Passionfruits are my favourite fruits. I’d describe them as a mix between mango and lemon – creamy but also slightly citrussy. I’d say they’re probably the best thing to come out of over exportation of tropical fruits if I’m honest.
My dad is a pretty simple guy. He likes normal, dad-ish stuff: football, roast dinners, golf, stripy shirts. And lemon meringue. He LOVES lemon meringue. So, as it was his birthday on Saturday, I decided to make him something a little similar. You see, my dad knows what he likes. He’s not going to waste a whole desert picking something he might not like when there’s something he knows he’ll love. But, if he ever takes the risk, it always pays off.
So, I decided to combine one of my favourites with one of his favourites. And it definitely paid off! In fact, we all preferred this to lemon. You just can’t go wrong with a classic like a meringue pie, but you can modernise it. You don’t have to use passionfruit curd – try blueberry curd (from this lemon // poppyseed // blueberry cake) or raspberry and blackberry (from this raspberry // blackberry // white chocolate tart).
There’s something about individual deserts that make me smile. They’re so cute and little, plus, you can eat it however you like. I served ours on the slate mat I’d been using to photograph on, which turned out to be a pretty good idea. It felt like we’d all been given one big pie which we were communally digging in to, but we each got our own little portion, saving us from spoon wars.
Browning them at the table also turned out to be an excellent idea, as blow torches are pretty fun. Everyone should have one.
I used half of the pastry recipe from my yellow plum // almond // apricot tarts because it’s super easy and delicious, but you can use ready made sweet shortcrust pastry if you like.
To make 4 tartlets, you’ll need:
4x small tart tins
For the pastry:
190g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
115g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 egg, whisked
2 tbsp ice-cold water
For the passionfruit curd:
80 ml passion fruit puree or juice (5-6 fruits)
3 egg yolk
60 g caster sugar
40 g unslated butter, cubed
For the meringue:
2 egg whites
75g caster sugar
Start by making your pastry. Mix the sugar and flour into a bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub into the mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
In a separate bowl, mix together the water and egg, and pour into the flour mixture. Using your hands, bring the ingredients together to form a dough. Tip out onto a floured work surface and knead slightly, then wrap in cling film and place into the fridge to rest for 30 mintutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Once chilled, roll out on a floured surface to about a 3mm thickness. Line your tins with the pastry, trim and place some scrunched up baking parchment inside, then pour in baking beans. Place on a baking sheet and blind bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Remember, they will not be cooked again after this, so ensure the pastry is cooked through.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before removing from the tins and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the curd, pass the passionfruit pulp and seeds through a sieve to get rid of the seeds (feel free to leave the seeds of one in the puree if you’d like the extra crunch). Place into a glass bowl, along with the egg yolk and caster sugar. Place the bowl over a pan of boiling water, ensuring the bottom of the glass does not touch the water, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the butter in cubes gradually and keep stirring until the curd has thickened and reached a custard like consistency (this can take up to ten minutes), then strain through a sieve and leave to cool.
Once cooled, pour the curd into the cooled shells and place in the fridge to cool until set (this can take up to 3 hours).
To make the meringue, line a baking tray with baking parchment and pour in the sugar. Place into a hot oven. Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form (about 3 mins). Check on your sugar, and once the edges start to slightly caramelise, add to the egg whites, one tablespoon at a time, making sure there are no lumps. The meringues will start to become glossy and once stiff peas form, you’re done.
You can either use a piping bag to add the meringue here, or just spoon it on for the more rustic look, as I did. Use the back of a spoon to add some extra peaks and swirls.
Lastly, use a blow torch to brown them, or place them in a hot oven at 200 degrees C for a few minutes to cook them, but keep an eye on them as they burn very easily.
Eat them asap as the meringue doesn’t keep very well.