Recipe: Fruit salad done properly

23:14, Aug 17 2012
food xs
Coconut tarts work well served alongside Zespri salad.

Fruit salad is an under-rated dessert - probably because many people only ever experience a second-rate version.

We've all had fruit salad with browning, unskinned apples, a medley of tinned fruit and its juice, and some glace cherries thrown in for colour. This is what gave the dish a bad rap.

Like any salad, a fruit salad needs quality ingredients prepared to forkable or smaller size, a clinging type of moisture to encapsulate the components and seasoning to suit.

Done well, fruit salad is adored by most people. It is refreshing, light and good for the digestion. A small biscuit or little cake often works well served alongside.

In winter, I like to use kiwifruit as the star in fruit salad, as in today's recipe. Pineapple, banana and passionfruit pulp are all perfect companions for our national fruit.

If liqueur in fruit salad is not for you, make juice from juicy New Zealand navel oranges, which are available now.



Makes 15

You will see versions of these tarts in parts of China, Hong Kong and Singapore served as a treat to enjoy with tea. They are often topped with glace cherries and the pastry is always made with lard. I prefer the flavour of pastry made with butter.


300g bought puff or flaky pastry

75g ( cup + 1 Tbsp) sugar

65ml ( cup) water

10g (1 Tbsp) butter

60g ( cup) desiccated coconut

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1 tsp milk

tsp baking powder

tsp vanilla extract

icing sugar (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 200C. Lightly grease 15 baby muffin tins with additional butter or oil.

Roll pastry to 2mm thickness and using a 7.5cm cookie cutter (preferably fluted), or similar size glass or cup, cut out 15 7.5cm rounds.

Place a round in each prepared tin and gently press into base and sides. Place muffin tins in refrigerator to rest for 20 minutes.

For filling: Place sugar and water into a small pot set over a low heat. Stir for 3-4 minutes or until sugar has dissolved.

Add butter and once melted pour mixture into a bowl.

Add coconut and mix together. Cool.

Add egg, milk, baking powder and vanilla, and mix together.

Place a spoonful of coconut filling in each pastry case. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is dry and crisp and filling is puffed and golden.

Remove from oven and rest on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove tarts from tins and cool. Sift icing sugar on to tarts if you wish.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the pantry for up to four days.


Serves 4-6

This is best made shortly before you eat it, but can be made up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerated. Triple Sec is a clear liqueur, flavoured with sweet and bitter orange peels. It 'tweaks' fruit salads just as it tweaks cocktails. You will find ginger in syrup in some supermarkets and at speciality food stores.

Ingredients 350g (4) gold kiwifruit, peeled and cut into small dice

400g (4) green kiwifruit, peeled and cut into small dice

30 mint leaves, sliced thinly

30g (2 balls) ginger in syrup, finely diced

85ml ( cup) Triple Sec

20g (2 Tbsp) sugar

Place kiwifruit into a bowl with mint, ginger, Triple Sec and sugar. Leave to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, so that the sugar has time to dissolve, before serving.


Makes about 1.1 litres

Claire Aldous, food editor of Dish magazine, prepared this aperitif at our cooking school. It originated in the south of France. It is delicious on its own or topped with soda, white wine or methode champenoise. Very more-ish when made with new season New Zealand navel oranges.

Ingredients 2 large oranges

1 litre (4 cups) dry white wine

250g (1 cup + 4 Tbsp) castor sugar

115ml ( cup less 2 tsp) brandy

Using a vegetable peeler, pare zest from oranges, taking care not to include any white pith. Reserve peeled oranges for another use.

Carefully scrape off any pith that remains on the zest with a knife.

Place zest into a sterilised bottle. Add white wine, castor sugar and brandy, and seal bottle.

Place in a warm, sunny place for 2 weeks, giving the bottle a shake every day.

Serve chilled.

Once opened, store in refrigerator.

The Dominion Post