While we often associate winter with bitter cold and long nights, I always like to associate it with citrus season, and peak passion fruit season. Passion fruit is such a fun and odd fruit, with a leathery exterior, and a juicy, tropical, and very acidic interior. If you’re a fan of lemony flavor, you’ll love passion fruit! This tart is made of a simple shortbread crust with some lemon zest, and a passion fruit curd filling. It’s full of bright flavors and bright colors, perfect for bringing some sunshine to a cold, wintry day.
What is passion fruit?
Passion fruit is one of those foods that I never really tried until I was an adult. It was always something I was vaguely aware of, particularly in terms of tropical juice blends, but I didn’t have much experience with the fruit by itself. Growing up in the SF Bay Area, passion fruit vines are a very common garden plant, but often times they are not pollinated, so they don’t bear fruit. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I put it together in my mind that those wild and gorgeous purple flowers belong to the same plant that bears such weirdly wonderful alien fruits!
If you aren’t familiar with passion fruit, they can seem very strange at first. They are very light fruits, with a sort of spongy and leathery exterior that almost feels like foam. They wrinkle as they ripen, and sliced open, are filled with a bright yellow pulp. This pulp is juicy and tropical, and can easily be scooped out with a spoon. Passion fruits do contain black seeds, which don’t really taste like anything. You can choose to eat them for a little bit of crunch, or discard. Since we are making a smooth curd in this recipe, you will discard most of them. However, feel free to keep some of the seeds as part of the garnish!
This passion fruit curd tart is baked in two stages. First, to set the crust, then to set the filling. This is a method called “blind baking”, which means that the tart shell bakes first with no filling inside. To keep the crust from puffing too much, prick the bottom of the tart crust all with a fork (known as “docking”). This will help keep the shape of the crust during the initial bake.
For this recipe, we are only going to partially blind bake the crust, because the filling needs a short bake to fully set.
How to make the best passion fruit curd
I love making fruit curds. I think it’s an incredibly easy way to make something incredibly delicious. For this recipe, you will need around 11 passion fruits, depending on their size. Preparing the passion fruit pulp for the curd is a little bit of a labor of love, but I promise it’s worth it! You will need to spoon out the pulp and pass it through a strainer, so that you are left with only the passion fruit juice. Feel free to save the pulp and seeds to use as a topping for yogurt or oatmeal!
Many curd recipes call for the use of a double boiler, or tempering the eggs. I personally do not find either necessary. Passionfruit curd is very easy to make: everything goes into the pot at once, and it only takes about 10 minutes in total. Make sure you whisk your eggs well before you add them to the pot. To ensure even cooking, continue whisking the entire time the curd is over heat. To guarantee an extra silky smooth lemon curd, simply pass it through a mesh strainer before using.
This recipe makes a slightly looser curd, since it is baked until set. If you want to make this passionfruit curd just to eat on its own (no judgment: it’s delicious!), feel free to add a tablespoon or two of cornstarch to make it a bit thicker.
Tools for making this tart
I recommend using a stand mixer to make the shortbread crust. You can also make it with an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar. Regardless of method, it is important not to overwork the dough.
The passion fruit curd does not need any special tools besides a strainer.
This recipe calls for a 9″ loose bottomed tart tin. It could make 4-6 mini tarts instead, depending on the size of your tins. For the blind baking, you will need a fork to prick the base of your tart crust.
How to store this passion fruit curd tart
This tart keeps very well in the fridge, covered carefully, for 3-5 days. Allow to come to room temp before serving.
Looking for more tropical and bright dessert ideas?
Why not check out my…
Meyer Lemon Italian Meringue Pie
Key Lime Pie with Speculoos Crust
Cardamom Bundt Cake with Blood Orange Glaze
I hope you give this Passion Fruit Curd Tart with Shortbread Crust a try! Be sure to tag me on instagram so I can see your bakes, and leave me a comment below! Your feedback helps other bakers who are giving this recipe a try, and I love hearing about your bakes!