Passionfruit Tart with Italian Meringue

A little party never killed nobody.

It sounds like a line uttered by the fabulous Jordan Baker. But no, it is from the lips of Fergie. 
It's on the soundtrack, though, so lets roll with it. 

*** G A T S B Y ***

This is how we rang in 2014, with champagne, toy guns, glittering headpieces, bow ties, black satin and an opulent, silky, passionfruit meringue tart.

Isn't my date a cutie?

It wasn't a huge party, so I'm afraid Ms Baker may not have been impressed. It wasn't very private. But there was family and old friends, sassy frocks, and the kind of laughter you want to bottle and savour for the rest of the year.

I first read The Great Gatsby as an insolent Year 10 know-it-all. It was completely wasted on me, like most of high school. But even then I was seduced by the language of F. Scott Fitzgerald, by the beauty of his imagery and the ever poignant last line of the book.

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

Words perhaps even more fitting at the beginning of a new year than Fergie's.

But not as fun. Or maybe I'm wrong. What will you make of it?

Here's wishing you a cup full of promise this coming year. That our resolutions may stick, that our loved ones are safe and happy, and that we look for and find the beauty in our every day. But also, that we continue to dream.

Larissa x


Passionfruit Curd Tart
(Serves 12)
*It is best to make the passionfruit curd and the pastry shell the day before

250g plain flour
50g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
125g cold butter, cubed
1 egg, lightly beaten 
Dash of milk

Place flour and icing sugar in a food processor and blitz until combined.
Add cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Whisk the egg and milk together and add to the processor while the motor is running.
Pulse until the mixture just comes together to form a dough. 
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180C.
Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to form a rectangle, about 3mm thick, enough to cover the base and sides of a long rectangular loose bottomed fluted tart tin.
Place pastry in the tin, press into the edges, trim excess and place in the freezer for 5 minutes. This will help to prevent shrinkage when the tart bakes.
Bake for 15 mins or until the tart shell is golden.
Cool and store overnight in an airtight container.

Passionfruit Curd (makes enough for the tart and a jar extra to gift or just smear on toast):
8 egg yolks
180g caster sugar
Zest of one lemon
100ml passionfruit pulp
50ml lemon juice, passed through a sieve
200g cold butter, cubed

Whisk together the egg yolks and the caster sugar in a bowl until pale and thick.
Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and passionfruit pulp and whisk until smooth.
Transfer mixture to a saucepan. Add the butter and stir over a medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil or it may curdle. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly before pouring into a container and refrigerating until ready to use.

Italian Meringue:
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
170g caster sugar
1/4 cup water

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in clean, dry bowl of electric mixer with the whisk attachment fixed so they are ready to go.
Place sugar and water in a saucepan and stir over a medium high heat until the sugar dissolves (about 2mins). Push down any stray sugar crystals on the inside of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush.
Bring the mixture to the boil and stop stirring. Boil the syrup until it reaches 121C on a sugar thermometer (about 3 mins).
Turn on the electric mixer to maximum speed, whisking the egg whites until they reach a soft peak, then turn the mixer down to slow (level 4 on a Kitchenaid) and pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites in a steady stream. Scrape all the syrup in with a spatula.
Turn the mixer back up to almost full speed (level 8 on a Kitchenaid) and whisk for 10 minutes. The meringue should be thick and glossy. Use immediately.

To assemble:
Place pastry shell on a long serving plate or chopping board. Spoon in passionfruit curd, gently coaxing it into the corners with a spatula or palette knife. 
Next, make the meringue.
Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a plain 12mm nozzle and pipe single puffs or "kisses" in even lines on the top of the tart. 
Lastly, using a small kitchen blowtorch, gently brown the top of each puff.
The tart will be fine if kept in the fridge until ready to serve.


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