This month is my first time participating in Food ‘n’ Flix, a club of bloggers that chooses a movie each month and then cooks around it. It was created by my buddy Heather over at All Roads Lead to the Kitchen, which makes it extra shameful that it took me this long to join the fun!
Honestly, I was very excited when I saw this theme. I’m a fan of Frida Kahlo’s work, and I knew a fair amount about her life already. The opportunity to throw myself into learning more about Frida was one I couldn’t pass up.
Truthfully, I run the risk of getting really long-winded if I begin discussing why I love Kahlo’s work. Here’s the short version: her paintings are raw and evocative, to the point where looking at them for too long is emotionally draining for me. I have incredible admiration for the amount of feeling she’s able to evoke with her brush.
Frida as a film was a fun watch with a lot of interesting visual segments. I enjoyed it for what it was: a very stylized retelling of her life story. First and foremost I came away inspired by Frida’s art. I chose to focus on Frida’s still life paintings, specifically those with massive spreads of Mexican fruit on display.
I feel like there’s nothing better than a tart to display beautiful fruits. I made a list of fruits found in Frida’s paintings and headed to my local Mexican/Korean farmer’s market to stock up. I chose to layer the fruit over an almond flan base topped with a cactus pear jelly.
The resulting tart was genuinely wonderful. It contains so many textures that it basically forces you to savor every bite and take your time. The fruits all have individual character, but still meld well together. The jelly layer keeps it all from becoming too sweet. This is a tart I am guaranteed to make again and again, though the garnishing fruits may rotate depending on season.
FRUIT TART FOR FRIDA
Almond Flan Tart with Cactus Pear Passionfruit Jelly and Mexican Fruits
Timing notes: The jelly needs a couple of hours to set, and the candied roses should dry for 24 hours. Don’t cut up the fruit to garnish the tart until shortly before serving (see assembly).
1 8″ cake ring
1 8″ cake pan
1 large pyrex bowl OR 1 7″ cake pan
Broad food safe paint brush (i.e. never used for non-edibles)
1 8″ almond flan (recipe below)
1 8″ tart shell (recipe below)
1 7″ layer prickly pear and passionfruit jelly (recipe below)
3 mini Mexican guavas, poached (recipe below)
1/2 mango, cut into thin slices
1/2 cantaloupe, cut with melon baller
1 dragonfruit, cut with melon baller
1 starfruit, cut into 1/4″ slices
Candied roses (recipe below)
100g (1/2 cup) sugar
25g (1/4 cup) almond flour, finely ground
400g (14 oz.) condensed milk
180ml (3/4 cup) half and half
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Fill a sheet cake pan with 1″ of water and place it in the oven as it preheats. Place the sugar directly into an 8″ metal cake pan. Place the pan directly over low heat and cook until the sugar has melted and turned light brown. Do not stir the sugar, but use an oven mit to swirl the pan periodically to keep any one spot from becoming too dark. Once a light brown color has been achieved, remove from the heat and allow to cool. The sugar may crack as it cools; this is fine.
2. In a blender, combine all remaining ingredients until very smooth. Pour the mix into the cake pan over the caramel layer. Carefully place the 8″ pan into the water bath. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the flan jiggles evenly in the center but no longer appears liquid. Allow to cool. When you wish to depan the flan, loosen the sides with a knife and turn the flan out onto a plate. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.
French Pastry Dough (adapted from David Lebovitz)
60g (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1.5 tsp vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
120g (4 oz or about 1 cup) flour
1. Preheat your oven to 410ºF (210ºC) and line a cookie sheet with parchment and get out an 8″ cake ring. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and allow it to heat until you begin to see occasional brown speckles. Move the butter into a bowl and combine it with the water, sugar, salt and oil. Stir to combine.
2. Pour the flour onto the liquid and stir until it comes together into a smooth ball of dough.
3. Split the ball into 3 parts. Roll 2/3 of the dough out into a circle. The dough should be about 1/8″ thick. Use your cake ring to cut out an 8″ round and leave the cake ring on top of the dough. Use the remaining dough to roll out long strips, 1/8″ thick and about 1/2″ tall. Line the outside rim with this, trimming them down to fit. Use your fingers to smush together the pieces of dough, then press and pierce the whole shell with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until set and lightly browned.
Guava Poached in Cactus Pear Juice
3 mini guavas, quartered (the same way you’d slice a lemon for drinks)
150ml (scant 2/3 cup) fresh cactus pear juice, or juice of 2 large cactus pears
80ml (1/3 cup) passionfruit puree
65g (1/3 cup) cup sugar
1. For instructions on how to cut and juice a cactus pear, click here. In a saucepan, combine the cactus pear juice, passionfruit puree and sugar and bring to a simmer. Add in the guava slices and simmer for 10 minutes or until the guavas have softened. Remove the guava pieces with a slotted spoon and set them aside to cool. Run the poaching liquid through a sieve into a measuring cup. Discard all but 1 cup of the liquid. If you want whole guava pieces, you’re done. If you want to remove the hard seeds as I did, simply scrape them off gently with a spoon.
Cactus Pear and Passionfruit Gelee
1 cup hot poaching liquid from above recipe
2 tsp powdered gelatin
2 tbsp water
1-3 tbsp sugar (optional)
1. Lightly grease a large pyrex bowl (to give a slight domed shape) or a 7″ cake pan. Taste the poaching liquid and add sugar to taste. Stir to dissolve.
2. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Stir the gelatin into the hot poaching liquid until dissolved. Pour the mixture into the bowl/cake pan and allow to set for 2-4 hours or until completely firm. Once you’re ready to depan it, set the bottom of the bowl or pan into hot water to loosen the edges and slide the jelly out.
1-3 organic, edible roses (talk to your florist to make sure they’re safe to eat!)
1 egg white, loosened with a fork
200g (1 cup) sugar
1. Gently separate the petals of the rose without ripping them out, then brush the fronts and backs with a light layer of egg white. Sprinkle sugar on both sides of the rose until well covered. Shake off any excess sugar.
2. Hang the roses upside down to dry for 24 hours.
1. Get out your jelly, flan and tart shell base. If you won’t be serving the tart immediately, consider brushing the inside with a light layer of white chocolate to preserve the crispness. If you’re serving it right away, continue to step 2.
2. Use a spatula or butter knife to brush any excess caramel sauce from the top of your flan. This will prevent the jelly from moving around too much. Using a sharp knife, trim the edges of the flan down just a bit to fit into the tart shell. Slide the flan into the tart.
3. Slide the jelly layer onto the flan and center it. If you are serving immediately, proceed to step 4. If not, store the tart in the fridge covered with plastic wrap. Don’t cut up and add the fresh fruit until a couple of hours before serving time, as you want them to be as fresh as possible.
4. Cut up all your fruits and arrange them on a platter for easy access. Cluster them over the jelly, moving things around until you like the look. This part is all up to you!
5. Top with a candied rose (or multiple roses, depending on the size) and serve immediately.
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