Just want to see the tart & curd recipes? Click here to skip down to the recipe for these matcha tarts with passion fruit curd.
There was a time, at the very beginning of this blog, where I sort of threw things together. Kinda like my early days as a chemist. I wrote out my recipes (reactions) after the fact, from memory, guesses, or the scraps of scribbles I took while working. It was a mess, disorganized, incredibly stressful and, let’s be honest: it was hardly reliable. Part of the process is learning how NOT to work. I quickly learned as a blogger and a recipe developer that I couldn’t just throw things together without a plan or a written out recipe, on the fly. And worse, relying on my brain to remember the entire process and every amount and ingredient I used was downright stupid. I literally cringe at the thought of how I used to work, just like my early years of graduate school, I’m pretty sure you could literally throw out that first notebook of scribbles and disorderliness. Nothing good came of my first year as a chemist. Nothing. It was a notebook full of failure after failure. Documented in a way that was hardly logical and impossible to follow, even for me. But every minute of that year and every page of that notebook was essential to shaping me as an individual and as a professional. Those first years of chemistry and of baking made me the recipe developer I am today. You have to get through all the yucky, messy bits to get to the good stuff. I had to learn so many lessons. I had to make mistakes. I had to try.
There’s something deeply satisfying about the process of developing a new recipe. When I’m prepping for a new recipe, I sit at my dining-room-table-turned-desk with my kitchen notebook open to a fresh page. I have a calculator ( a newer version of the late Sharp calculator I used through 11 years of university and about 5 more years of life), a pen, and lots of scrap paper. I do a lot of math, math that as adults, we don’t do very often, like calculating the area of a disk or a square. I work out ratios, convert amounts from one unit to another. I think, I scribble, I Google. There’s a lot of tea and so much debating throughout the process. I question everything. Is my logic sound? Will this ratio yield the texture I want? Will this recipe fit the pan I want to use? Do the weights convert to even cups or should I fiddle with the numbers a little more to make it easier for readers to measure out everything if they don’t have a kitchen scale? Do I really need to add baking soda to my recipe? I ask myself a lot of questions at this stage so that once I hit the kitchen, I have a solid base to work from. The recipe is already written out, I just follow the steps. When I start baking from my new recipe, I take notes as I go, scribble in the margins, make changes if my gut is telling me I need more or less of an ingredient.
My process is fairly scientific, I suppose. It’s the same process I used when I worked in a lab as an experienced chemist, when one of the goals of my work was reproducibility (and that is still my goal today!). I always wrote out the reaction in detail before I stepped foot in the lab. If I was feeling extra organized that day, I’d even write out each and every step of the procedure in great detail. Even if those steps were the same every day, I did my best to always write them out. The grams (or milligrams) of each reagent were all laid out neatly in a table, and I converted each and every weight to moles as well. I calculated ratios. The way I work as a recipe developer today is an extension of my lab days. The only difference is that the tables in my current notebooks involve ingredients, not reagents, and the final product is always edible. When I meet chemists who took over my projects after I left, they thank me for taking the time to keep a clean, organized notebook and for sharing all the details. They refer back to my notebooks all the time. They knew my handwriting before they’d met me. From the lab books I left behind. They trusted me for laying it all out for them to read. The good and the bad. And I hope my current baking notebooks and this blog will prove to be as meaningful to you.
My story has nothing to do with these tarts, except that I had a really good day when I baked these. It felt so good. I had one of those rare moments where I felt skilled. Dare I say confident? Everything just worked. My math was correct that day. My pastry rolled out beautifully. I shared the whole process in a series of Instagram stories. It was a great day! And I felt so incredibly satisfied at the end of the day. I thought about my first kitchen notebook that was more of a scrapbook of scribbles. I thought about how far I’ve come. I know I have so much more to work on and so many things to learn and get better at. But dammit, I can make pretty fantastic tarts, people! And today, that feels like that’s enough.
I found some frozen passion fruit purée at Yasolo, a little shop in my neighbourhood, owned by a lovely couple from Côte d’Ivoire. Obviously, I was ridiculously excited about it and the shop owner wondered why on earth I’d buy it if I wasn’t going to make juice from it. So I explained to her, in French, that I was going to make a passion fruit spread of sorts, that’s thickened with eggs and butter, and that you could use it as a “tartinade,” smeared on toast, or with cake and cookies (remember when I made grapefruit curd and sandwiched it between coconut cookies? Yum!). You can make so many yummy things with a tangy, bright fruit curd like passion fruit curd. I filled green matcha tart shells with the passion fruit curd to make these matcha tarts. All the math and debating was totally worth it. They made me smile!
Matcha tart and passion fruit curd Recipe
Matcha tart with passion fruit curd
A recipe for matcha tarts with passion fruit curd. This recipe would work great with lemon curd too! The tart dough is made with a tablespoon of matcha, which adds colour and flavour.
For the matcha tart dough
- 86 grams unsalted butter 6 tbsp, softened
- 63 grams icing sugar 1/2 cup
- 33 grams ground almond 1/3 cup
- 1 tbsp matcha tea powder ~8 grams
- 1 large egg yolk
- 156 grams all-purpose flour 1 1/4 cups
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp whole milk
To assemble the tarts
- 1 batch passionfruit curd ~2 cups
- Passion fruit for decorating or you can use fresh raspberries
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, icing sugar, ground almond, and matcha. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add the egg yolk and mix it in.
- Add the flour and salt. Mix it into the dough on low.
- Sprinkle the milk over the crumbly mixture in the mixer bowl, and mix until the crumbles become a cohesive green dough.
- Dump the dough onto a work surface and press/gently work the dough into a uniform mass. Divide the dough into five pieces (~75 grams each). Flatten each piece into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out the dough so that it is larger than your tart pans (about 1.5 inches larger). I like to use non-stick tart pans that have a removable bottom and a dark finish, like these on Amazon. Transfer the dough to the tart pan and work it into the mold. Be sure to not pull or stretch the dough but rather let it fall into place.
- Chill the unbaked tart shells for another 30 minutes or more (if you have the time, an hour is better). Place the chilled tart shells on a baking sheet, dock the dough, and bake on the middle rack for about 20 minutes or so. No pie weights needed! Bake the tarts until the edges are golden brown.
- Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then using a glass, unmold the tarts (check out my post about <a href="https://www.kitchenhealssoul.com/2013/11/22/how-to-pop-a-tart-out-of-a-tart-ring/html" target="_blank">how to pop a tart out of a tart pan</a> for more info). Let cool completely before filling.
- Fill the tarts with passion fruit curd and top with fresh passion fruit pulp or fresh raspberries.
- Chill until ready to serve.
Passion fruit curd
An easy recipe for homemade passion fruit lemon curd made from scratch
- 1/2 cup passion fruit purée 125 mL
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 63 mL
- 200 grams granulated sugar 1 cup, divided
- 8 large egg yolks
- 150 grams unsalted butter 2/3 cup, cubed
- In a medium saucepan, combine the passion fruit purée, the lemon juice, and half the sugar.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until the mixture has lightened in colour. Set aside by the stove.
- Have the cubes of butter ready by the stove (away from heat) and also, place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl nearby. Have a couple heatproof spatulas at the ready.
- Heat the juice mixture on medium–high until it comes to a boil almost. Pour the juice over the lightened yolks and whisk like mad to temper the eggs. When the egg-juice mixture is well mixed, transfer it back to a saucepan.
- Heat the curd on medium–high until it comes to a boil, whisking constantly. When the mixture comes to a boil, set a time for 1.5 minutes and boil the mixture while whisking non-stop. Move the saucepan around over the burner to avoid scorching if your burner/pan have hot spots. At this point, the curd should be thick. Take the pan off the heat, and begin whisking in the butter, a little at a time. When the butter has disappeared and the curd is well mixed, pour it into the strainer set over a bowl. Use a spatula to get every last drop of curd out of the pan. Press the mixture through the sieve.
- Cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the entire surface of the curd, then close the bowl with another piece of plastic wrap pulled across the top. Chill overnight.
Please note calories calculated based on a 1 tablespoon serving
Janice Lawandi is chemist-turned-baker, working as a recipe developer in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She studied pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and cooking at l’Académie Culinaire. She has a BSc in Biochemistry from Concordia University and a PhD in Chemistry from McGill University.