Jackfruit: Sweet and Savory and Very Versatile

Have you made your way through your recipe book during this coronavirus lockdown? Here’s an exotic confection to sweeten your day.

Sure, we all have our favorite old and new recipes. But when hunkering down at home for weeks on end, it’s easy to cook your way through your recipe archive—and even get tired of those tried-and-trues. So we turned to Toast Kitchen & Bakery Chef John Park, who in the fall took home Chef of the Year honors at the Golden Foodie Awards, to surprise us with a new creation using a star ingredient among plant-based foodies: jackfruit. (By the way, like many local chefs, Park has kept his kitchen open during the pandemic for curbside pickup and delivery through UberEats. Check out the menu online at toastkitchenbakery.com.)

A member of the fig, mulberry and breadfruit family, jackfruit trees are commonly grown in tropical regions around the world. One mature tree yields between 200 and 500 fruits a year. And those fruits are big—they can grow to be 20 inches round and 35 inches long. Because of their texture, you’ll find young jackfruits used in plant-based recipes for everything from teriyaki “chicken” to “crab” cakes. “I’ve had jackfruit used as pulled ‘pork’ in tacos before,” notes Park. “The texture is great for a meat substitute.”

The riper the fruit, the sweeter the taste. “The flavor is really great—like a funky pineapple/mango,” says Park. “Canned jackfruit works really well in desserts too. It’s such a versatile fruit that can take the place of pineapple, mango and banana in most recipes.” Which is why he chose to use it in his Jackfruit Lemon Tart With Rau Ram Lime Gelee and Kecap Manis Meringue. (You’ll find the complete recipe below. You can buy jackfruit online through Amazon, or you can check your local Whole Foods and Sprouts markets.)

“It’s essentially a lemon meringue tart with the additional tropical notes from the jackfruit,” he says. “Rau ram, which is Vietnamese coriander, is one of my favorite herbs and pairs extremely well with the jackfruit. For the meringue, we add a little kecap manis—Indonesian sweet soy sauce—which gives it a light, salted butterscotch flavor.”

And if you want to pair this sweet treat with a cocktail, Park suggests a gin and tonic. “We also have a mango tamarind margarita at the restaurant that would pair nicely with the jackfruit tart,” he adds. But, Park cautions, be careful not to overindulge: “Jackfruit is a laxative, so don’t eat too much in one sitting.” Duly noted!

Toast Kitchen & Bakery | 1767 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92627

949.873.5057 | toastkitchenbakery.com


Jackfruit Lemon Cream 
3 eggs
140 g sugar
95 g jackfruit puree
25 g lemon juice
225 g butter
1 gelatin sheet, bloomed 

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then lower heat to medium. Combine eggs, sugar, jackfruit puree and lemon juice in a bowl, and place over a pot of hot water. Continue mixing until the cream thickens. Take mixture off the heat, and add gelatin and butter. Transfer to another container, cover the top with plastic wrap and allow to cool completely.

Kecap Manis Meringue 
4 oz egg whites 
5 oz sugar
1 oz kecap manis 

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then lower heat to medium. Combine eggs and sugar in a bowl, and place over the pot of water. Stir until the mixture gets hot and thickens, then transfer to a mixer. Add the kecap manis, and mix on high speed until cool and a meringue forms. Transfer to a piping bag and store in the refrigerator 

Rau Ram Lime Gelee 
180 g lime juice
2 rau ram leaves, large 
165 g water
170 g sugar
15 g gelatin sheets, bloomed 
Pinch of salt

Blend rau ram with water and set aside. Bring lime juice, sugar and salt to a simmer, and add the bloomed gelatin sheets, then add the rau ram water. Pour into molds and freeze. Once frozen, unmold and set aside in the refrigerator. 

Sweet Dough 
4 oz butter
3 oz sugar
1 egg
7.5 oz all-purpose flour
pinch of salt 

In a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and airy. Add egg and mix to combine. Add flour and salt, and mix to combine. Transfer dough to a sheet tray, cover and refrigerate. Once cool, remove from the refrigerator and roll out tart shells. Shape in your tart molds and bake at 300 F until golden brown. Allow to cool and remove from molds. 

To Assemble
Fill the tart shell with the jackfruit lemon cream. Place a rau ram lime gelee on top. Pipe the kecap manis meringue around the gelee. Lightly torch the meringue with a hand-held torch, and garnish with small rau ram leaves.

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