10 October 2008

Coconut, Cashew, and Pineapple Tart

Until I get to those Middle Eastern recipes I keep promising you, how about I distract you with a little tart? Ah yes, sugar is a great strategy for all sorts of bribery, as parents, young single women, and chastised husbands are all likely to know. This particular tart was culled wholly from ingredients in my pantry- I have a terrible weakness for dried pineapple and papaya, a handful of them makes an excellent weeknight after-dinner nibble. However, super sweet pineapple and papaya need similarly assertive flavors to stand up to them, like coconut (lurking in my freezer), and cashews (leftover from a cocktail party) and rum (in the liquour cabinet from a party long, long ago). And there you have the inspiration (or more like uninspired economy) of a tropically-flavored tart.

The result is somewhere between a marvelous candy bar and a crunchy Caribbean version of pecan tart, which is to say, fabulous. The alcohol in the rum pretty much evaporates in the baking process, taking away the bite but leaving a smooth warm underlying flavor, and the cashews get a great toasty crunch. Didn't you always pick the cashews out of those nut mixes anyway? It's particularly good topped with a scoop of lime sherbert as well, and quite distracting enough to make you forget about whatever I promises you made just a few paragraphs ago.

Coconut, Cashew, and Pineapple Tart
The graham flour (you could also use whole wheat) in the tart dough is not an attempt at health but rather gives the tart a nubbly crust, a graham cracker crust would work nicely as well. Please make sure your cashews are unsalted, those pre-seasoned cashews are unbearably salty and would overwhelm the tart. I imagine this could be blueprint for other tarts, maybe using macadamias, or one with pistachios and dried cranberries at Christmas time.

1 recipe tart dough, made with half graham flour and half all-purpose flour

2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup rum
1 cup dessicated coconut
3/4 cup unsalted toasted cashews
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced dried papaya and/or pineapple

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare tart dough according to directions, fit into tart shell and chill until ready to bake. Weight tart dough with pie weights or dried beans, par-bake crust for 15 minutes, until firm but not browned.
2. Meanwhille, place dried fruit and rum in a small bowl or saucepan and heat briefly (on the stove or in the microwave), until just until warm- do not boil. Set aside to allow some of the rum seep into the fruit.
3. In a bowl, beat eggs with honey and sugar until the mixture is thick. Add the butter. Fold in the coconut and nuts, then add the fruit with the rum.
4. Pour into the prepared tart shell, place tart on a baking sheet in the center of the oven. Bake 25-35 minutes, until the filling is firm and the top is deeply golden, watch to make sure the nuts don't burn. Let cool completely before serving.


Sarah said...

I know this question is totally off-topic, but would you mind telling me which ice cream maker you use?

Mercedes said...

hi sarah- It's one of those Cuisinart ones (like this) where you have to freeze the bowl ahead of time. I just store the bowl in the freezer so I can make ice cream whenever I feel like it- it works fairly well for the minimal investment.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I'm distracted, all right. :)
Love these flavors, but have never tried them together.

Noor said...

Oh I just love to make tarts, I made a yummy date tart (they can be middle eastern if you make them) :).