Desserts are a Sunday special. And fruit tarts are always a favorite of mine. I love the large scope of possibilities fruit tarts allows you in the kitchen. And when it comes to fruits, we have here some really delicious, succulent, rare caribbean options at our disposal.
For my tart today, I used our local “Abricot” which is one of my favorite tropical fruits. The hard, sweet flesh of this fruit, makes it yearly a local favorite.
What we call “Abricot” here has nothing to do with what is known worldwide as Apricot. The size of the fruit to start with is very different. Our local “Abricot” is similar in size to a cantaloupe. It also has a thick fury grayish brown skin, that needs to be peeled off the flesh. Then removing the white film like membrane from the flesh is essential, as this will ensure that your fruit has no bitter taste. The four large seeds of the fruit also may give it some bitterness. So in order to enjoy fully “Abricot” one must properly clean it, and only put aside the beautiful orange flesh for eating. Once cleaned and sliced, you can almost mistaken it for mango.
Our local “Abricot” is most commonly found in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Cuba. Known Mammea americana, it grows on the most beautiful large tree. The leaves are thick and beautifully oval shaped, dense and dark green, the tree remains beautiful all year long, and is said to be a relative of mangosteen.
“Abricot” reminds me of my god-mother’s house. She has the most beautiful, majestic trees all around her garden. When they are in season, one must make sure not to park underneath, as you are sure to have your windshield shattered with a fallen fruit at one point. Not too cool !
But if you get one of these delicious fruits and cut them to eat raw, you will see why their rare taste, has gotten them the name “Abricot”. Similar to the more known apricots, they do resemble them in taste a little and in color fully, though there is no family tie between the two fruits.
For this tart, I have opted for a cream filling, that is then topped with the fresh “Abricot”, thinly sliced almonds. Once baked, it is then glazed with a guava jam and rum glaze with a dash of butter and cinnamon. To top it all off, it is sprinkled with a mix of confectioners sugar and “chanm-chanm”.
“Chanm-chanm” is a powdery delight made locally. With a smoky, sweet and spicy taste, it is a mix of grilled corn and roasted peanuts, all grinned with sugar into a thin dusty powder. It is enjoyed as a candy, and is a real western indian heritage of ours. Good “chanm-chanm” can be bought from local supermarkets nowadays, but in the old days, street merchants would walk around and sell it in little bags, that as kids we would enjoy.
All these flavors marry beautifully into this almost clafouti like tart, which is delicious served warm or at room temperature. You may add a scoop of ice cream on the side.
I hope you try it this Local Abricot & Almond Tart with Guava Jam and Chanm-Chanm topping and if you don’t have access to “chanm-chanm” no worries, just top with confectionary sugar mixed with some crushed roasted peanuts for that nutty light taste.
1 puff pastry crust For the filling 1 "abricot" cleaned and sliced thinly (flesh only) 1 lime juice 3 tbsp Sugar 1/3 cup sliced almonds For the cream 1 block of cream cheese (8oz) 1/2 cup sugar 2 eggs 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1 lime zest 2 tbsp all purpose flour For topping 3 tbsp guava jam 1 tbsp dark Haitian rum 2 tbsp butter 1/4 tsp cinnamon For topping 1 tbsp confectionary sugar 1.5 tbsp chanm-chanm (optional) 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves (optional)
Preheat your oven at 375° F.
Grease your pie dish with butter and drizzle with a little flour.
Place your pastry crust in the dish evenly. With a fork poke a few wholes in the bottom here and there.
Place about 1 cup raw beans or cooking weights in the bottom of your pie, and pre bake for about 15 minutes.
Now prepare the filling. Mix together all the ingredients in a mixer: cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 lime zest and 2 tbsp all purpose flour.
Cut your abricot into thin slices, removing all white and brown elements which give a bitter taste to the sweet flesh of the fruit.
Pour lime juice over your thin slices.
Remove pie crust from the oven and remove all beans carefully.
Pour over the cream filling. Top with your abricot slices, sprinkle on top your almonds and sugar and place back into the oven for 45 minutes.
In a small saucepan, heat your guava jam, butter and rum, to prep your guava jam glaze.
After the 45 minutes have elapsed and your tart is cooked and golden, remove it from the oven.
Brush on your guava jam mixture and glaze the entire tart and its crust.
Mix your confectionary sugar with chanm chanm and sprinkle all on top, using a fine sieve.
Sprinkle with a little oregano leaves as I have for extra flavor and color if you’d like.
Your tart is ready to be enjoyed at room temperature or warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.