Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Tahiti タヒチ

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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.
ai wen mango panorama
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

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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
confectioner’s/Icing Sugar 15g
Whole Eggs 8g
Ground Almond 5g
Pastry/Cake flour 37.5g

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.

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Next prepare the Crème aux fruits de la passion, passionfruit cream

passionfruit pulp 25g
lemon juice 2g
whole eggs 25g
granulated sugar 22.5g
unsalted butter 35g

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

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And finally the Sauce aux fruits de la passion, passionfruit sauce

passionfruit pulp 35g
lemon juice 2.5g
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

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 Montage et finition

fresh mangoes 2
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.

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Reflections and Modifications
A planned out workflow is probably the key to ensure that pastry making is done with greater ease.

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!

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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!!!
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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.
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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.
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I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #10: Easy as Pie (August 2011), hosted by Janine of Not the Kitchen Sink!”


35 responses

  1. as usual, nothing short of impressive! loved the green accents in the tart – i’m sure the mint played a part to the whole flavor experience! I also like that photo of the oozing innards of the tart – yummo!

    and sadly, I’ve never had Ai Wen Mangoes even though I’m a huge fan of mangoes 😦 And the way you described them makes me jealous!

    August 25, 2011 at 8:12 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      yeah, the mint helped to elevate the aromatics and lended the tart some complexity. the highlight is really in the passionfruit cream. Its so tart it almost bites.But this was eased with the sweetness from Ai Wen Mangoes. Give these a try if you chance upon them. I’m dead sure they wouldnt disappoint a mango fanatic like you! It sure did the trick for me! 🙂

      August 27, 2011 at 7:12 am

  2. Looking at your blog always makes me hungry. A first class at the comfort of a home!

    August 25, 2011 at 8:25 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Thanks Edith! To be able to make this at home yielded a great sense of satisfaction indeed. 🙂

      August 27, 2011 at 7:10 am

  3. Awesome tart 😉

    August 25, 2011 at 9:57 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      thanks! you are so supportive as always.

      August 27, 2011 at 7:08 am

  4. wah wah it feels like i’m reading a romance novel! LOL
    man, your mango tarts look so luscious, i’d love t sink my teeth in their creamy bosoms too! LOL

    August 25, 2011 at 10:11 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      haha couldn’t resist a sensual read eh?

      the mingling of flavours is amazing. You should give this recipe a shot someday, Sotong!

      August 27, 2011 at 7:08 am

  5. ur tart looks tempting … really impressed….more challenging when u made it at home…kudos…;-)

    August 25, 2011 at 10:57 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      thanks Ko Wai! and so nice of you to drop by. Hope that I would be able to travel up to KL to learn from you one of these days!

      August 27, 2011 at 7:07 am

  6. I worked with pâte sucrée recently and almost fainted in the process to line 6 4.5-inch tart molds but the delicious buttery pastry was all worth it. Chilling the rolling pin is a good idea though, if the flat is mine I would really AC my kitchen.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:07 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      you are so right PIckyin, pastry dough is so unforgiving in our weather. I doubt chilling my rolling pin’s gonna make helluva difference, cos mine’s made of wood! LOL

      ah…. if I had that kinda money, I’ll probably AC the kitchen as well, and probably treat me a little better with a Dietrich!

      August 27, 2011 at 7:06 am

  7. Wow your Tahiti looks very close to Hidemi’s! well done!
    Looking at your picture in making each of the components made me drool. Now you made me tempted to try making his Tahiti lol

    August 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      yeah i was literally having the book next to the plates when i was organising the mint leaves around. but none can be on par with the great master i guess. It feels great to be walking amongst giants, nonetheless. 🙂

      August 27, 2011 at 7:04 am

  8. Beautiful classic dessert and lovely photography!

    August 25, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      thanks Ann 🙂

      August 27, 2011 at 7:02 am

  9. the very first thing you described about the mangoes i thought you were talking about a sexy lady..! but if i stumbled upon these mangoes, must definately buy it! another impressive bake, Alan! the flavours and the combination you’re putting here really complements very well!

    August 25, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      yeah do give these a shot if you ever see them in the market. really redefined mangoes for me!

      August 27, 2011 at 6:58 am

  10. That looks SOOO good! Thanks for sharing!

    August 27, 2011 at 4:53 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      hi there betty! thanks for the compliments!

      August 27, 2011 at 6:57 am

  11. I’ve been eye-ing this for so long from the book, and I was actually reading it again this morning!
    However, I’ve always been hesitant to make it especially for the passion fruit sauce not having any sugar in it. It consists of just pure passion fruit and lemon juice and I was afraid that it will taste way sour (although one can add sugar to it). How did it taste?

    Your tart looks exactly the same as the ones in the book picture, amazing work! the mango slices are just perfect!

    August 30, 2011 at 7:52 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Hi Bertha! you are absolutely right about the passionfruit sauce. Its sour to the core but incredibly aromatic as well. And I get the sharp edge it provides is what makes it unique, really pushing the flavours to the limits. I think that’s what Sugino was striving to achieve.

      Your Ambroisie looks amazing too! And you even made an entremet out of it. That’s major WOW factor. I would love to make it someday as well but will have to work out the work process properly several more times before the actual thing. 🙂

      August 30, 2011 at 10:37 pm

  12. the close up of the tart looks like the burst version of a sunny side up… so addictive!

    August 30, 2011 at 11:20 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Thanks Maureen, and thanks for dropping by!

      August 30, 2011 at 10:42 pm

  13. very pretty! Thanks for dropping by, I’m glad u did otherwise I wouldn’t know abt your awesome blog. I can’t wait for Hidemi’s book to arrive :S Passionfruit and mangoes are abundance lately in the market, gonna try this next 🙂

    August 31, 2011 at 11:46 am

  14. Alan (travellingfoodies)

    hi Swee San, I “followed” Sonia’s blog to yours and I’m glad I did too. lotsa passionfruit and mangoes at this time of the year indeed. Planning a “simple” passionfruit entremet to come. 🙂

    August 31, 2011 at 12:49 pm

  15. You are very meticulous in all your bakes, always a pleasure to look at:) bet the taste is even more gratifying!

    August 31, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      thanks Jeannie 🙂 the combination of sweet and sour is superb in Tahiti. Will definitely make it again

      September 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm

  16. hohoho ur description did made me chuckle indeed. great use of words..makes me wanna try one of the famed mangoes now… 😉 love passionfruit much, so yes, this is yet another bookmark!

    September 1, 2011 at 10:22 pm

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