“Wherever a trickle of water came out of the ground a house sprang up and a family began to grow and multiply. Cuttings of red geraniums and rosebushes were planted in the dooryard.”
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
I’m getting back to my old self again. I’ve been baking. And cooking for fun, not just because we need to eat. I’ve been working on my list of baking and cooking ideas. Lists are one of my most favorite things. My notebook has little drawings on the left hand side of the page to remind me of the idea— the colors, textures, setting and props. The sections for spring and summer are almost empty. It’s been months, early March, since I felt free enough to daydream.
I can tell when I’m easing up, I notice my surroundings. On my morning walk I have seen apples, pears, pomegranates, lemons, oranges, avocados, persimmons and pineapple guavas. All these trees have ripe fruit that has fallen to the ground and gone to waste. The untapped harvest of urban backyards must be staggering.
On the next street over from our home there are just five houses on one city block. I found the pineapple guava trees along the driveway of one of these stately homes. On our morning walk we saw the ripe fruit littering the lawn and driveway. I knew once the gardeners arrived the pineapple guavas would go in the yard waste bin. I went home to get a basket for the guavas and returned to pick up the silvery green fruit. Gathering my courage I rang the doorbell, but no one answered. I filled my basket and returned home. A few days later the two pineapple guava trees had been pruned back into shrubs. Littering the driveway, the fruit had become a nuisance.
Pineapple guavas are not really guavas but part of the Myrtle family that includes cloves, allspice and eucalyptus. Native to South America, the feijoa or pineapple guava is typically made into jam or paste. The exterior of the fruit smells faintly of evergreens when ripe. But the inside of the pineapple guava doesn’t taste or smell anything like evergreen. Cutting open a pineapple guava is quite the sensory revelation. Unique, floral and faintly sweet, the pineapple guava reminds me of apples and not yet ripe pineapples. The closest taste would be a sweet and mild rose water.
Pineapple guavas have a slightly grainy texture like pears and quince, not a bad thing. Pineapple guavas are ripe when they fall from the tree. When ripe the interior around the seeds is clear. Overripe pineapple guavas are brown inside while underripe ones are white in the center of the fruit. Since finding pineapple guavas in your neighborhood may not be an option they are now in season and can be found at farmers markets, fruit stands and some grocery stores.
With a cup and a half of fruit the pineapple guava flavor plays a staring role in this recipe. Mr. R very much liked the Pineapple Guava Bread with Browned Butter and Macadamias, which was a pleasant surprise as it does not contain—chocolate. I’m fairly certain the combination of browned butter and macadamias added to the sultry tropical appeal of the pineapple guavas. I used half whole grain flour and half cake flour to keep the cake from being dense and heavy. All-purpose flour can easily be substituted for my choice of flours. A melon-baller made scooping the fruit from the interior of the pineapple guavas fast and easy. Puree the ripe fruit in a blender or food processor to make the Pineapple Guava Bread with Browned Butter and Macadamias.
|1/2C||unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan|
|1C||white whole wheat flour|
|1/2t||fine grain sea salt|
|1/2C||organic cane sugar|
|1-1/2C||pineapple guava puree|
|1C||macadamia nuts, chopped|
- Prepare the browned butter by melting the butter in a saucepan or skillet with a light colored or shiny interior on medium heat. At first the butter may sputter for a bit as the milk solids cook. Gently swirl the pan until the milk solids are a warm toasty brown at the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Heat the oven 350°. Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan, set aside.
- Into a medium size bowl sift or shake through a large sieve the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add the cooled browned butter and sugar. Beat for 3-5 minutes until the mixture lightens in color and becomes creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing throughly after each adding each egg. Add the pineapple guava puree, milk and vanilla and mix to throughly combine. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add the dry ingredients. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not over-mix. Add the macadamia nuts (reserve a few for the top of the loaf) and fold into the batter.
- Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Press the reserved macadamia nuts into the top of the batter. Bake for 50-55 minutes. When done, a cake tester will come out cleanly and the bread will have pulled away from the sides of the pan and be a tawny golden brown. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Release the bread from the pan, by running a kitchen knife around the edge of the bread. Then invert the bread onto a cooling rack or breadboard to finish cooling.
My recipe for Pumpkin Bread with Toasted Pecans is a finalist in the #switch2Star recipe contest. I need your vote to win the contest. As an enticement, every day you vote you are entered in a drawing for a gorgeous Kitchenaid 4.5 quart stand mixer. Your support is appreciated!
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