Saturday, 30 May 2009

Coconut Macaroon Tart with Tart Fruit

Yes, yes, I know. Rhubarb isn't exactly a fruit. However, it works well in this tart; coconut and rhubarb is an under-used combination but they go well together. A little lemon zest is nice with the rhubarb too.

I've also made this with my own canned cherries, and I don't see why it wouldn't work very well with a wide assortment of fruits. I'm planning to make it again when fresh cherries are in season. In general, I think it will do best with brightly coloured fruits that have some tartness to them. I'm not really seeing it with peaches, apples or pears for instance. Raspberries, though; they would be good. I'm not sure how blueberries would work; they might be best with a generous quantity of lime zest in the macaroon layer.

I'm sending this one over to Fresh Produce of the Month, at an Italian in the US. The fresh produce of the month is indeed rhubarb, as seems right to me. Have I said I have 15 plants? I'm still bemused about it, but apparently everyone who plants rhubarb sooner or later has some ridiculous number of plants. They're like irises which have to be divided every 4 or 5 years. The guy across the street has at least a dozen too. The thing is, when you divide them; hey! Perfectly good rhubarb roots. You can't just throw them away, and I'm not sure composting is possible. You'd just end up with rhubarb on steroids taking over the compost heap, because they lo-oo-ove compost. (Kind of like the best potatoes I ever grew were from some squishy ones that got thrown on the compost. Every week we'd go dump more stuff on them, and every week they would nom-nom-nom it up.) Anyway, check it out.

12 to 18 servings
1 hour - 35 minutes prep time

Coconut Macaroon Tart with Rhubarb
Make the Crust:
1 1/2 cups soft unbleached flour
1/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter
3 or 4 tablespoons cold water

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Mix the sugar and salt into the flour. Cut the butter in until it is the size of small peas. Mix in the water until the mixture shows signs of sticking together and forming a mass of dough. At this point I find it easiest to finish mixing it by hand. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan.

Bake the crust for 15 minutes, until just browning at the edges. Leave the oven on at 350°F, and let the crust cool while you prepare the filling.

Make the Macaroon Filling:
2 cups dessicated unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup tapioca flour (or wheat flour is okay)

3 extra-large egg whites
2/3 to 3/4 cup of sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
OR 1 tablespoon finely minced preserved ginger (optional)
OR 1 teaspoon flavouring extract such as vanilla or almond (optional)

Put the coconut and tapioca flour in a small bowl, mix well, and set aside. If you want to add ginger to the macaroon, it should be mixed into the coconut as well.

Put the egg whites, sugar and salt in a bowl over a pot of simmering water (double boiler.) You can add the lemon zest or extract here as well, if you are using one of them. The amount of sugar should be chosen to accord with your fruit; more sugar for more sour fruits.

Heat gently over low heat, beating constantly with an electric mixer, until the mixture is greatly expanded, smooth and shiny. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes or so.

Gently fold in the coconut mixture.

Assemble the Tart & Bake:
4 cups prepared fruits, such as:
- rhubarb
- cherries, sliced plums or apricots
- sliced (halved) strawberries or raspberries

Spread the macaroon batter evenly over the prepared, slightly cooled crust. Top it with the prepared fruit, which should cover about 3/4 or more of the surface, but allow the macaroon to appear here and there.

Bake the tart for about 25 minutes until the fruit is soft and the macaroon filling is golden brown. Let cool before cutting and serving.


chemcookit said...

Wow, this does sound really good, and a great combination idea! I would love to try to make it. Thanks a lot for participating with two recipes to this month's event!!!!

Simona said...

How very nice! I like the macaroon layer. You certainly have a lot of rhubarb in your garden. I planted it once, a couple of years ago, but it didn't do well, most probably because I put it in the wrong spot. I should try again, after reading about your success.