Subtropical Tarts – Mango, Maca, Coco & Lime

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Today might have been the last day that could scrape in for my extended, denial-ridden ‘it’s still summer’ phase here in Sydney. And at the markets: Mango and Lime! Really? It was meant to be; my terminal summery kitchen fling (until I skip hemispheres and cheat the system again)…

The subtropical connotation of the bright zesty flavors and the added pinch of Australian cuisine with macadamias, brought back romantic echoes of the humid summer night air of Byron Bay. The languid and caressing texture of mango curd pillowed by whipped coconut cream, and its toasty, nutty shell, hit all the right spots.

This recipe is for a baked mango curd but if you want something even fresher, you can omit the baking step from the process (just using baked shells with the fresh refrigerated curd). It is equally as delicious when, just with extra vivacious zest.

YOU WILL NEED (makes 4 serves):

For the crust:

  • 1 cup whole-meal or all purpose flour
  • 75 grams or 1/3 of a cup of butter, chilled & chopped
  • Ice water
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Good pinch of salt

For the curd:

  • Flesh of 2 mangos
  • Juice & zest from 2 limes (save about half the zest for garnish, and a drizzle of the juice too)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar or sweetener of your choice (I used brown, but it turned the color a bit off)
  • 40 grams butter, chilled and chopped
  • 2 egg yolks, 1 whole egg

For the rest:

  • A handful of macadamias roughly chopped
  • A sprinkling of coconut shreds
  • 1 can of coconut milk, refrigerated for at least 3 hours (just to avoid any international confusion, coconut milk is the one that is thick and creamy, but avoid any with added emulsifiers)

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Begin by preparing your crust. In a large mixing bowl, incorporate the flour, sugar and salt. Prepare your ice water, and dip your hands in it for a moment to chill them before adding your butter to the mix. This will ensure that the butter doesn’t melt in the incorporation process, and eventuate in a good and flakey crust. Some people prefer to use a food processor for all of this, which very adequately keeps it cool, but I like to get my hand dirty. So. Add your chopped butter and begin to work the butter into the flour fairly briskly by sort of smushing and crumbling with your fingertips. Once it is a relatively consistent crumbly texture, add the ice water one tbsp at a time, and mixing together until your dough forms a ball that holds together (should only be about 2 tbsp). Break into 2 sections, and wrap in glad wrap, then refrigerate for about half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 180 C / 350 F.

Now for the tropi-curd! Place your mangoes in a food processor with the egg yolks, lime juice & zest and sugar. Blend until very smooth. If you have stringy mangoes and there are fibers throughout your mix you might choose to strain the mixture now. If not, unstrained works just fine. Bring a few cups of water to a low simmer in a saucepan, and place a large metal bowl on top of the saucepan. Pour your curd mixture into the bowl, and begin to whisk steadily. You will need to whisk the mixture pretty consistently for the next 10-15 minutes, so make sure you use an effortless flick of the wrist, and avoid tensing up all through your arms and into your neck : ) The mixture should start to thicken slightly, around the 10 minute mark maybe a little longer, at which point you can remove from the heat, add the chopped butter and whisk that through until it melts. Cover and refrigerate.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and roll out your dough on a floured surface according to the size of your tart dish, until it is about 2 mm thick. Butter your dish evenly, and carefully drape the dough into it, pressing it into shape. Make sure that around the top edge of the crust is slightly thicker than the rest, so it will hold shape when removing. Place shells in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

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At some point while the oven is on, place your macadamias and the coconut shreds (separately because they will cook at different rates) in the oven until they start to turn golden.

Once your tart shells are nice and chilly, pop them in the oven for about 6-8 minutes until they just barely start to look golden on the edges. Remove from the oven, pour the curd in and return to the oven for a further 8-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them – once they begin to rise in the centre, just leave them in for just a couple more minutes and then remove and let cool.

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For the coconut cream: this is one I have struggled to get right, but I think I finally go it. You need to make sure you have 100% pure coconut milk, no additives but a trusted thick n creamy brand. Then most importantly, it needs to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours. This will ensure that the cream separates from the clear liquid. Scrape the cream from the top, and place in a mixing bowl, and whisk until it thickens. Just like cream, simple as that!

You can opt to eat your tarts while they are still cozy and warm out of the oven, but I prefer to chill them in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Then the cream won’t melt all over them. If your are going for the ultra-fresh raw curd, just omit the 2nd baking step, and leave the plain shells in the oven a little longer initially.

Garnish with your coco-cream, macas, shredded coco, lime zest and just a dash of fresh lime.

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