It’s been a tough, tough week. So tough I had to put off finishing this post for a few days. But while it’s important an necessary to grieve for dreams lost, it’s also necessary to pick yourself up and move forward. Not to wallow in despair but to pull ourselves and those around us up, encourage each other. We’re stronger together.
What better way to get myself going than to remember a lovely act of generosity from a good friend. A few weeks ago I was gifted some passion fruits from Brenda of Bites and Bourbon. They were harvested from her parents’ own garden and she very kindly shared some of her bounty with me. If you look at the number of passion fruit things I’ve made with this fruit on this site you can probably guess how excited I was to get some fresh passion fruits – Thanks so much Brenda!
I already have some very favorite things I like to make with passion fruit, but I decided to branch out a little bit and try some new recipes. One of the simplest and most versatile things to make with passion fruit is a simple syrup. This syrup can be used to flavor cocktails, serve as a sweet sauce to a slice of cake, or, in the case of this chocolate and coconut whipped cream tart, act as the crowning touch that ties all the elements together.
Brenda explained to me that unripe passion fruit have smooth-skinned exteriors. When they ripen, the skins develop wrinkles and dimples. That’s when you should slice them open for their pulp. However, it’s a careful waiting game; if you wait too long and let them get too bumpy, they’ve overripened and passed their peak.
I sliced my passion fruits in half and used a spoon to scoop out the pulp. If you don’t want the seeds (they’re relatively flavorless but add crunch and dramatic contrast to the golden pulp), you can press the pulp through a strainer. The nice thing about the passion fruit pulp is that you can freeze it and then have it on hand whenever the baking urge strikes – my dream come true to have a bunch of passion fruit puree stocked away, like sunshine stored for a rainy day.
Passion fruit and milk chocolate is a surprisingly natural combination; although mixing fruit and chocolate can be tricky, the sweeter, milder taste of milk chocolate provides a good foil to the bright tanginess of passion fruit, where a more bitter dark chocolate might compete too much. I’m actually a huge fan of the dark milk chocolate, which combines the deep, cocoa flavor I love in bittersweet dark chocolate with the smoothness and creaminess of milk chocolate. Michael Recchiuti makes my current favorite bar at the moment; if you can’t find any (and it is a bit pricey for regular baking endeavors), you can use a mix of milk and bittersweet chocolates – the ganache in my tart uses a mix of Guittard Bittersweet 74% and Milk Chocolate 38%.
The add another tropical note, the cream is whipped up with a bit of coconut extract. If you really love coconut, you can also sprinkle some shredded coconut on top. Whip up the cream and spread it over the tart right before you’re ready to serve it. Then spoon some of the passion fruit puree over it, like a grace note of happy, and enjoy.
I hope you all find some measure of peace and happiness with your loved ones this weekend. Let’s move forward, together.
Other sweet things to make with passion fruits:
- 8 Tbsp (4 oz) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (5 ounces) (140 g) all purpose flour
- ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 oz (86 g) milk chocolate (33-41%), finely chopped
- 1 oz (30 g) bittersweet chocolate (67-72%, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup (80 g) whipping cream
- ½ cup (125 mL) passion fruit pulp (about 4 passion fruits)or puree
- ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
- ¾ cup (173 g) whipping cream
- ¼ teaspoon coconut extract
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a saucepan or microwave.
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Pour in the melted butter and vanilla extract. Use a fork to combine ingredients until it forms a solid dough.
- Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch round or 14" x 4½" rectangular tart pan with removable bottom. A dough tamper can help you press out the dough evenly. You may not need all the dough for the rectangular tart pan - make sure to spread the dough out and up evenly to prevent overly thick bottom or sides.
- Bake the tart shell for about 25-30 minutes until the shell is golden brown. Let cool on wire rack while you make the ganache.
- Combine both chocolates in a medium bowl. Place cream in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Pour cream over the chocolate and let sit for a minute. Stir to combine until chocolate is fully melted and mixture is smooth.
- Pour mixture into tart shell. Refrigerate for about an hour until set.
- When you are ready to serve, take the tart out about 15-20 minutes in advance to let it warm up slightly.
- Strain out any passion fruit seeds if you want.
- Place the passionfruit and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let simmer for about 5 minutes until thick and syrupy.
- Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Make the whipped cream when you are ready to serve the tart. Place cream and coconut extract into clean bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk until soft peaks just start to form.
- Add the confectioners' sugar and whisk just to combine and slightly firm up - do not over whip.
- Spoon whipped cream over the tart. Drizzle passionfruit syrup over the whipped cream. Serve immediately.