Rare fruits create their own occasion, the kind that warrants a splurge at Sur la Table following days of thought experiments, a whirlwind of mixing, rolling, and the attendant short lived joy of tart consumption. I’ve spent the past month in such delights but hardly had the time to commit such felicity to an audience… until I bit into my first kiwi berry. They are quite expensive – at three dollars for half a pint they rival the costliest of berries but are worth each penny. That’s why I sent my boyfriend back to the store to fetch me three containers of the fruit the very next day. Did I mention they look like miniature kiwis and taste like flowers?
Kiwi berries are actually not the same specie as the larger, more familiar fruit, but their flavor dwarfs their larger cousin. The berries typically grow in siberian climates but have a tropical overtone. It’s stunningly floral.
I’m so in love with these, I’ve considered buying my own vines. You need both a male and female vine to fruit and they cost about $20 each…
Thinking about the shape of things keeps my mind occupied. This habit is especially true when I am in the kitchen.
That’s why I purchased a rectangular tart pan. The architect in me likes its geometry, an elongated rectangle, like a prairie house sitting in the desert or nestling in the slopes of gentle, grassy hills. I have a thing for long and thin.
While I am not oft to think of my food forms as architectural elements, I do like to vary them because it makes serving the same types of dish more amusing: round tarts are usually cut into wedges and rectangular ones into smaller rectangles. Perhaps the difference is negigible, but pastries live such short lives.
Pate Sablee recipe adapted from Tartine
This is a more traditional crust for sweet tarts and are crumbly in texture, unlike the usual flakey crust.
1c. unsalted butter @room temperature
1/4 ts salt
2 large eggs @room temperature
3 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 Rosewater Custard Recipe (use only 1 ts. of rosewater!!!)
1 c. of kiwi berries, halved
+ In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, and salt until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until smooth. Add flour and mix until well-combined, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed.
+ Divide dough into four equal portions. Flatten each dough ball into a disk and allow to chill for at least two hours.
+ Remove one dough portion from the fridge, and on a floured surface, roll dough out into 1/8” thickness. Transfer the dough into the tart pan and press the dough onto the sides. Cut the excess dough with your rolling pin. Cover your tart pan and refrigerate until firm.
+ Preheat the oven to 325 °F.
+ Line your tart dough with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights – such as beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the shell(s) from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing pie weights.
+ Fill each shell about halfway with custard and bake until set. I place my kiwis into the custard about halfway through to get them to sit fully in the custard but in hindsight this was unnecessary – doing so made the kiwis soft.
+ Remove the custard from the oven and allow to cool. Top the tart with kiwi berries or other fruits.
+ If you want a glaze on raw kiwis, heat a few table spoons of apricot jam and brush it onto the berries.