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Feijoa Frenzy!




It’s that time again when the ‘love them or hate them’ fruit is in abundance, whether you like to eat them straight off the tree, in desserts or cakes, or just want others to take them away, the Feijoa is a big part of every kiwi’s Autumn. The feijoa was collected in southern Brazil by a German explorer Freidrich Sellow in 1815 and introduced to Europe by French botanist and horticulturist, Dr Edouard Andre, in 1890. It was named after Brazilian botanist, Joam da Silva Feijo.

Feijoas were introduced into New Zealand in the 1920`s. New Zealand’s ideal climate produced large fruit, and few pest’s enabled feijoa’s to be grown organically (chemical sprays therefore are not applied to New Zealand fruit, making NZ feijoa’s some of the most natural fruit available). The New Zealand season runs from late March to June. In some countries the feijoa is called “pineapple guava”. Feijoas are ready to eat when slightly soft and when the jellied sections in the centre of the fruit are clear.

Depending on the variety this may happen on the tree or within 2 -5 days of natural fruit drop. The fruit is unripe when the jellied sections are white and past its best when they are browning. (unpleasant flavours develop when browning occurs and the fruit should be discarded.) Handle the feijoas very gently - as you would ripe peaches. You can freeze the feijoa, recipes usually use either pureed feijoa, diced and peeled, ( in 1 cm dices) and occasionally larger pieces. Simply peel or take out the insides and put into a plastic bag. If puree is needed simply freeze them in ice cubes for recipes or drinks.

Orange and Caramelised Feijoa Crumble Cake (to serve about 10 as a desert)

Orange Base 185g Butter 185g Caster Sugar 3 60g eggs 185g Self Raising Flour Finely Grated Zest of I large orange Caramelised Feijoas 900g Feijoas 150g sugar 75ml Water

Crumble Topping 80g Butter cut into cubes 130g Plain Flour 2 Tbsp. Raw Sugar 2 Tbsp. Desiccated coconut 1tsp Cinnamon

First Prepare the base. Cream the butter and sugar and then blend in the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour and orange zest. Spread batter over the base of a well-buttered 22cm spring form tin forming a small rim around the edge so that the Feijoa topping will not escape down the sides when added later.

Prepare the Feijoa’s. Peel the fruit and cut into pieces no longer than a walnut. Put them in a rather flat, wide, stainless steel pan with the sugar and water and stew, covered, for about 10 Minutes. (While this is happening prepare the crumble topping by combining the ingredients in a processor.) After 10 Minutes, remove lid from Feijoa’s, and continue to stir the Feijoa’s over a moderate to low heat so that the syrup caramelises. Watch carefully as it will burn easily. What you need to end up with is a pan of shiny, Caramel coated pieces of fruit and no excess liquid. Spoon the still warm Feijoa (if you let them cool they will turn to hard toffee) over the cake batter and sprinkle the crumble mix evenly over the top. Bake at 190°C for about 50 minutes or until the top is golden and feels firm to the touch. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin. Serve still slightly warm with whipped cream.

Reproduced with permission from The Feijoa Recipe book by Wyn Drabble

Available online from www.feijoa.co.nz