It's time once again for the Eating the Alphabet Challenge. This month, we had to chose a fruit, vegetable, grain, bean, or legume that began with the letter G or H.
I could have taken the easy route and done something with grapes or grapefruit, but when I joined this challenge, I really wanted to do my best to use it to explore ingredients I had never cooked with before. So I tracked down some guavas. Actually, my favorite mega-mart, Meijer, carries them so I found them easily. The cashier said, "Are these ripe? Are they supposed to be this hard?" My answer: "I have no idea!"
I originally wanted to do a fruit salad, or something like that with the guavas, but after looking up guava recipes online, I found nothing of the sort. Most guava recipes online are for some kind of puree or preserves or jam or something like that. I found a recipe on Food.com that sounded interesting, though. It was called Guava Whip, but it sounded kind of like gauva custard. The sole reviewer put it in mini tart shells, and I thought that sounded like a great idea, so I picked up some of those graham cracker mini tart shells. Here is the recipe I made.
Guava Custard Tartlets
5 ripe guavas, peeled and chopped
2 tsp sugar
1½ tsp gelatin powder
2 tbsp hot water
½ cup prepared custard
5 graham cracker mini tart shells
Place guava in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Cover pan and bring to a boil. Boil until gauva is soft. If there is still a lot of water in the pot by the time the guava is soft, drain. Place guava in a fine mesh strainer and press out liquid and pulp with a rubber scraper. Discard the (mostly) dry flesh and seeds. Put the gauva puree back into the pot and add the sugar. Turn heat to low and cook gently until slightly thickened.
Dissolve the gelatin in the hot water and add to the guava puree. Whisk in the custard.
Pour into mini tart shells, cool, and refrigerate at least two hours. Garnish with a blob of whipped cream.
Makes 5 tartlets.
Now, I have to be honest, and tell you this will probably be my first and last foray into cooking with guava. Guava has a very odd texture. Some recipes I read online called for scooping the seeds out before doing anything else, but the guavas that I had were almost all seeds, so if I had scooped them out, there would have been nothing left. Now I know why all the recipes online were for purees or preserves. It's just not the kind of fruit you can cut up and put in a salad. They have a very weird texture. It could be that the cashier was right and that my guavas were not ripe; I still have no idea. I boiled them for a very long time before it was even close to soft. Once I boiled the heck out of it, it had the consistency of a raw pear. Kind of grainy.
The biggest problem I had with the guava was that it didn't seem to have much flavor. When my husband and I tried the tartlets, the general consensus was that it was really bland. The added sugar just made them generically sweet, but they didn't really taste very fruity at all. Definitely edible, but didn't have the "wow" factor I was expecting from cooking with tropical fruit.
So while I am glad that I can now say that I have cooked with and eaten guava, I think I will stick to other fruits in the future! I actually would like to try this recipe with another fruit sometime. I'm thinking strawberries, perhaps.