and you can discard what's left behind in the strainer. You will need to sweeten it a little and then you should be good to use the liquid in whatever way you want to.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this pie;
- Use a European style butter to prepare the crust because of it's high fat content. Your crust will be flakier.
- I use Bob's Red Mill whole-wheat pastry flour, gluten content can vary a little between different brands so keep this in mind.
- I prefer to thicken the passion fruit liquid separately before adding it to the blueberries. I also chill the thickened liquid once I'm done because
- My blueberries were very sweet and the passion fruit wasn't too acidic. I recommend tasting your fruit before you decide on how much to sweeten it. I'm not a big fan of overly sweet pies where all you can taste is the sugar and not the fruit or crust. Starting with less sugar is always good.
standard double crust pie dough (pastry recipe adapted from the Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum)
yields: one 9 inch double crust pie
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks/170gm) unsalted butter, chilled
290gm whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 teaspoons fine grain sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
128gm cream cheese, cold
3 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
1 tablespoon (15mL) cider vinegar
blueberry and passion fruit filling
1 cup (236mL) passion fruit pulp liquid with no seeds (see notes on how to extract)
2 tablespoons + 4 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 cups (760g) blueberries
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (64g) finegrain sugar
1. Cube the butter into small chunks, wrap with plastic film and freeze for 30 minutes.
2. Dry whisk the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder and freeze in an airtight container for 30minutes. Attach the dough blade to a food processor, then put the flour mixture into the bowl of the food processor. Cube the cream cheese into 4 pieces and add it to the flour. Pulse the mixture for about 30 seconds until it resembles coarse meal. Add the cubes of frozen butter and pulse until the butter cubes are reduced to the size of small peas. Add the cream (or milk) and cider vinegar and pulse until the entire mixture resembles chunky particles. Transfer this to a dry clean gallon ziploc bag. Remove most of the air from the bag and then seal it. Using the heel of your hand knead and press the mixture from the outside of the bag to bring the dough together. Open the bag and transfer the dough to a large sheet of cling film. Form a large ball of dough and then divide it into two equal halves. Wrap with cling film and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before using (you can make the dough up to 2 days in advance).
3. Roll out each block of pastry into 1/8 inch thick discs between two sheets of parchment paper, using minimal flour as you roll to prevent it from sticking. Cut one circle of 12 inches diameter and line the bottom of a 9 inch pie dish carefully. Trim off any pastry overhangs using a scissors. Wrap the pie dish with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut another 12 inch circle from the second disc of rolled out pastry and make cut outs of any shapes using a small cookie cutter. I used a flower stencil to cut out patterns but you can use any shape you like. (Since this is a blueberry and passion fruit filled pie, there is a lot of liquid which needs to be released and you will have to vent the pie by making some sort of holes or slits in the top crust).
4. In the mean time start to prepare the filling. Pour the passion fruit liquid into a medium-sized saucepan, reserve two tablespoons of the liquid in a small bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to the reserve fruit liquid and whisk to make a slurry. Heat the passion fruit liquid on medium-high heat until it just starts to boil. Quickly whisk in the cornstarch slurry and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes with constant whisking until it thickens. Remove from stove and allow to cool over an ice-water bath. Place the blueberries in a large mixing bowl, add the remaining cornstarch and sugar and fold with a silicone spatula to coat evenly. Remove and unwrap the chilled pie dish from the refrigerator, transfer the blueberries to the pie and then pour the cooled and thickened passion fruit liquid over the berries. Wrap the pie dish with cling film and return to the refrigerator. Place the second 12 inch circle of pastry over the over the pie filling and fold the edges of the first one and crimp the edges. Decorate the top with the cutout flowers if using the same pattern in the photos. Brush the base of the cutout flowers with a little water to help glue them to the surface of the pastry. Wrap the pie dish with cling film and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before baking.
5. To bake the pie, place a wire rack at the lowest level in the oven. Take a pizza stone and wrap it with aluminum foil and place it on the wire rack and preheat the oven to 425F. Wait an additional 20 minutes before baking the pie in the oven. Just before baking, remove the pie from the refrigerator and unwrap the cling film, line the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour until the fruit juices start to bubble, rotating the pie dish halfway through the baking process. The crust will be golden brown when done. Remove the baked pie from the oven and discard the aluminum foil, allow to cool on a wire rack completely before serving. This pie can be refrigerated for up to 4 to 5 days.