Meet the tamarillo! (Yes, we’ve got another new and unusual fruit for you). The tamarillo is a fruit native to South and Central America, and it’s also known as a “tree tomato,” which is just about the best description we could have come up with.
The tamarillo (pronounced either tam-uh-RILL-oh or tam-uh-REE-oh) is deep red and egg-shaped, and on the inside it has golden flesh and purple tomato-like seeds. The skin is bitter, so you need to peel it away, but the flesh is juicy, tart, and just very mildly sweet. When we first bit into a slice, our initial reaction was “heirloom tomato!” And our kids actually enjoyed them too – in part because we prepared them that they were tasting a fruit “like a tomato” rather than something super-sweet.
Tamarillos can be eaten either raw or cooked. Curiously enough, many tamarillo recipes are for sweet dishes (Tamarillos are delicious when cooked down with sugar to bring out the natural sweetness.) And in fact, we made a tamarillo pastry that was very tasty – it was close to a cherry or raspberry danish. But when it was all cooked down, it looked just like a red jam and it kind of lost the beautiful color that we loved so much about the tamarillo.
So we decided to cook something that left the golden color of the tamarillos intact. And we were intrigued enough by its tomato-like flavor that we decided to try making a savory tart similar to what you would make with tomatoes. (This tart is inspired by a tomato puff pasty tart made by The Noble Pig.)
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup goat cheese
- 1 T. milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tamarillos, peeled and sliced
- 4 to 5 leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces
- Prepare the puff pastry: Lay it out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Trim approximately ½ inch around the edge of the puff pastry sheet. Use those trimmings to create a "frame" around the edge of the puff pastry sheet.
- Mix the egg yolk with a few drops of water, and then brush the egg yolk lightly around the edge pieces. Use a fork to prick a few holes in the puff pastry. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until puffed up and lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, mix together the goat cheese and milk and add salt and pepper to taste. When the puff pastry comes out of the oven, spread the goat cheese mixture thinly and evenly over the center of the pastry. Top with tamarillo slices.
- Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and top with basil pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature.
This tart allows you to show off the prettiest part of the tamarillo, which is the contrast between the golden flesh and the purple seeds, accented by fresh green basil. And it’s tasty, too – it’s reminiscent of a fresh summer tomato pizza.
Now, the tricky part – Where do you get tamarillos? The ones that we got from Melissa’s (and most of the tamarillos that are sold in the U.S.) are grown in New Zealand. Here in Southern California, you may see them in Bristol Farms and Gelson’s. If not, you can always ask your produce manager about ordering them, or you can order some for yourself.
If you try a tamarillo, let us know!
Blogger disclosure: Melissa’s sent us tamarillos to sample. We did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are our own.