Last week, Meredith Graves went in search of passionfruit in an effort to better understand Drake's new playlist. This weekend, as promised, she used that passionfruit to make a tart. The recipe follows.
More Life Passionfruit Tart
(Based on and modified from a recipe by Donna Hay)
Time to Make: One to three days, depending on how fucked-up your life is when you make it
Serves: 0 to 100, real quick
450 grams unbleached, all-purpose flour
250 grams unsalted butter, cold from the fridge and cut up into little pieces (this is two sticks plus a little bit, if you’re sad and exhausted)
160 grams powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of ice water
4 egg yolks
1 real-big tart pan (mine is maybe 20 inches across)
First, mix the flour, cut-up butter, and sugar in a food processor or a blender until it’s all nicely incorporated and has a mealy, even texture. I seriously don’t advise trying to do this in a stand mixer, or else you too may get covered with powdered sugar from head to toe before having to pour your ingredients into a blender. Just use something with a blade, or cut the butter in by hand. Once that happens, add the ice water and eggs and mix until the dough starts to form. Flop it out onto a floured countertop, smush it until it forms a ball, then flatten that ball into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Drake’s More Life is one hour and 21 minutes of heartbreak pop, meaning it’s about perfect if you start the playlist-not-an-album now.
After half an hour (sometime around “4422”), place your chilled dough disk either between two pieces of parchment paper or on a well-floured counter (tip: use coconut flour, almond flour, or something similar to avoid adding more gluten, and therefore more toughness, to the crust). Roll it out until it’s an even thickness, and big enough to cover a lightly oiled 18- to 22-inch tart pan.
Drape the dough sheet over your pan and press to fill. Trim the edges evenly, because that’s the last thing in your life over which you can exert any semblance of control. Poke the bottom of the crust with a fork; making a nice design is a meditative practice that can stop you from crying into your prebaked tart. (We already copped to using unsalted butter, which is generally a criminal offense, so don’t botch it now by crying those big, salty tears.) Wrap the whole pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
Take the extra dough trimmed from the edges and make little shapes — I used a fork to make leaves and some stray biscuit cutters to make little flowers. The album will be over by now. Start it over. Play “Passionfruit” on repeat for a while. It’s your big, special day, and you can do whatever you want.
Unwrap your chilled dough, line the crust with parchment paper, and add uncooked rice on top to weigh the paper down (unless you’re fancy and have baking weights). Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Then take the tart out, remove the rice and paper, and bake for another 12 minutes, along with whatever silly, meaningless shapes you made spread out on another cookie sheet.
Optional: At this point, recognize you’re covered from nose to toes in sugar and flour. Question whether the act of baking itself is a subconscious attempt to rid yourself of an inner mess by making a bigger outer one. Following the original recipe, you’d make your custard at this point and fill the still-warm crust before baking — but, failing in that, you can leave your partially baked crust out on the counter for at least a day, or two if on the second day you attempt the passionfruit custard only to have it become weird and lumpy and reinforce the belief that you will probably never love again. You can also leave your marginally warped leaves and flowers (or shapes of your choosing) out and wonder if your ex would see them and think a small, lovely thought about you.
3 cups of cream
10 egg yolks
330 grams super-fine sugar
Half a cup of lemon juice, fresh-squeezed if you can
1 and a half cups of passionfruit puree
Optional: fresh passionfruit (I could only find two)
So, this is where things get fucked. (Just kidding, things were already fucked, but you never realize until it’s too late, right ...? And this time I’m actually talking about the pastry.)
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. If you’re gonna squeeze your own lemon juice, do that now into a liquid measuring cup. It took me maybe … three lemons? Then separate the whites and yolks of 10 eggs into two little bowls — better to dirty a couple of extra bowls than risk dropping a mistake directly into your final product. (And don’t you dare pour the whites down the drain. Save them to glaze challah, make egg-white omelettes, use raw in smoothies, smear on your face as a mask, make your liberty spikes stand up a little straighter, etc.)
Then, in a really big bowl — like, way bigger than you think you need — mix your cream, eggs, yolks (separating 10 egg yolks is maybe going to make you feel really gross, heads up), sugar, and lemon juice. Whip it until it’s a uniform, runny yellow sludge. The color is really pretty.
Note: the original recipe I worked from calls for you to strain the mixture at this point before incorporating the passionfruit pulp, but I don’t even have a colander, let alone a fine mesh strainer, so I just swirled it around looking for stray bits of eggshell, albumen, chicken toenails, whatever. Strain if you want to. You know, yolo.
Whisk in passionfruit puree, the sourcing of which I have already detailed. (TL;DR: fresh or frozen passionfruit is overpriced and difficult to find in the Northeast, which I assume is why Drake likes it; a woman told me I was pretty and I cried on the train; not every day is a win, even when it ends with delicious cake.)
Set your crust on top of a cookie sheet to catch any drips. Pour the passionfruit-egg mixture into your crust, but Jesus Christ, be careful not to overfill it. I thought I nailed this, only to find, upon pushing the tray into the oven, that my house didn’t magically become not-on-a-slant overnight. Citrusy egg goop went everywhere, dripping into the pilot light and all over the bottom of the oven, filling my kitchen with the smell of eggs and gross burning sugar. The smoke alarm went off twice. I had to open the back door and sop up Satan’s steaming French toast slurry with paper towels and an oven mitt. It was disgusting, and what’s more, that was last Thursday and I still haven’t scraped the burnt egg streaks off the oven door. Don’t pick up the pieces, just leave them for now …
Bake for 30 minutes. It won’t even be close to done and you’ll be disappointed, then you’ll realize you’ve made something that’s double and beyond the original recipe off which this is based, meaning you should have anticipated having to bake it for a lot longer than you’d initially assumed.
Bake for another 20 minutes. At this point, it will still not be anywhere near done, but the top will have set slightly. If you managed to find fresh passionfruit (which I did to the tune of two for $6, with my woes), you can distribute the sour seeds over top of the partially baked custard. This is also when you can gently place your prebaked shapes onto the crust.
Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes or until you’re sure it’s really done, meaning it will still be jiggly but won’t slosh if you try to pick it up.
Let it cool completely on the counter before refrigerating to set even further, then refrigerate overnight and forget it even exists because making it was a three-day process that included a lot of staring at walls and questioning how you could have fought so ceaselessly for something that was perhaps never meant to be. You’re exhausted and you’ve overdone yourself. (Again, talking about the tart.)
This recipe requires an obscene number of eggs, more focus than the average heartbreak kid has to offer, and an unnecessary amount of work overall. There’s a reason the original recipe resulted in an 8-inch tart. Turns out more isn’t always better — More Life, maybe, but more than 10 eggs, not so much.
Listen — you never needed to make a tart this big or this complicated. We all know it’s a panacea, an expensive out-of-season charm, a choreography by which to repel ghosts. I can’t blame you now, no. You deserve to feel useful. Your next lover will have a real thing for citrus, and you’ll be able to make this for them in a more respectful and reasonably portioned manner. This time, it will only take one day to make, because you’ll be focused and you’ll have eaten and slept and won’t be toes-up to the diving board at the edge of the void.
Maybe this is a great opportunity to learn fun new skills like tart-making. Maybe he did you a favor and you’ll become the best tart-maker in this city. Maybe this tart is really just a shortcut to meeting the scruffy, butch motorcycle mechanic of your dreams who has a gnarly sweet tooth, and who can toss heavy sacks of flour over her shoulder like it really ain’t shit. You deserve to feel useful. Your talents will someday be rewarded. She’ll ask for seconds. And you will never, ever have to tell her where you got the recipe, or about what it felt like to be left. There will be sunlight streaming into your kitchen and flour on your nose, his name less powerful than cigarette smoke in the wind. You won’t even burn the eggs this time. Everything will be fine. Everything will be fine. Everything will be fine.