Cherimoya Toots Its Own Tart

Chermoya Tart with Rasberries and LimeCherimoya Tart with Raspberries and Lime

If you live outside Southern California I may be throwing you a curve ball. I am not sure how popular this fruit is across the US. I am even less sure how well it is appreciated in other countries (beside its native Ecuador or Peru where it is known as “The Jewel of the Incas”).

But I do know that in Los Angeles it is revered! There are no less than 2 dozen streets bearing the name in So. California.

And there is good reason. The flesh is lusciously soft. It is sweet but tangy. One bite and you will absolutely long for more.

I have heard their flavor described as a mixture of mango, papaya, bananas and even coconut. To me it’s got the sweet tart acidity of a really good apple with a super creamy texture, not unlike custard. But truthfully it can’t really be compared to anything else.

cherimoya fruitMark Twain called the cherimoya “the most delicious fruit known to men.”  He was even more to the point when he called it “deliciousness itself.” Which in true Twainian fashion, seems to be the definitive end all descriptor.

But it’s an odd looking bugger!

It kinda looks like a big green pine cone.

Cherimoyas are in season right now through June. When you buy one look for skin that is uniformly green— without blemishes, cracks, or brown spots. They should not be soft at purchase because they bruise so easily. It’s better to let them ripen a few days undisturbed at room temperature. They will yield to gentle thumb pressure when ripe. Very much like an avocado.

Of course I can’t ever pick an easy fruit to love. I always end up picking things that come with disclaimers. The cherimoya has a big disclaimer. You cannot eat the skin. And I don’t mean that it tastes bad. I mean it can cause paralysis.

Mild and inconsequential paralysis but it can last up to five hours. Which would be five hours of pure torture if you were suddenly left immobile with a gorgeous half eaten cherimoya staring you in the eye!

The easiest way to eat the fruit is to cut it in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Spitting the large shiny black seeds across the room as you go. Them’s good spittin’ seeds!

But today I am going for a more sophisticated presentation. I am pairing it with lime and raspberries in a simple tart.

lime infused pastry doughThe shell is a prepared slab of Pepperidge Farm pastry dough. If you are talented in this area, I am sure homemade pastry dough would be much better. But Sup knows his limitations!

I rolled mine out in one direction to get the appropriate sized rectangle for my tart pan.  I sprinkled the dough with some lime zest before rolling so as to embed a slight hint of flavor into it.

After that I baked it until golden and lovely. I did not bother with weights. I only need the barest hint of a lip to make this tart look it’s very best.

I used a lime glaze on the shell once it was cool. Then I arranged sliced cherimoya over the tart shell and brushed them with more lime glaze and a good sprinkle of some more air dried lime zest.

I need to warn you. A ripe cherimoya is very difficult to slice in an attractive manner. You may be disappointed with the results. I find it best to quarter and peel the fruit, then slice (removing the seeds as you work). Go ahead and peel 2 big cherimoyas for this tart.

Which is a lot more than you’ll need.  But this way you can ‘cherry-moya pick’ the prettiest pieces. There won’t be any perfect slices, I promise you that. But you should begin to get the hang of it as you work, so as to get enough adequate looking slices.

cherimoya tart with lime zest and rasberriesI topped the tart with quite a few big beautiful raspberries. This is a wonderful combination with the lime and really goes a long way in dressing up the tart if your cherimoya slices are little ragged looking.

The amazing thing about this tart is you get the rich creamy sensation of pastry cream with out using any pastry cream at all. The cherimoyas luscious texture is responsible for this phenomenon. Which makes this (arguably ) a lighter version of classic French pastries!

But it’s not like leaving the pastry cream out is any kind compromise in this situation. The rich creamy notes of cherimoya are more than enough to carry load in this beautiful cherimoya tart.

SERIOUS FUN FOOD

Greg Henry

SippitySup

Cherimoya Tart

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6Published
Cherimoya Tart with Raspberries & Lime

Ingredients

  • 5 limes
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cherimoyas
  • 24 raspberries

Directions

1. Grate enough of the limes to get 1 ½ teaspoons zest. Spread ½ teaspoon of the zest onto a sheet of wax paper to dry for several hours. Reserve the remaining zest. Juice all the limes to get about ¼ cup juice, plus a bit more held seperately.

2. In a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar in ¼ cup water and ¼ cup lime juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, without stirring, until you get to a a syrupy consistency, about 15 mins (or at 230 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and let cool completely. Stir in ½ teaspoon the fresh undried lime zest. Set the lime glaze aside.

3. Butter the bottom and sides of an 11×8 tart pan with a removable bottom. Unroll puff pastry and sprinkle the reamain fresh, undried lime zest evenly over the surface and gently roll into the creases. You may need to roll all one direction to make the pastry dough into an appropraitely sized rectangle. Dape the pastry over the rolling pin and carefully lift onto and into the tart pan. Gently ease the dough into the tart pan and press it into place. Clean up and cut the edges of the dough even with the top of the tart pan, if you like or leave it rough for a more rustic appearance.

4. Add a tablespoon of water to the lightly beaten egg. Brush the bottom and exposed sides of the dough with the egg wash. Refrigerate the dough for 30 mins or more. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork or run a dough docker over the bottom of the tart pan. No weights are necessary.

5. Bake 25-30 mins in a 350 degree oven until golden brown. Check it periodically and gently press the bottom down if it puffs too much. Do not break the pastry. Remove from oven and let cool to warm. When it is cool enough to handle, gently loosen the sides of the shell and move the shell to a platter. Brush the shell with some of the lime glaze. You may need to gently re-heat it to get it to a brushable consistency.

6. Cut the cherimoyas into quarters. Peel each quarter seperately and cut into ¼ inch slices. Remove the seeds as you work. Brush the slices with the left over bit of extra lime juice to keep them from discoloring.

7. Arrange the cherimoya slices on top of the puffed pastry shell in an attractive pattern. Brush them generously with the lime glaze. Sprinkle with the well dried lime peel and garnish with raspberries. Serve within 24 hours.