Monday, 22 October 2012

Banana-passion fruit meringue tarts

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'Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm a passion fruit addict' would be my opening line at an AA equivalent meeting, but for food addicts.
If I'm not mistaken, I went through a bout of passion fruit love sometime last year as well. Yes, just after summer is over and the fruit is fading from the market, but is ridiculously expensive. I thought I was over that whole passion fruit obsession, and that's when a couple of us food bloggers (Suchi, Nupur, Sonal, Nayna and Jagruti) ended up going to the Cake & Bake Show last month and had a passion fruit and banana tart made (right in front of us) by none other than Edd Kimber, the Great British Bake Off winner, 2010. It was so good, I couldn't get it out of my mind. I HAD TO MAKE IT!

So I came back home, did a thorough check of where I could get passion fruit purée and was truly disappointed. None of the local stores sold it and my only option was to pick it up online...and I would have if it wasn't so bloody expensive and came in large quantities. So the ordeal was soon forgotten until I dropped into Ottolenghi one day and had the infamous passion fruit meringue tartlets. Ok new idea brewed and I HAD TO MAKE IT. So chucked the whole plan of purée, instead decided to improvise using passion fruit juice and some pulp. The outcome was brilliant and I finally made the tartlets. 
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I always stayed away from lemon curd and lemon/ lime based desserts because I was not a fan of the tangy stuff (in desserts, I mean). With the fear of passion fruit curd being something like that, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it tasted, albeit the slight tanginess which was clearly balanced by the sweetness of the curd. Its heavenly to dab it on a piece of warm toast or, if you cant wait, spoon it right out of the sauce pan and eat while still warm. Somehow, the banana and passion fruit come together, and is a match worth exploring again in the future. If there was one fault. id say it was a bit too much on the sweeter side when it all comes together. Reduce the sugar in the meringue and curd and you should be fine.

Basically I have Edd Kimber to thank for this brilliant idea. The recipe, he said, would be in his new book, but obviously I had other plans....Google. I made the curd a day ahead, since everything together might have been hectic. Also, the lighting was bad on that day and I didn't want to take a chance and make the tarts only to be disappointed by lighting. Not that lighting was any better the day I actually made the tarts, but I had no patience to wait further. The entire process may look torturous, but if you spread it across 2 days, its really no hassle. So here you go, the recipe for a delightful tea time tart.
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Banana-passion fruit meringue tarts (makes 6 tartlets)
Short crust pastry- 1 sheet (recipe below)
passion fruit curd- a little over 1/2 cup (recipe below)
Caramelised bananas- 1/2 cup
Meringue- around 2 cups

Short crust pastry
Plain flour- 200 gms
Baking powder- 1/4 tsp
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Sugar- 1 tbsp (optional)
Cold butter- 100 gms, cut into cubes
Cold water- 3 to 4 tbsp/ as required
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Mix together the flour, baking powder salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Add the cubes of butter and rub it into the flour, using your hands. It should resemble coarse bread crumbs.
Add the cold water bit by bit till it all comes together and you get a soft pliable dough.
Cling wrap it and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
(I used ready made all-butter short crust pastry shells, but have tried making pastry with the above recipe and it works fine. Have also tried with ready rolled pastry and its even easier)
Meanwhile, butter your tart tins and pre heat oven to 180C.
When ready to use, roll out the dough on a slightly floured surface and cut into rounds to fit your tart tin. You can also butter a muffin tin and use that instead of the tart tin, in which case you would get around 10 to 12 mini tarts.
Blind bake the tart shells for about 20 minutes or till golden brown. I didn't have any baking beans so I placed pieces of baking paper on top of the shells and filled them with enough rice. I kinda messed up here because in spite of filling them to the brim, the tarts still rose a bit in the middle. So use beads if possible.
When done, place on rack to cool completely.

Passion fruit curd (recipe adapted from here)
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Passion fruit- 3, scoop out the flesh but discard the seeds (or eat them)
Passion fruit juice- approx. 1/4 cup
(The passion fruit you have may not be fleshy, in which case mix together the flesh and juice to make 125ml of pulp or just use 125ml of passion fruit juice alone but reduce sugar)
Eggs- 2, well beaten
Caster sugar- 80gms
Butter- 60gms, unsalted

Mix together the pulp, juice, caster sugar and butter in a saucepan placed over medium heat.
Stir till the sugar melts and the mixture comes to a boil.
Remove from heat and keep aside for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Gently pour in the beaten eggs, whisking continuously, or you will end up with curdled eggs.
Place the sauce pan back on low heat and keep whisking till the mixture becomes thick and smooth.
Pour into sterilised jars/ air tight container and keep refrigerated. The curd becomes a bit more thicker once it cools.
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Caramelised bananas
Banana- 1 large ripe one, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
Brown sugar- 1 tbsp
Butter- 1/2 tbsp + enough to grease the tins 

Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan. It should be all dark and bubbly.
Throw in the sliced bananas and toss around to coat it well, taking care to not break them up.
Remove from heat and keep aside to cool slightly.

Meringue 
Egg whites- 125ml (or half cup)
Sugar- 150gms
vanilla extract- 1/2 tsp

Whisk the egg whites in a free standing mixer (with balloon whisk attachment), on medium speed, till it doubles in volume.
Add the extract.
Increase speed to high and slowly add the sugar.
Continue whisking till you get stiff, glossy peaks.
Be careful to not over whisk and make it too dry.
Fill a piping bag (with round tip nozzle preferably) with the meringue and keep ready.
The above mentioned measure make a large batch. I made meringue cookies with the remaining. Feel free to halve and also reduce sugar as per choice.
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Assembling
Place the tart shells on a baking tray and layer the bottom with the caramelised bananas...say around 4 to 5 slices per tart (of course adjust it according to your tart shell size)
Pour around 2 to 3 tsp of passion fruit curd over the bananas, say till about 3/4th full of the shell.
Pipe the meringue on top of the curd in whichever design you like, but make sure the tips are not too pointed or else you might end up with burnt tips. (You can also just slather with a spoon and swirl designs)
Place in an oven pre heated at 180C and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or till the meringues are cooked through and brown in colour.
If you have a blow torch then omit this step and just brown them.
Next time I would place it under the broiler. I was too much of a chicken to do so this time.
Keep the tarts to cool for a while and then dig in.
You can also refrigerate it till further use.

19 comments:

Nupur said...

you made me recall that awesome taste Nisha.. and you have made them so much better ...

divya said...

What a lovely recipe... Just love it...

Torviewtoronto said...

that looks fabulous lovely pictures

Gauri said...

Banana and passion fruit?? Never thought these two flavours will work, esp since passion fruit is my favourite fruit!Love the clicks and very nice recipe!

Akila said...

Wow looks delicious n tempting... Very lovely

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Poornima Nair said...

The tarts are just fabulous! The passion fruit curd looks so tempting, love this dessert!

Priya said...

Never tried passion fruits in bakes apart from a shake, tarts looks absolutely tremendous and mindblowing.

Ceee... said...

How beautiful.. i love passion fruit too...esp passion fruit cheesecake n pulp straight up with a spoonful of sugar.. mmmm

Vijayalakshmi Dharmaraj said...

nice one...
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Happy Cook / Finla said...

I am so going to make passion fruit curd. I love tarts like this i like everything in them except the caramalized bananas.

Shibi Thomas said...

The snaps are perfect!!! Never seen passion fruit where I live (OH, US)...may be strawberry is another choice.

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lifescoops said...

I love the second snap the most..awesome clicks and props..love love love it :))...such a beautiful recipe....I would love to give this recipe a try...going to look out for passion fruit now :)

ANU said...

awesome fruit tarts and lovely presentaion and clicks...
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Reshmi Mahesh said...

Passion fruit curd looks yummy...Love to try this..The banana passion fruit combo is new to me...Tart looks delicious too...Awesome clicks and props...Loved the cute stand and forks and ya the pink colored glasses..oh its more simple to say that I loved everything in there..:)

Isingcakes said...

You know what..checking your passion fruit pics and posts are making me to go get them and try these delicious preparations!

Suja Manoj said...

Love the flavors,looks awesome dear..divine.

schmetterlingwords said...

Ohhh... these tarts are soooper gorgeous Nisha.. :)

Isabel - Frabisa said...

Una receta estupenda y unas fotografías maravillosas. Enhorabuena!

Vijitha said...

I love these tarts.Banana and passion fruit are one of my favourite combination. I once made an ice cream with those two. Beautiful pictures as always