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Author Notes: When I used to work in an art museum, one of our favorite haunts for pau hana – after work – cocktails was the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. There are many reasons people flock to the Waikiki Beach landmark, also known as “the Pink Palace” (it is pink), with its storied and celebrity filled past; however, we went there for the Mai Tais. Sweet and tasty, with a sneaky kick, these made for a serious happy hour. These were the inspiration for my tart. Cradled in a simple, sweet pastry crust is a citrus (orange, blood orange and lime) and rum curd, with slow roasted (rum-macerated) pineapple layered on top. A slice of this is sure to cure your blues, winter or otherwise. Happily, unlike the drink, you can have more than one slice and not have to worry about how you are getting home.
A few notes: First, the slightly pink color of the curd. This is from the blood orange. So, if you want a less pink curd, you could just use navel orange juice. Given my inspiration (the Pink Palace), I did not mind the pink color. Second, I will admit that this tart takes a bit of time to get together. However, if you make the pastry crust while your pineapple is macerating, then let your dough rest while your pineapple is roasting, most of your work is done as the crust cooks quickly and the curd comes together without much hassle. You can enjoy a real Mai Tai while you wait for the tart to set up in the fridge. —gingerroot
Makes 9 inch tart
For the pineapple and tart crust
- 1 fragrant, ripe pineapple (yellow to golden more than green)
- 1/2 cup dark rum mixed with 2T light brown sugar and ¼ t sea salt (stir to combine)
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons ice cold water
- 1 egg white, beaten
- First, the business of cutting the pineapple: with a large sharp knife, slice off ends. Stand the pineapple up on one of the now flat ends, and carefully slice away the outer skin from the top down, following the curve of the fruit. Rotate and repeat around the entire fruit. Now, lay the pineapple in front of you. With one hand, hold the end closest to you, while with the other carefully make diagonal wedge cuts to slice out the “eyes” (brown spots) (see photo 5). Rotate and repeat until you have removed all of the eyes, then slice the pineapple in half lengthwise, through its core. Cut each half into thirds – you should have six long wedges of pineapple. Wrap three tightly in plastic wrap and store for another use. For each of the remaining three wedges, first, slice about a quarter inch strip from the tough core (see photo 4) and discard. Then, slice wedge into ¼ inch fan shaped pieces (see photo 3).
- Place pineapple pieces in a bowl. Pour rum mixture over pineapple and toss to combine; cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes, occasionally swirling bowl (gently) to cover pineapple.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer rum macerated pineapple pieces to baking sheet in a single layer (if you eat a few pieces all of them should fit, snugly) and slow roast for 45 minutes, rotating pan and flipping pineapple pieces mid-way through. (Btw, I hope you did not discard what could be a lovely glass of pineapple infused rum, to be enjoyed while your pineapple is roasting, perhaps). Pineapple should dry out considerably, and shrink just a bit.
- Remove from pan and if you are making pineapple in advance, pieces can be stored, stacked, in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you are refrigerating pieces, lay them out on a parchment-lined pan to dry out a bit before using.
- +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++For the tart crust:
- Combine flour, sugar and salt on a cool work surface. Place butter, cut into ¼-inch slices, on top of flour mound. Dip each piece of butter in flour, to coat both sides. Using pointer fingers and thumbs gently flatten each flour coated slice; pieces will break away to flour mound.
- Slide both hands, palms facing up, under the edges of the flour mound and bring your hands together, raking floury butter flakes and gently combining pieces by pressing your thumbs down against your other fingers. Repeat until you have mostly fluffy sandy clumps with a few larger flakes.
- Sprinkle 1 T of ice-cold water over pile. Gently work mixture together with your hands to combine dough. If dough gets sticky, dip fingers in flour. Add remaining tablespoon of ice-cold water and gather, eventually rolling dough into a smooth ball (be careful not to overwork, or dough will be tough). Wrap ball in a large piece of plastic wrap and flatten into disc (about 1 inch thick and 4 inches across). Fold plastic wrap around edges of disc to seal and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.
- When ready to use, remove from refrigerator and allow disc to sit at room temperature for about ten minutes before rolling out. Roll out dough (slightly larger than tart pan) and carefully wind around pin while sliding 9-inch metal tart pan (with removable bottom) under. Unwind dough from pin into tart pan, carefully pressing into the bottom and up the sides. You want the dough to come up a bit higher than the rim of the pan. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line dough with parchment, fill with at least 1 cup of rice or dried beans and bake for 12 minutes. Remove pan from oven, remove parchment and weights, and poke surface of dough all over with a fork. Brush surface with egg white. Return to oven for 5 more minutes until golden. Remove and set aside to cool before filling.
For the curd filling
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 2 teaspoons blood orange zest
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 ounces blood orange juice (from two small fruits)
- 2 ounces orange juice (from one navel orange)
- 2 ounces lime juice (from three limes)
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 2 tablespoons ice cold water
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- The curd comes together quickly, so it is best to have your mise en place before you begin.
- Place brown sugar in a small bowl. Using fingers, work orange and lime zest into sugar to release oils and combine. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the ice-cold water. Set aside to soften.
- In a small saucepan, over low to medium heat, whisk eggs, sugar-zest and gradually add juice. Whisk steadily and continuously until mixture thickens, about six minutes. You do not want your mixture to boil. Whisk in gelatin and stir to combine – continue stirring until your mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and your finger leaves an open trail.
- Strain mixture through a sieve into a large glass-measuring cup or bowl, using a wooden spoon or spatula to help get all of your curd through (but not zest). Fold in rum, combining until smooth, and butter, one tablespoon at a time, into warm curd. Cover curd with plastic wrap, making sure that the wrap touches the surface of the curd to prevent skin formation. Refrigerate for 15 minutes until slightly cooled. Curd will thicken and gelatin will set up as it cools. Pour curd into tart crust and carefully layer pineapple pieces. Since the curd will still be quite liquidy, it is a bit like trying to make a pattern with blocks on a waterbed – you don’t want to have to move too many pieces once you start! I started on the outside and worked in, making a tight circle of pineapple and then placing pieces in between in the opposite direction.
- Cover tart with plastic wrap and chill until firm – at least a few hours or overnight.