Photo: Andrew Thomas Lee
At Aziza, a modern Israeli restaurant in Atlanta, pastry chef Zibaa Sammander employs Southern produce in her Kibbutz Moran dessert, a tart that’s named for a fruit tree–laden farm commune in Galilee that Aziza’s owner, Tal Baum, has often visited.
Arrayed across the top is a mélange of fruits, some typical of Galilee, such as lychee, mango, and kiwi; some tropical, such as dragon fruit; and some local, seasonal options, such as currants, apples, or figs. “Some of the fruits might not be what we would find in Israel,” Baum says. “We like to take inspiration from the land of Israel but use the amazing produce that we have here in Atlanta.”
For the Kibbutz Moran’s crust, Sammander makes a pâté sucrée (a traditional French shortcrust pastry) using almond flour, which provides a crisp base that’s mildly sweet. Taking a cue from Baum, Sammander tops the tart with passion fruit curd. (Passion fruit is a popular flavor in Israel). The pastry chef notes that this element “enhances the sweetness and tartness of the fruits.”
The dish is a variation on a frangipane tart, only Sammander uses pistachios instead of almonds for the filling. “It seems like pistachios are used in almost every dessert that I’ve seen in Middle Eastern shops, and a lot of Israeli pastry shops and bakeries,” she says. “I thought it would be something a little bit different.”
The pièce de résistance is a dollop of mango sorbet. Sammander wanted to round out the dessert with something cool and refreshing, and she likes how the mango flavor complements the passion fruit curd. “It’s almost like eating an icy-cold bowl of fruit salad,” she says.