Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Happy Valentine's Day! Or otherwise known as, Happy stuff-your-face-with-desserts day! Now, I realize that I'm a little bit late to the Valentine's Day party, but this being a journal and all, I wanted to share what the dessert I'm actually having for Valentine's Day rather than making something weeks ahead of time that I wouldn't actually make again. ... and, I'm just running behind, so please forgive me! :)
It seems that, whenever I think about Valentine's Day desserts, I always come back to passionfruit. It's not your typically romantic fruit, like red strawberries dipped in chocolate--and frankly, it looks like dinosaur eggs, with its bumpy skin and bizarre, seedy insides. But, I think it's the name that gets to me, with passion, and I like that it's a little bit tart and sweet, like love.
This year for Valentine's Day, I decided to mix passionfruit with another thing that my bf and I are obsessed with: tapioca. I've always joked that you can't date me unless you like tapioca (with tea, that is), and one of the first things that happened years ago in our relationship was that Richard learned to like tapioca milk tea, just to hang with me. That's the sign of a keeper! Then, a few days ago, he showed up with a bag of lemons from his backyard (<3), which I also wanted to incorporate into the dessert.
Hence, passionfruit tapioca and lemon cream tarts! with passionfruit curd filling, which is super luscious and studded with small rounds of soft tapioca pearls, and mascarpone whipped cream, which is flavored with fresh-squeezed lemon juice and zest for an overall brightness to the dessert. It's one of those desserts that make you feel like you're eating pure rays sunshine, even if the weather outside and stormy and cold (as it finally is here in the Bay, after a winter of no rain!).
Even though it's a bit late, here's wishing you all a Valentine's Day filled with sugar and candy and delicious desserts (forget love and romance, all we need is sugar anyways)!
Read on for recipe....
Passionfruit tapioca and lemon cream tarts
adapted in part from Tartine bakery
makes six 4.5-inch tarts
for tart shells:
9 Tbspn (4.5 oz/127 gr) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar
1/8 tspn salt
1 3/4 cups (250 gr) AP flour
1. In a mixer bowl, combine butter, sugar, and salt. Beat on medium until smooth.
2. Mix in egg and beat until smooth.
3. Add flour to the bowl, mix on low just until incorporated.
4. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or cling wrap and chill for at least two hours or overnight.
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
6. Working quickly, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Press down into six 4.5-inch tart pans and prick the bottoms all over with a fork. Keep the dough cold, and if necessary, place in freezer for a few minutes before baking.
7. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, rotating once half-way through for even baking, until the crusts are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
for passionfruit tapioca filling:
1/2 cup + 2 Tbspn (5 oz.) passionfruit puree
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup (170 gr) sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup tapioca pearls (not instant tapioca)
1. Prepare a double boiler, with water simmering in the bottom half.
2. In the bowl of the double boiler, whisk to combine the passionfruit puree, eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and salt. Whisking constantly, cook in the double boiler over simmering water until the mixture becomes very thick and reaches 180 degrees F.
3. Remove from the stove and whisk to cool, until 140 degrees F. Place the mixture in a blender or a food processor. While the blender/food processor is running, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to fully incorporate into the curd before adding the next tablespoon.
4. Meanwhile, fill a small pot with two inches of water. Bring to a simmer and add the tapioca pearls. The pearls should be well-covered with water. Simmer and stir for about 12-15 minutes, until the tapioca pearls are al dente, with a mostly translucent outside. Drain in a mesh strainer.
5. Stir the drained tapioca pearls into the finished passionfruit curd. Pour into the cooled tart shells and refrigerate for at least one hour, until the filling is set.
for lemon cream:
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbspn powdered sugar
2 tspn fresh lemon juice
fresh zest from 2 lemons
1. In a bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese and whipping cream. Beat until very soft peaks.
2. Whisk in the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat just until stiff peaks but do not overwhip.
3. Spoon or pipe the cream onto the prepared tarts.