After making my banana caramel macadamia tarts, I was still itchy to do some more baking. And besides, aren't tarts all about wanton excess?
I got the idea for these after flicking through my glittery copy of The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander, the foodie bible for every Australian homecook. Stephanie says her choko tart recipe was sourced from an old collection of Caribbean recipes, and when cooked, is indistinguishable from apple. Isn't that what they say all McDonalds apple turnovers are made from?
And what is a choko? Stephanie, oh culinary font of knowledge, says they belong to the cucurbit family which includes all gourds like pumpkin and zucchini. Backyards around Australia are filled with this ferocious growing vine, which is nigh impossible to get rid of once it takes hold. We used to get bagloads of chokos from our friendly neighbour. Now I have a new choko supplier, who can't seem to get rid of them fast enough, it would appear!
Known variously as a chayote, christophine, cho cho, mirliton and vegetable pear, you're either a choko lover or a choko hater. Personally I love 'em. Chopped and stirfried with vermicelli and soy sauce; microwaved and scooped out with a spoon, sure the taste is subtle, but they have a hint of delicate sweetness about them.
Peeling them, of course, is everyone's biggest bug bear. Leaving a lingering sticky green film on the fingers, the best way to avoid this is to peel them with a disposable glove on.
But enough of the small talk. Let's get onto the recipe. I borrowed inspiration from Stephanie's recipe, but hers is more like an apple pie, so I made some amendments to turn it into a tart. So here is my second entry for Sugar High Friday #9: Tarts.
Jamaican choko tarts
Line 12 small tart cases with shortcrust pastry and bake blind until golden brown.
Meanwhile peel 3 large chokos and boil in water with about 4 cloves until tender. Drain and cool before slicing to a medium thickness.
Layer the choko slices into the tart cases, sprinkling with brown sugar and lemon juice as you go. Put plenty of brown sugar on top.
Bake at 180C for about 10-20min or until golden brown on top. For extra caramelisation I then brushed them with honey and flash grilled them under a high heat.
I actually fooled everyone at work into thinking these were actually apple tarts. They certainly looked pretty enough and the caramelisation factor definitely helped the drool factor!
It's one more way to use up all those chokos which keep arriving on the doorstep anyway.
Now... choko mousse anyone?
Don't forget, you can check out Life in Flow for a round-up of all the Tantalising Titillating Tempting Tarts for this month's Sugar High Friday!
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Dinner with Stephanie Alexander, Oct 04
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6/17/2005 11:59:00 p.m.