Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Passionfruit Tapioca and Lemon Cream Tarts

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 egg
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
3 eggs
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.



  1. Tapioca pearls in a citrus tart filling - what an idea, though I'm partial to it only because it sort of disturbs the whole smooth cream/custard filling serenity. Love the partially covered tarts to expose the sunshine yellow.

  2. Mmmm… bubbly tapioca in a lemon cream: ME WANT! Your photos are gorgeous, as always!
    And, oh, I don't know if you read it yet: but it has been proven that eating desserts for breakfast would actually be good to lose/ control our weight! (<- kind of thing I don't control anyway) 
    I immediately thought about your blog when I learned that one! You are like a precursor or something! ;)

    ps. You can read the study over here: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/02/07/eat-dessert-for-breakfast-to-lose-weight-says-study

  3. Beautiful! The photos brought sunshine to me on this dark, grey day in Budapest! :) Thank you Stephanie!

  4. My mouth is watering! Your boyfriend is one lucky guy :)

  5. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla SugarFebruary 15, 2012 at 4:34 AM

    Oh my! This sounds lovely!

  6. Beautiful photos, especially of the lemons.  I noticed your Ikea dish towel.  They're the best.

  7. I could do with a little ray of sunshine in this cold British weather - just looking at these made me smile :-)

  8. Hi Stephanie!  I just wanted you to know that your blog is one of my favorites to read!  i actually draw a lot of inspiration from your photos but have a lot of work to do so thank you!

  9. i really like to try this recipe... i l<3ve limon cream!

  10. i really like to try this recipe... i l<3ve limon cream!

  11. i really like to try this recipe... i l<3ve limon cream!

  12. Very unique dessert and
    amazing photos!

  13. Love tarts and tartlets! Yours look so beautiful. The lemon cream and passionfruit tapioca is outstanding. Im craving this right now.

  14. they look & sound amazing - lemon & passionfruit are two of my favourites

  15. Where do you get passionfruit puree???

  16. Um tapioca, passionfruit and mascarpone whipped cream? Heaven.
    I need to stop drooling and drag myself into the kitchen pronto!

  17. Wow, I´m speechless! Your photos are so beautiful ...and the Tarts looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Beautiful desserts! passion fruit has got to be my fav fruit ever, i grew up on it. def gonna give this a try. thanks :)
    ---------------Sweet Sarah french macarons and moresweetsarahshop.etsy.com

  19. I've never cooked with passionfruit - I don't even know if I've ever tasted it, to tell you the truth! It's now on my to-do list. I'm thinking margaritas. Anyhoo, your tarts are absolutely gorgeous!

  20. I have never had passion fruit... or tapioca... lol but I would love to try a bite of this stunning dessert to wrap my head around it. It looks outstanding. 

  21. These could have been a unique alternative to a traditional chocolate dessert on Valentine's Day. Thank you for posting.


I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!