Agbalumo – Apple Tart, because apple. Sometimes, you let the name lead you down the path. Star apple, apple apple, tart, tart, bake.
I’ve made very many star apple bakes before – an agbalumo-mango tarte tatin, carrot upside down cakes and more. Tarts have been on my list for a bit and a half and when I decided to brave it, I thought of the warm flavours of apple and how well they would embrace the tart, bright flavours of the agbalumo.
I used my tried and tested Tarte aux Pommes recipe. It’s a triple layer filling – apple curd, creme patisserie and apple slices.
For this take, I peeled, cored and sliced my apples thinly and arranged them to overlap.I filled the cores with chopped (about ½ cm dice), macerated star apple.
I like to macerate my star apple before I cook with them. I do this by combining the flesh with sugar and let this sit overnight in the fridge. By the time morning comes, the Agbalumo flesh has expelled some of its juices, mingled with the sugar and formed a syrup/ nectar – thick and sweet with all of the flavour. That was the base, the beginning of our Agbalu’lade. The flesh, by extension has become firmer, sweeter and ripe for the chopping. I find a small dice works well. This way, there’s no stringiness or overwhelming thread of tart from the Agbalumo.
I finish off by spooning the syrup-from-maceration- on to the top of the apples and agbalumo.
When it’s baked, we enjoy it – still warm, in wedges with vanilla ice cream and Matrimony, the nutmeg-spiced milky fruit salad.
I’ve began teaching my children about the right way to cut pie, tart. It’s my OCD coming to the fore. ‘Just a tiny piece’, J says when she’s done with the first slice. She picks up a knife and attempts to cut a wedge that begins 8 centimetres, off-centre. My rather loud ‘No’, stops her in her tracks. And once I calm down – a few seconds later – I begin to explain the beauty of cutting a pie from the very centre. I show her how she could cut a small piece and still respect the rules of pie cutting.
She eats, we eat, everyone’s happy.
The apples go really well with the Agbalumo but we want more Agbalumo flavour. Much more. So much so that I’ll have to make another tart soon. When I do, I’ll skip the sliced apples on top and stud the entire top with diced agbalumo. I’ll let you know how it goes. Promise. In the meantime, we demolished half of this between 3 people in the first seating.
I would have wanted more colour on the tart – more golden apples, caramelised et al but I couldn’t work my blowtorch and my grill is out of commission…but still, the reward was there:
Sweet, moist, creamy, flavourful topping.
Welcome to Agbalumo season.