Orange Blossom Infused Physalis Fruit Tarts, with Chocolate

I first discovered Physalis in Germany; and since then, I usually buy these beautiful little berries as garnish for my dishes or desserts. Recently I had bought them before a trip, and when I got back, they were still looking good. They are usually a bit tart, generally being a prettier sight than all that pleasurable for the palate. However, after more than two weeks, the physalis had ripened to a delicate sweet flavour!  

This of course got me thinking…I had already been wanting to experiment with them.. that I needed a recipe for physalis. I don’t want to keep using them only as decoration. In my quest for a recipe, I’ve learned that the physalis can stay fresh for months in a dry atmosphere (that’s why mine are still good!). Best of all yet, for those of us living in the UK, they are cultivated in England, so that keeps the prices more reasonable. 

The fruit is originally from South America and parts of Asia and is rich in vitamins A, C, phosphorus and iron, as well as alkaloids and flavonoids. It purifies the blood, strengthens the immune system, relieves sore throats and helps reduce cholesterol. The native population of the Amazon use the fruits, leaves and roots in the fight against diabetes, rheumatism, skin, bladder, kidney and liver. Recent studies seem to be showing that it is an effective immune stimulant and can be used to combat certain types of cancer. For more information, check the Rainforest Database

I actually decided upon two different recipes to make with the physalis, one savory and one sweet. I’m sharing the sweet one here, which by the way is gluten-free and sugar-free! I made it with the physalis and other fruit I had on hand, but you can make it with about any fruit you like. 


Orange Blossom Infused Physalis Fruit Tarts, with Chocolate (makes 9 cupcake holders)

Ingredients
For Crust

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • olive oil, optional (I used 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 small cayenne pepper
Preheat oven, on fan, to 180C. In a blender, pluse all ingredients together until the nuts are ground and you have a sticky paste. Put into bottom of your molds and press firmly covering about 1cm of the bottom, depending on the size of your molds. (I used a cupcake holder, as I don’t have tart pans…note to self: buy tart pans! 😉

Bake in oven for 3 minutes. Set aside and cool. 
For Tart
  • 200g of coconut pulp
  • 2 medium bananas, fairly ripe
  • 1 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 8 physalis
  • 12 strawberries
  • 12 dates, pitted
  • 2 teaspoons of orange blossom water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 package of gelatin, about 12g, dissolved in 6 tablespoons of water or you can use some of the orange juice
  • 4-5 squares of dark cooking chocolate, for garnish
  • physalis or other fruit for garnish

Process
In a blender, pulse the dates until ground into fine pieces. Add all of the ingredients, except the gelatin. Pulse, until all is well blended. Add the gelatin and mix. (I do not have a sweet tooth, so if you would like the tarts a bit sweeter, simply add more dates or some honey.)

Pour into the molds that have been previously prepared with the crust. Chill overnight. 

For the garnish: melt the chocolate in a small bowl au bain marie. Cool slightly and pour into piping bag (snip off end). Drizzle onto the tarts. Then top each tart with a chocolate dipped physalis or garnish with other fruit. Chill again about 20 minutes before serving for the chocolate to harden.