When a Jamaican mentions apple, most likely it is not the one most Europeans and North Americans are used to, but the Otaheite apple, also known as the Malay apple which was brought to the island from Malaysia by Captain Bligh in 1793. During the season, it is not unusual to observe street vendors weaving in and out of traffic selling bags of these popular fruits to motorists. They are pear shaped, with a huge central seed surrounded by mild to very sweet spongy white flesh with pale pink to deep ruby red skins and a rose like fragrance. They are juicy and refreshing. Blended with ginger they make a delicious drink.
I stew them here to make tarts, if tarts are not your thing, you can serve the stewed fruit with ice cream or Greek yogurt. Either way, you will be left with excess stewing liquid as the natural fruit juices oozes into the syrup. I waste nothing in my kitchen and like to add the spicy fruit infused syrup to soda water for a refreshing afternoon cooler or take it up a notch when I am in the mood for something stronger, with a dash of Jamaican white rum for an Otaheite flavoured tipple.
This recipe is vegetarian but can be veganized with egg replacement.
Makes 6 servings.
- 2 ½ cups coconut milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tbsps dark Jamaican rum
- ¼ cup white sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- ¼ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- A generous grating of nutmeg
- 3 whole cloves
- 4 Otaheite apples, seeds removed, sliced and cut into chunks
- 6 frozen premade puff pastry tarts, baked according to package directions
- In a medium saucepan, add sugar, water, ginger and cloves together and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add Otaheite chunks. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the slices have softened but remain firm and turn into a blush pink colour. Cool and set aside.
- Prepare coconut pastry cream in another medium saucepan by pouring in coconut milk and simmer over medium-high heat until just below boiling point and switch off and remove from heat to cool down.
- Whisk eggs, sugar, rum, cornstarch and a pinch of salt together then pour in warm coconut milk, mix well and return to the pan. Return to temperature over medium heat continually whisking until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Strain custard mixture through a sieve into a bowl, cool down and refrigerate.
- Bake puff pastry tartlets and cool down.
- When ready to serve, assemble tarts by filling with custard and topping with stewed Otaheite apple pieces. Garnish with unsweetened desiccated coconut.