Sweet tamarind’s been calling to me, siren-style, for a while now. I kept seeing it sitting in the fruit section of my local store and wondering what the blazes it was.
And that’s why this week’s Creative Kitchen Challenge seemed like the perfect opportunity to buy in, cut it open and shove it in a pie.
I should admit now that there’s a teeny bit of cheating going on here – yes, I’ve cooked with tamarind before BUT only ever using the pulp which, helpfully, comes pre-prepared in most supermarkets.
Never before have I actually got down and dirty with the fruit in its natural form.
And now for some learning: tamarind is indigenous to Africa. It’s a pod-like fruit with a sticky filling which resembles dates and contains large, dark seeds.
To extract the brown pulp you just slit it open, prise out the seeds and enjoy the sweet goodness.
It’s messy but easy.
For this tart I simmered the pulp with some maple syrup and eggs for a subtly sweet pie filling.
The crust is an amazingly simple coconut flour creation from The Coconut Mama and I shoved some bananas in there so you get almost a banoffee pie effect.
It all came together well. A word of warning though – don’t over-indulge.
In traditional medicine, fibre-rich tamarind is used as a laxative…just sayin’
Verdict: I like it! Just like date but not as sweet, I’m a big fan of this fruit. In fact, I am already thinking of new recipes – sauces, stir-frys even a nice salad dressing.
Sweet Tamarind & Banana Tart (serves 6-8)
*adapted from Coconut Mama
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsbps honey
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
*inspired by The Noshery
- 2 large bananas
- 1/2 lb tamarind
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 6 tsbps maple syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4 tbsps butter
- 1 1/2 tbsps corn starch
- Make the pastry by whisking together the eggs, honey, vanilla and butter. Sieve the coconut flour into a large mixing bowl, add the salt then gradually pour in the wet ingredients til it forms a soft dough. Press the dough into a greased pie dish and bake at 375 for 10 minutes.
- Once baked, remove from oven and let cool then slice in one banana so that there is a layer of banana at the bottom.
- Remove the hard outer shells from the tamarind and extract the pulp, chop this up and put in a saucepan with the water (don’t worry about the seeds, you’ll be straining the liquid anyway). Bring to a boil then simmer for ten minutes until the tamarind starts to dissolve and the water turns brown. Strain and set aside the brown liquid.
- Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, honey, maple syrup. Add this to your tamarind mixture and put it all back on the heat. Again, bring to a boil then let simmer for five minutes.
- Add in the butter and whisk to ensure it melts. Let simmer for a further ten minutes. Finally, add in the corn starch (corn starch should be mixed with a little water first to form a paste before adding to sauces) and stir as it thickens.
- Pour into banana-layered pastry and let cool. Put in the fridge to set and cool for 24 hours.
- Just before serving slice another banana on top. Then eat with cream (this step is not compulsory but highly advised).
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