Meet the tamarillo! (Yes, we have another new and unusual fruit for you). The tamarillo is a fruit native to South and Central America. Some people call it a “tree tomato,” which is just about the best description we could have given it.
The tamarillo (pronounced either tam-uh-RILL-oh or tam-uh-REE-oh) is deep red and egg-shaped. 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 to taste 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 cooked down, it looked just like a red jam and it kind of lost the beautiful color that we loved so much.
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. (We adapted this tart from a tomato puff pasty tart made by The Noble Pig.)
Tamarillo Tart Recipe
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry thawed
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 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 1/2 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. The fresh green basil gives it a nice green accent. And it’s tasty, too – it’s reminiscent of a fresh summer tomato pizza.
Now, the tricky part – Where do you get tamarillos? First, check out grocery stores or specialty stores with extensive produce departments. If you don’t see them, ask your produce manager about ordering them. Tip: If you visit Specialty Produce’s red tamarillo page, you can see where people have reported where they’ve seen them in stores.
If you don’t see them locally, you can order them at Melissa’s or Amazon.
If you try a tamarillo, let us know!
P.S. Looking for another unusual tart? Try our White Asparagus Tart.
Blogger disclosure: Melissa’s sent us tamarillos to sample. We did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are our own.