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Carambola and Macadamia Frangipane Tarts

Carambolas (Star Fruit) don’t appear in fruit shops much, and I wonder why?  They’re a really nice fruit, sweet and juicy and full of vitamin C and potassium. If you live in an area where they will grow, they fruit prolifically in mid-winter and you are likely to have a glut of them.

If you don’t live in a carambola growing region, you might like to adapt this recipe.  It works with any sweet, juicy fruit in season the same time as macas – which means late autumn to early spring. With the sweetness of the carambola and the oil in the nuts, these need very little sugar or butter so they’re the kind of treat you can comfortably pack in a school lunch box or have in a mid-afternoon break from too-inactive work!

The Recipe:

Macadamia Meal

First crack your macadamias then use a food processor to blend them into a fairly fine meal. You need 60 grams, or half a cup of macadamia meal for the pastry and another 90 grams or three quarters of a cup for the filling.  Fresh nuts in shell are a different thing to the stale old nuts you find in packets in midsummer, so it is worth making your own.  This tool makes macadamia nuts a realistic everyday food.

Macadamia Shortcrust Pastry

This pastry is so easy, so delicious, and so healthy that you can eat pastry every day and not feel guilty!

In a food processor, blend together:

  • ½ cup wholemeal plain flour
  • ½ cup (60 gm) cup maca meal
  • 1 egg yolk (keep the white for the filling)
  • 1 dessertspoon butter

Add just enough water – a couple of dessertspoons full – to make a soft dough.

If your kitchen is warm, you may need to put the dough in the fridge for a few minutes (while you make the filling) so it will roll out easily.

Flour your bench top and roll the dough out. Cut out 8 saucer sized rounds and use them to line 8 holes in a muffin tin or 8  little tart tins.

Bake for around 15 minutes in a moderate oven until the pastry is firm but not yet browning.  (I don’t bother with beans or rice or anything to blind bake – it stays pretty flat without it).

The Macadamia Carambola Frangipane

You don’t need to wash the food processor.

Slice up 4 carambolas and reserve 8 nice big slices from the middle of the fruits for decorating.

Blend together into a paste:

  • 90 grams carambolas (about 4 fruit after the middle slices have been reserved for decorating as above)
  • ¾ cup (90 grams) maca meal
  • 1 dessertspoon wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 dessertspoon butter
  • 1½ dessertspoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder

Beat an egg white until peaks form, then gently fold in the macadamia-carambola paste.

Assembling and Baking

Spoon the filling into the shells.  The filling will puff up but it will rise up rather than out so you can fill quite full.  Decorate each tart with a slice of carambola.

Bake for around half an hour in a moderate oven until puffed up and golden.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • dixiebelle July 5, 2011, 11:32 am

    Ooh, I like the look of those. Must try making pastry with nut meal, I am having a gluten free pastry kick at the moment, trying to perfect it. Maybe almonds or hazelnuts grown closer to me might work too.

  • Linda July 5, 2011, 11:57 am

    I am loving this maca pastry. It has some flour in it though – I don’t know how high you could go with the nut meal in place of flour, or perhaps use gluten free flour? It is so good though that I’m using it for everything pastry-ish. I’d love to hear how you get on with other nuts too.

  • Julie July 5, 2011, 5:19 pm

    Linda i love your blog but i am going to need some help 😉 Wholemeal=whole wheat? Dessertspoon=tablespoon?
    It will be a few months before the star fruits are ready but i have papaya coming out of my ears!

  • Linda July 6, 2011, 9:34 am

    Hi Julie, I forget that the internet goes all around the world! Wholemeal is wholewheat flour – just ground up wheat with nothing added or taken out. A dessertspoon equals 2 teaspoons. (A tablespoon equals 3). I use dessertspoon measures because it’s the regular kitchen spoon I have on hand and actually use to spoon in ingredients. There’s a bit of philosophy behind it – I think cooking from scratch is actually much easier and more forgiving than the chef-y cooking shows would have you believe. I don’t think you need complicated kitchen equipment or special weighing and measuring gear for most recipes. But I do need to pay more attention to the way it converts to US measures.

    I’m so looking forward to papaya season here. It is a few months off yet, but there’s lots of green fruit getting to a good size. Love papaya smoothies for breakfast and papaya fruit salads. It’s another US – Australian name confusion. Papaya and paw paw are the same fruit here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the fruit Americans call paw paw.

  • Lynell July 6, 2011, 9:41 am

    I’d love to know where I can get “This Tool” from to crack Macadamia Nuts open? I’d love one!

  • Linda July 6, 2011, 10:45 am

    Hi Lynell, I bought mine at a market stall many years ago now. I think I bought it directly from the person who made it. I see that Green Harvest has them for sale by mail order. http://www.greenharvest.com.au/. They’re not cheap – RRP $89 – but they last forever.

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