On a recent trip to London I met my friends Nadia, Kristina and Catherine for a bottle of wine in the Members Room of the Tate Modern, followed by a fascinating Louise Bourgeois retrospective. Afterwards, we went to a funky restaurant, benugo bar and kitchen, tucked away inside the British Film Institute. Our delicious meal ended with a luscious passionfruit tart. Since we were reconvening for a dinner party the following night, I decided to attempt to reverse engineer the tart.
I must admit I had never seen a passionfruit before (that's it in the photo above). There are two main types, the bright yellow variety has a smooth rind and is the size of a grapefruit and the purple variety (which I used) has a tough wrinkly skin and is the size of an egg. Both are native to Latin America, and are now widely grown in Australia, South and East Africa, the Caribbean, Indonesia, Hawaii and other tropical places.
To my surprise, the name does not come from the passion inspired by this heavenly fruit, but because the structure of the passionflower (below) reminded early Spanish explorers of symbols associated with the Passion of Christ. Specifically, the radial filaments (which vary in number from flower to flower) represent the Crown of Thorns, the ten petals and sepals represent the apostles, the top three stigmata represent the three nails and the lower anthers represent the five wounds.
The tart was tasty but not nearly as flavorful as the original. I suspect the restaurant uses fresh passionfruit pulp or passionatefruit concentrate. As you can see from the photos, I got involved in a great conversation and left the tart in the oven just a little too long. Luckily, it was rescued with only first degree burns, which made it look like a cheese pizza. Ultimately, the tart was well enjoyed since my dinner companions were too polite (and possibly too inebriated) to be critical.
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
10 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 tins sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces each)
6 egg yolks
1 cup passionfruit juice (use fresh passionfruit pulp or passionfruit concentrate if available)
4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1. Mix flour, salt and sugar.
2. Cut butter into small pieces and blend with flour until it resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolks and water and roll into a ball. Flatten, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400 F.
4. Roll dough until it is 12 inches in diameter and lay in a 10-inch tart pan.
5. Bake blind for 15 minutes and cool.
6. Mix condensed milk and egg yolks. Add passionfruit juice and mix well.
7. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until set. Cool for 1 hour or overnight.
8. Make passionfruit coulis by mixing passionfruit pulp and seeds and confectioner’s sugar.
9. Serve tart with coulis and whipped cream or crème fraiche.