I brought home some prickly pears given to me by Mr Lauria and his team at the Government Farm from an early harvest and they are all red, the most coveted color here although i love the flavor of white ones. I have been told that the paddles are edible. It is not something they eat on the island but i am going to have to try !
These prickly pears are abundant all around the open countryside. The fruit is unique and for those who have not tasted it, i can only describe it as close to passion fruit in texture but not as slimy, much firmer, sweeter and more delicious. Just as we use passion fruit to garnish dishes, i like to mash up prickly pears and use it in a similar way, an economical alternative.
If you pick your own fruits do try to wear gloves. My hands have toughened up from years of oven use and red hot stoves. You will also need to peel their thick skin before storing them in your fridge as they are best eaten cold. However on the island you can buy peeled fruits from street vendors. Here is one of Mr Lauria’s cut up.
I made a prickly pear tart last year and you will find the recipe via this link.
I always like to try new things and i have just made another tart using these crimson fruits only cut just a couple of hours ago. I simply used the bambinella tart recipe and topped it with a sprinkle of gently broken up fruit. Make sure you do not separate the flesh from the seeds. I also sprinkled some pine nuts and i do not think any other nut would be suitable to mix with this fruit as the texture of the pine nut is soft. And here is my end result, a healthier desert, fresh fruit and a yoghurt cream in a crust.
At the Government Farm we spoke a lot about the seasonal fruit of the moment, organic produce, the effects of climate change and pesticide use and i got good direction and research for my piece in next month’s airline magazine.
I love the work they are doing and I shall be returning soon.