For me one of the best parts of living in a tropical paradise is the ability to have fruit trees in my backyard and to grow fresh herbs in my garden all year round. It would always irk me to no end when a recipe called for a teaspoon of fresh rosemary and I had to run to the grocery and spend 2 bucks on a package of “fresh” herbs, only half of which was even usable. Not to brag (but I am), now I simply stroll out to my garden with kitchen scissors and snip exactly what I need. And when my Daisy dog runs through the rosemary bush, a most delightful scent fills the air....aaahhhh.
Our enormous mango tree is the subject of my fascination at the moment...it happens to be “mango time.” Usually mango season is when we are inundated with immense quantities of mangos and we busy ourselves trying new recipes and finding ways to put all of our mangos to good use. There is mango chutney, mango ice cream, mango salad, mango salsa and of course, mango tarts. Many times during this season the subject of mango recipes pop up with friends and neighbors that are experiencing our same joyous predicament. By the end of the season we often are defeated and end up giving away large quantities (actually a group of women at our church make mango chutney, so it does go to good use) or worse yet see them rot on the ground.
This year, however, is much different. We had a particularly cold winter and the mango buds were damaged resulting in a very scarce mango season. We have become extremely protective of our precious few fruits. In the past we didn’t concern ourselves when the squirrels would nibble on the sweet ripe fruit and we would turn a blind eye when a golfer (we live on a golf course) would wander into our yard and help themselves to a shirt full of mangos. But now it’s every mango lover for themselves and we are vehemently protecting our homestead from the fearless mango nappers.
Our dog, Daisy is having a face off with one of the small mango interlopers pictured here, at the bottom of the right palm tree.
One of the few draw backs of living in paradise are the hurricanes. Hurricane Wilma, a few years back, tore out by the roots our large orange tree and our large grapefruit tree. We do dearly miss the fresh squeezed orange juice but after the 50th morning of staring at a grapefruit half in their bowl, (what else can you really do with a massive quantity of grapefruit?) my husband and children rejoiced at the grapefruit tree’s demise.
Mango Lime Tart
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 6 persian limes)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 mango, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 recipe pâte sucrée - basic sweet pastry, pre-baked (see below)
(can be made in a 10" round, 9 " square or a 5' x 14" tart pan)
pre heat oven to 325 degrees
Whisk the 5 eggs together in a bowl. Add the lime juice, sugar and cream and mix together until smooth. Pour the mixture into a pre-baked tart shell. Bake for 15-20 minutes until just firm. Let the tart cool completely and then arrange the mangos on the top.
Melt the apricot preserves over low heat with a teaspoon of water. Push through a sieve and then gently paint the mangos with the melted preserves for a lovely glisten. Sprinkle lime zest on top. Chill completely and serve.
Pâte Sucrée - basic sweet pastry dough
I use this basic dough recipe for most of my dessert tarts. This dough freezes well so I like to make this dough in a double batch when at home (for the tart business I would make in large batches) and freeze the other one for later use if I'm not using it right away. I figure if you're going to the effort to make pastry dough then you might as well make two... so this recipe is a double. Remember, the key to a successful and flakey crust is to work quickly and keep the dough cold. You want the butter to remain in little pea sized balls throughout the dough for a flakey crust. So our mantra is....cold dough, hot oven!
300 grams flour (2 cups) I like to weigh my flour for more accuracy
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
14 tablespoons unsalted butter - chopped
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons ice water
In a food processor add the flour, sugar and salt and pulse until combined. Add the chopped butter and pulse until the butter is in small pea sized balls. Add the water and pulse until the dough just comes together.
Put the dough out to a floured surface and make into a large mound and cut in half with a pastry scraper. I like to weigh the halves so that they are equal. Put each half onto a square of wax paper and form into a disk. Wrap with the paper and chill for at least one hour.
If you are freezing at this time, then wrap again in foil and freeze. Let dough defrost in the refrigerator before use.
Roll out dough on a floured surface into a 13" circle. Place dough into a 10" tart pan and fold the overhang inward and press gently into the sides. Do not force or stretch the dough because a thin spot may cause the filling to leak. The dough edges should be a little bit higher than the side of the tart pan to help prevent shrinkage. Prick the bottom of the shell with your fork. Press a piece of foil (12"x13") into the edges of the shell and cover with the foil completely touching and covering the entire shell. Chill for at least a half an hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Completely fill the foil covered shell with pie weights or dried beans. Put the shell into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and remove beans and foil. Brush the inside of the shell with a beaten egg white to prevent leakage from small cracks. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes and bake until golden brown. Let cool on wire rack.
The shell is ready to fill!