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Poached Pawpaw in a Scent Leaf Syrup

by on February 25, 2015
 

Yep, scent leaves again. And again, and again.

This time, they walk the sweet route in a beautiful dessert.

I took inspiration from basil-poached nectarines which were delicious a few years ago – this is no exception. The essence? Fruit poached in a spiced, herby sugar syrup.

I’ve been fascinated by pawpaw – the wholesomeness of it. I mean, like pineapple, every part of the fruit is useful. The skin and flesh contain certain elements which make them beautiful tenderisers – watch your tough Nigerian steak turn to mush (I haven’t tried it, though I know a close friend who has). The seeds are nice too – spicy, like black peppercorns but not. I got a gift of toasted seeds which have an intriguing flavour. 

I grew up eating pawpaw and lime,  and pawpaw with rice. Yep, and we loved it.

This ‘recipe’/ dish is simple.

Select nice pawpaw. I like to get fruit that’s firm but ripe. Unripe, and the fruit doesn’t have the ‘bite’ I quite like. Too ripe, too soft and it turns to mush. Which isn’t bad if that’s what you want.

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So yes, the key? Begin with nice fruit.

Then I make the syrup. It’s a no-recipe process. Water, 5 – 10 scent leaves, crushed green cardamom pods and 2 small knobs of fresh ginger, bashed. Did I mention sugar?

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While the syrup comes to the boil, I cut up the fruit. First peel, then halve.

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Then remove seeds from the core.

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After which you dice it.

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I ended up with 2 scant cups of chopped pawpaw to over 2 cups of syrup.

Taste the syrup and adjust for the flavours you like.

Then the pawpaw chunks go in and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes, after which they are fine. Fine to come off the heat and cool + soak in the syrup.

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You’ll notice a certain translucence in the fruit – signs of yum.

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And really that’s it. I wait for it to cool down and then ladle it into a jar, or bowl or whatever.

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I have it on its own, in cold-brewed tea, with yogurt and creme fraiche, with oats and soaked cereal and lots more. 

The fruit ends up amazing – nice texture, beautiful fragrance and great bite. Somewhat chewy – ever so slightly. The remaining syrup once it’s done, ends up in bellies – combined with water, cordial-like, And more. My smoothie had some in it this morning. 

Definitely, one of my favourite things.

Try it, let me know. 

xxx