This “summer” brought us a guest and boy o’ boy did she appear in all pomp and circumstance fanfare! Donned in a fiery sanguine number, all so thinly cladded, only to reveal her succulent, creamy bosoms in brilliant sunset yellow, alluringly seductive and inviting for one to sink his teeth in, to draw upon all her nectary essence and suck the very bone marrow out of her life. No, I’m not about to embark in some B-grade erotic horror flick, but indeed the taste and textures of Ai Wen Mangoes AWM 爱文芒果 from Taiwan can most certainly be described as being orgasmic, probably something which many of you out there have not experienced for a rather long time. *chuckles*
My virginal concurrence with AWM dated many years back at a dessert parlour in Taipei which boasted to serve 挫冰 shaved ice topped with chunky morsels of it. And it was not just any AWM, but the crème à la crème ones grown in 玉井 Yujing area from 台南县 Tainan County. One mouthful and I was sold!!! Unlike the other asian mango varieties we had back then, the textures of AWM was something which I’d not encountered. The flesh was creamy yet oddly, was also imbued with a bouncy gelatinous like texture, so you can imagine the
foreplay interplay with the tastebuds! The experience was so surreal as its almost like eating fruit jelly. It was also on the dot on the Brix scale with perfectly controlled sugar levels. And the best part was, unlike many other versions available elsewhere, no condensed/evaporated milk or mango puree/concentrate/syrup was added. All naturel! Subsequent trips to Taiwan were all in the “wrong” time of the year and did not coincidence with AWM season. So you can imagine the excitement when I chanced upon them again recently and quickly snapped up half a dozen first. A few were eaten the first moments after reaching home with them. A reprise of fond memories. But what better way to glorify their magnificence than to encapsulate all of its essence in one of the creations by the great Japanese patissier 杉野英実 Hidemi Sugino, Tartlette aux Mangue et Fruits de la Passion, which he aptly named Tahiti タヒチ.
Unlike some other of his entremet or petit gateau creations, Sugino’s tart recipes are usually simple to follow and more approachable. Tahiti is made up of four components in five layers, from the bottom upwards:
1) Pâte Sucrée
2) Crème aux fruits de la passion
3) Sauce aux fruits de la passion
4) Crème aux fruits de la passion
5) Nappage neutre
It can be done in a day but best to plan it over 2 as many components would do better given time to freeze and chill in the fridge. His original recipes makes 20. So here’s the recipe downscaled for four tartlettes 7cm ⌀ from his book “Le Goût Authentique Retrouvé ”
Follow the order of the mise en place and everything should flow and fall in place like clockwork.
first prepare the Pâte Sucrée, sweet pastry crust
|Butter at ambient temperature||25g|
Sift and combine ground almond with pastry flour
Cream butter until pale and creamy
Add icing sugar and mix thoroughly
Pour in beaten egg in 2 batches, making sure one is completely mixed before adding the next
Pour in flour and ground almond mixture
Press in butter-egg mixture with as little stirring as possible until just incorporated. preventing overworking of the dough.
Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, preferably overnight.
Mix frozen passion fruit pulp with lemon juice and warm over bain marie. This helps to speed up defrosting if pulp is direct from freezer.
Add in caster sugar and beaten eggs and whisk quickly. Eggs can be added over sieve to remove any bits of coagulated albumen.
When the mixture has thicken and become creamy add in butter and continue to whisk until completely incorporated
Sift the mixture if necessary to removed cooked lumps of egg
Pour into clean bowl and wrap with cling film and refrigerate overnight
|gelatine sheet||1g (half a sheet)|
|passionfruit liqueur (see below)||2.5g|
Place mould (square mousse ring) and baking tray in fridge to chill
Over a bain marie, reconstitute and melt gelatine in liqueur
In a separate saucepan, heat passion fruit with lemon juice until above 175F/80C
Pour heated passionfruit pulp mixture over gelatine liqueur mixture and incorporate thoroughly.
Pour carefully over chilled mould and freeze overnight
|netural glaze||in moderation|
|fresh mint leaves||in moderation|
Roll sweet almond pastry dough over lightly floured surface and roll until 2-3 mm thickness
Dock the dough pastry
Cut into discs and press into tart rings (preferably chilled as well) and quickly work around the edges to shape the dough.
Return to the refrigerator to chill for at least half an hour
Bake blind at 170OC for 15 mins
Remove passionfruit sauce from freezer and cut into discs using a cookie cutter. Return discs back into freezer.
Peel mango and cut diagonally into slices 2-3 mm thick. Cut into 7 cm circular disc using tart ring as a “mould”
Using an offset spatula, apply a thin layer of passionfruit cream over the base.
Place a disc of frozen passionfruit sauce over the passionfruit cream
Spread more passionfruit cream over the top until flush with tart shell surface
Lay sliced mangoes carefully over the surface
Apply neutral glaze
Finely julienne or snip mint leaves into very thin strips and arrange them over the glazed surface.
Sweet dough pastry has a very high butter content and thus quite a challenge for us in tropical Singapore. It’ll be ideal to have an air-conditioned kitchen at around 24C but very few of us are that privileged. Instead, I chilled whatever I can, i.e. tart rings, baking tray, silicone sheet, cutter moulds etc. Only short of dumping my rolling pin into the freezer!
Many fruits like papaya, pineapple, guava, kiwi, mango and passionfruit etc. contain enzymes that inhibits gelatine from setting. It breaks down the gelatine causing it to lose its agglutinating abilities So be sure to bring them up to a certain temperature to ensure complete denaturation of those enzymes before adding the reconstituted gelatine sheet.
Two different cookie cutters were used for the passionfruit sauce discs, one which bearly fitted the girth of the tart shells while the other has more allowance. I prefer the latter as it was harder to place the larger disc into the shell, much like fitting a wheel over an axle. The latter embedded with ease and looked like a creamy yellow sunny side up!
Limoncello was used in place of a passionfruit liqeur as I don’t have the latter. In retrospect, I felt that the liqueur may be omitted entirely as the passionfruit pulp already scores highly in aromatics. Fresh passionfruit pulp was used instead of frozen ones mentioned in the original recipe. The passionfruit cream is seriously wicked! Reminds me of a similar concoction in Laduree’s Tartlette aux Fruit de la Passion et Framboise. I’m sure the flavours are equally astounding in that one. But the only way to tell is by making it! What more the combination of mango and passionfruit is perfect, sweetness of the mango wonderfully balanced by the tart flavours of the passionfruit, keeping each other in check from overpowering the other. And the intermingling of these two highly perfumed tropical fruits is literally breathtaking. I wonder if Mr Sugino had been to the French Polynesian Island which lies in the middle of the vast Pacific and created this confection as a memoir of the sights and sounds he experienced there. Clear blue skies, against the white sandy beaches and turqoise green water, so makes me wanna go there now!!!
The tartlettes are best consumed on the same day they are assembled, preferably within a couple of hours. The sweet pastry tart shells were not made impervious by an egg white wash so it does get soggy after absorbing too much moisture from the passionfruit cream. So this is best enjoyed in situ to capitalise the contrasting textures from the creamy filling against the crunchy crust.
We were lucky to be able to enjoy the beautiful textures and flavours of Ai Wen Mangoes but according to a friend in the trade, this would not have been possible otherwise. Ai Wen Mangoes are produced in southern Taiwan in the Pingtung, Kaohsiung and Tainan areas with those from Yujing in Tainan being the most highly prized. In previous years, they were almost exclusively exported to Japan, where they are highly sought after and the Japanese people who would pay top dollar for them. According to him, the Japanese economy was badly hit by the Fukushima nuclear incident earlier this year causing demands for many luxury foreign imports to drop drastically as the whole country tightened its purse-strings to brace the challenges from the catastrophe. And I quote him here “我们走了狗屎运才吃得到台湾爱文芒果。往年你想都别想！” When I browsed the recipe books from the “Super Chef series” which introduce inspiring Japanese patissiers from all over the country, many familiar locations popped up, i.e. 茨城 Ibaraki, 仙台Sendai etc. all within the heavily affected areas. Wonder how many of them still stand against the precarious predicament the incident brought. Treasure what we have as beautiful and wonderful things do not necessarily last. 惜福, 惜福, 惜福.
I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #10: Easy as Pie (August 2011), hosted by Janine of Not the Kitchen Sink!”