Passionfruit Tarts with Soft Meringue

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    20

Appears in

Bourke Street Bakery

By Paul Allam and David McGuinness

Published 2009

  • About

This tart is filled with a bavarois mix, which is really just a mousse without the egg whites. The soft meringue is an Italian meringue where a hot sugar syrup is whisked into the egg whites and effectively cooks the whites during the mixing stage. You will need a sugar thermometer to measure the temperature of the sugar syrup. After mixing, no further cooking is required, however the meringues are usually browned quickly with a blowtorch before serving.

Ingredients

Italian Meringue

  • 200 g (7 oz) caster (superfine) sugar, plus 20 g (¾ oz) extra
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) water
  • 4 egg whites

Passionfruit Bavarois

  • 300 ml (10½ fl oz) milk
  • 3 x 2 g (1/16 oz) gelatine leaves or 2 teaspoons gelatine powder
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 175 g (6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) passionfruit juice (see note)
  • 350 ml (12 fl oz) pouring (whipping) cream (35% fat)

Method

Follow the instructions to roll out the pastry and use it to line twenty 8 cm ( inch) round fluted loose-based tart tins. Set the pastry cases in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.

Blind bake the tart cases in a preheated 200°C (400°F/Gas 6) oven for 20–25 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

To make the pasionfruit bavarois, put the milk in a saucepan over high heat and bring to just boiling. Soften the gelatine leaves in 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) cold water. If using powdered gelatine, mix in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the milk. Put the remaining milk in a saucepan over high heat and bring to just boiling.

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and passionfruit together in a stainless steel bowl. Sit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Add the hot milk and continue whisking for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is quite thick. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves and whisk into the passionfruit mixture. If using powdered gelatine, whisk the gelatine mixture into the passionfruit mixture. Pour through a fine sieve and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until it is just starting to set. Any leftover filling can be poured into ramekins or similar serving dishes and eaten as a dessert.

Whip the cream to soft peaks, then fold through the passionfruit mixture, taking care not to overwhip the cream or it will not fold through easily. Pour the bavarois carefully into the pastry shells, filling them to the brim. Place in the refrigerator for 2–3 hours, or until set.

While the passionfruit bavarois is setting, make the Italian meringue. You will need a sugar thermometer to successfully make this recipe. Have a glass of cold water and a pastry brush ready to brush down the sides of the saucepan to stop sugar crystals forming.

Put the sugar and water in a small heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, stirring until the mixture boils, then stop stirring, as this will cause sugar crystals to form. Brush the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush every couple of minutes or when you see crystals starting to form. Allow the mixture to keep boiling until it reaches 118°C (244°F) on the thermometer, then remove from the heat immediately.

Put the egg whites in a very clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Mix on high speed for about 2 minutes, or until foamy, then add the extra sugar and whisk until soft peaks form. With the mixer still running on high, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the whites, adding small amounts at a time and making sure it is incorporated before adding more. Take care not to pour the syrup directly onto the beater to avoid spraying boiling syrup over yourself. Once all the syrup is added, turn the mixer to low speed and keep mixing for a further 10–15 minutes, or until the meringue is cool.

To assemble the tarts, use a piping (icing) bag to pipe the meringue onto the top of the bavarois, completely covering the top of the tart — then use a palette knife to create a less formal shape. Brown the meringue with a blowtorch or place it under a very hot grill (broiler) for 30–45 seconds, or until browned — make sure you watch it carefully as it will burn very quickly.