The sight of tamarillos at our local farmer’s market still reminds me of my dad’s winter dessert specialty – sponge pudding. The dish itself wasn’t anything spectacular, but the combination of the tangy yet sweet fruit, with a moist crusty sponge topping, was always a simple warming treat.
While sponge puddings aren’t really part of my repertoire these days, I do still love the distinctly tart flavour of the tamarillo. My favourite way to prepare the fruit is to poach them in syrup, with the skins left on to bring out their brilliant ruby red hue. Kept in the fridge, or preserved in jars, they’re delicious spooned over a breakfast bircher muesli or just on their own served with yoghurt.
10 tamarillos (or however many fit standing up in a pan)
2-3 cups water
2 tablespoons honey
1 vanilla pod, split
Cut a cross on the pointed end of each tamarillo. Put the cut fruit into a pot, pointed side down with stalks sticking up (this makes taking them out of the liquid easier when it comes to removing the skin).
Add water to the pot until the tamarillos are just covered. Bring slowly to simmering point, and poach for about 15 minutes, or until the skin begins to separate from the fruit. Lift each tamarillo from the water with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
While the fruit is cooling, add the honey and vanilla pod to the liquid on the stove top. When the fruit is cool enough to handle, remove the skins, then return to the pot. Continue to poach for another 10-15 minutes. You want the fruit to be soft, but not falling apart completely. Leave to cool in the pan, and then transfer to storage jars. If you have a lot of excess liquid, you can drain and separate this to use as a syrup in smoothies or cocktails.