Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Golden Kiwi Vanilla Bean Custard Tartlets With Chocolate Crusts

I found these golden kiwis in the market recently and had to try them.

They are sweeter than regular kiwis (no tart flavor), and the skins are hairless and edible. I got curious so I googled them. Here are some interesting facts about Kiwis involving two visionary women, the cold war, the Galloping Gourmet and horse turds. Who knew?

1) Largest exporter is Italy. Hard to believe but that's where mine are from. It says so. Right on the sticker on this blurry picture:

2) Kiwis are Chinese in origin and some of their original Chinese names are: Sunny Peach, Vine Pear, Wonder Fruit and Hairy Bush Fruit (excuse me?)

4)They were originally brought from China to New Zealand in 1904 by early feminist Mary Isabel Fraser

5)The Golden variety called "Chinabelle" is a recent creation (1992) that took 11 years to develop.

6)New Zealand exported the fruit to the USA in the 1950s. It was called the Chinese Gooseberry then because NZers thought Kiwis tasted like gooseberries. The marketers in the USA changed the name to "Melonettes" because the word "Chinese" had negative political connotations during the Cold War.

7)Eventually "Melonettes" was thrown out as well. Something to do with a negative connotation to melons which had high import taxes at the time. The NZ word "Kiwi" was settled on. It's the name of the NZ national bird, which the kiwi resembles (it's name came from it's cries that sound like "Kiwi! kiwi!".)

8)It took another smart chick to kick start things in the US Kiwi market. From Wikipedia:

In the 1960s and 1970s, Frieda Caplan, founder of Los Angeles-based Frieda's Finest (aka Frieda's Inc./Frieda's Specialty Produce) played a key role in popularizing kiwifruit in the United States, convincing supermarket produce managers to carry the odd-looking fruit.

Here is a snippet from a speech she made regarding Kiwis:

In order to get chain store buyers to even try the fruit, I went to Harry and Barbara Vickman who operated the "Feed Bag’". . .the local restaurant and bakery which los angeles produce people patronized on a daily basis. . .I made a deal with harry. . .if he would make some fruit tarts with these chinese gooseberries, I would provide the fruit at no charge. And that’s how we finally got produce buyers interested. . . . We fed them kiwifruit tarts.

Yay Kiwi Tarts! When I read that I had a moment of blogging serendipity/synchronicity - knowing I was creating the right post at the right time.

A produce visionary, Frieda is a total character. Her speech was filled with great stories, including how she got dissed by the Galloping Gourmet, how she once called the Kiwi a "horse turd" in an important speech and the real facts about how the Kiwi got it's name. If you are interested, read it in it's entirety here.

So that's our Kiwi lesson for today kiddies and I'm dedicating these little beauties to Mary and Frieda.

Some other NZ randomness:

Dr. B works with a New Zealander in Iraq. He's a Maori and sent me this handmade gift from his country. I hung it in our bathroom.

New Zealand is somewhere Dr. B and I would love to travel to someday....

Random NZ thoughts now over.

Back to the Tartlets:

So I just had to make something delicious with these little golden nuggets or according to Frieda, horse turds. I settled on tartlets.

First up was the chocolate crust. After comparing a few recipes, I tried Martha Stewart's version.

Then it was on to the vanilla bean custard. I liked this one from CHOW. Mostly because I could easily halve the recipe. I suck at math (uh oh, how many tbsps in a 1/4 cup again?)

Once the tartlet shells and custard were made and cooled and filled. I sliced the golden kiwi on top and glazed them using this recipe (scroll down to the bottom) from Diana's Desserts. I left the edible skins on.

These didn't last long. Not even one day. Totally yummy.


  1. Now that I have discovered golden kiwi it will be hard to ever go back to green. I see you feel the same! GREG

  2. Oh the yellow ones are so much nicer and sweeter than the green ones. Even thou they cost 4 times as much here I have to have them.

  3. do you know if golden kiwis are any less allergenic? i'm allergic to green kiwi, but still eat them because i really love 'em. i'm only slightly allergic, used to just get a tingle in my mouth when i ae them. i think that was part of their appeal for me. however, the past couple of years when i eat them, particularly in smoothies where the seeds are ground up, my lips itch and burn for well over an hour...

  4. @corkeybelle - I am sorry but I have no idea about the allergic properties of golden kiwis. Better to consult a medical or nutrition expert.


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