Friday, June 22, 2007


Feijoa Meringue Tarts

I know it seems like I have an incorrigible sweet tooth at the moment, but the truth of the matter is that I have just had one roast after another for dinner, and other than my amateur lamb inquiries, I am not going to bore you on what makes a good roast. There are quite a few perspectives on roasting, say, a perfect chicken: high temperature for the first 20 minutes, then lower for 12-15 minutes per 500g/1 lb; breast-side down until the last 20 minutes; breast up at all times and baste the bird every 20 minutes; brine for 24 hours first, then roast on the highest heat for a short period of time...I have tried them all, found what works for me, and have nothing further to add to the discourse on this most erudite of home economics subjects.

I can, however, suggest what to do if you have 350g of feijoa curd that you want to use because you cannot face starting the day with yet more toast slathered with this divinely tropical curd (life is so hard). My good friend Freya at Writing at the Kitchen Table suggested that I make an alternative to lemon meringue pie, and while this is indeed a grand idea, I felt the need today to make something for afternoon tea (what's new, eh?).

Feijoa Meringue Tarts

For the sweet shortcrust pastry (ALL ingredients should be fridge-cold to start):
225g/8oz flour
113g/4oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes
50g/2oz sugar (caster or icing)
2-3 tablespoons milk (or water)

350g feijoa curd, or thereabouts (recipe)

For the meringue:
3 egg whites
110g/4oz cup sugar

To make the pastry:
1) Sift the flour with a pinch of salt.
2) Rub the butter into the flour and salt with your finger tips.
3) Once your have sand-like granules, mix in the sugar.
4) Gently work one tablespoon of milk into the crumbs. Add another tablespoon if not entirely cohering. You should only need two tablespoons of liquid, but, if the stars aren't aligned and the kitchen is too hot, add one more tablespoon.
5) Form into a ball and wrap in clingfilm.
6) Put in the fridge to relax for at least 30 minutes.
7) Allow the dough to come to room temperature before rolling it out.
8) Lightly flour your surface, rolling pin and hands.
9) Roll out your dough to either fit up to a 25cm/10" tart pan (for a proper and big tart) or to a size large enough to cut rounds that fit into a prepared (that is to say, greased and floured) 12-muffin tray, as I did. Leftovers from trimming the holders are to be brought together and rolled out again, so that each of the 12 holders is lined with pastry dough.
10) Put the muffin tray in the fridge while you prepare the meringue.

To make the meringue:
1) Whisk whites until stiff.
2) Add 1/3 of the sugar and whisk until stiff again.
3) Fold in another 1/3 of the sugar.
4) Reserve 1/3 of sugar for the final assembly of the meringue tarts.

To assemble:
1) Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F.
2) Spoon feijoa curd into each muffin holder. Only put in enough to fill up half of each holder because the pastry shrinks significantly as it bakes.
3) Plop 2-3 tablespoons of meringue on top of the feijoa curd.
4) With the last remaining 1/3 of sugar from the meringue ingredients, sprinkle a little over the top of each cloud of meringue.
5) Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until the pastry is flaky and golden and the meringue topping is gorgeously bronze.

The irony of the intention behind making these tarts is that the resultant product compels me to make more feijoa curd. Being over one week old, the banana-like aroma of the curd has disappeared, making way for a mellow pineapple scent. Encased in buttery, flaky goodness, these one-per-person delights are perfect with a strong and slightly bitter espresso.

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Such restraint, Shaun. The tarts have made the one-week mark? My ferocious sweet tooth wouldn't allow these temptations to lie around too long; hence, the veggie posts of late. For the time being, I will have to live vicariously through these creamy, yet airy, pastry.
Oh my, I do hope you have some decent tea to drink with these delectables. I perused all your afternoon tea ideas and everything looks scrumptious! Thanks you for the photographs.
I need to find out what Feijoa is. I know I've read about it somewhere else recently. They look tasty and cute too being individual size. My favourite - as you get more pastry.
They are just the cutest! :) Great use for a tropical curd.
I'm with Susan here, they lasted an entire week?! Good for you!

I've never had Feijoa, have to investigate and try it.
Susan, lovie - Sorry, I should have been clearer. I meant that the feijoa curd itself had lasted just over one week. I thought I should set the record straight lest you have ill-informed visions of me being the model of restraint. These didn't last very long. Family and guests alike gobbled these down quickly. I'm in love with shortcrust pastry at the moment because it is so cold here that the butter doesn't melt, which is something I was constantly struggling with in LA even though I started with really cold ingredients (even the flour!).

Tea Party Girl - Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed reading about my afternoon tea delights. As these little tarts are muffin-size, they are perfect for a tea party. Additionally, the tropical nose of the feijoa is perfect with either smoky lapsang souchong or the bergamot hit of Earl Grey.

Amanda - Feijoa just seems hard to get in the US, even though it is commercially grown in California and Florida. I don't know if they just sell it back to South American countries or use as components in mixed fruit juices. I have no idea...It is my favorite fruit (along with passionfruit).

Kelly-Jane - Yes, this worked out really well. It was a good way to pull components of things I have done before together and just wing it. Feijoa season is now sadly over. It was good while it lasted.

Cynthia - I wish these tasty little tarts did last week, but alas they were gone by the next day. The feijoa curd had lasted a week before I turned it into pastry cases for the tarts. I wish I still had some...
I remember playing with feijoas! They're relatively new here in the U.S. and only made their first real appearence about a year ago. I've always wondered what to do with them.

Thanks for giving me some inspiration!!!
Garrett - YOU have heard of them in California. Now that makes you and Christina (above). But I don't know you two in real life, but if I did, I suppose you could have informed me of how to acquire these delicious fruit during the time I lived in CA. Anyway, at least you have been inspired and, if all else fails, there is always feijoa crumble, which goes down a treat in New Zealand.

I'm glad you could stop by. I enjoy reading your blog.
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