A few weeks ago, La Diva got two canistel in her farm share (grown right here in Southern Florida) and now the fruit is finally ripe! The fruit must be VERY, VERY SOFT before you can (or should) actually use it. If you eat the fruit when under-ripe, a milky sap will be exuded and you will most likely get a stomach ache.
Since the canistel DOES sport the texture and color of a hard-boiled egg, the fruit can be used in savory as well as sweet dishes. As I already had some left-over coconut milk in the fridge from last week's laksa and some recently purchased coconut from my fave Indian purveyor, coconut canistel muffins were in order!
After I mashed the fruit into a workable paste, I took a quick taste. Very strange and hard to put my finger on. The texture was like a pumpkin's but a bit more mealy than stringy. The taste? Semi-sweet and a bit hard to describe but definitely pleasant and mild.
Of course, there WAS no recipe on line for this combo so La Diva looked at a few pumpkin and coconut recipes and revised, adding and subtracting here and there. The following recipe is a combination of three recipes I found on the Web. If you LOVE coconut like La Diva does, give it a whirl, darlings, it's quick and simple.
La Diva's coconut canistel muffins
2 very ripe medium-size canistel (egg fruit, about 1 1/2 cups)
1 c sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 c coconut milk
1/2 c milk
1 1/2 c flour
2/3 c coconut (I used unsweetened coconut, not the sweetened coconut flakes)
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
Peel VERY RIPE AND VERY SOFT canistel, remove black seeds. Mash fruit in large mixing bowl. Cream butter into fruit and then add eggs and sugar, beat until well-mixed. Add coconut milk, milk and coconut, mixing after adding each ingredient. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda stopping to mix a little in at a time. Stir until ingredients are just mixed in and do not over-mix.
Fill an extra-large muffin tin with one cup batter per muffin. Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 9 extra-large muffins.
RESULT: The muffins turned out very well and were moist and tasty. They had a slightly yellow color and the few bits of canistel that did not mash completely provided a taste of the mild fruit. I loved the coconut but I think for next time I'd like to try the canistel in a dish where the taste is more prevalent. The muffins were slightly sweet (which my sidekick DJ Nevah L8 LOVED) but if you want to reduce the sugar, you can by all means. My great auntie always told me as a general baking rule: If it's moist before you bake, it will be moist after it's done. With the inclusion of the mashed fruit, eggs, milk AND coconut milk, a moist muffin is guaranteed and these will be too hard to resist once you smell them baking!
Darlings, La Diva just got THREE MORE canistel in her farm share, which will be ready in a few more weeks. What about a savory dish next time? Any ideas? La Diva would LOVE your comments! Oh, I almost forgot. A cumbia is a traditional but hip-shaking dance from Columbia and it is fabulous! My favorite Columbian, Rodrigo, is going to teach it to me! Ciao!
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