Guava season is here! A couple of weeks ago, I stopped at Freshmart, the local health food/market chain to pick up a few items on the way back home. Once I stepped into the store, the smell of ripe guavas stopped me on my tracks. It’s no coincidence these sweet, fragrant fruits were placed right by the entrance… and that I fell prey to the supermarket’s logistics game.
Oh… did I tell you I had never cooked a guava in my life at that time? (Hangs head in recently shed shame). With guava paste, jelly, and marmalade so readily available, I never felt the need to.
I turned to the Puerto Rico cooking bible, Cocina Criolla, for guidance on how to turn the 1.5 pounds of guavas I bought into jam/sauce. In addition to this recipe, the book also includes recipes for the paste, shells (casquitos), and jelly. All of them only have two ingredients: guava and sugar. The guava sauce I made called for equal parts sugar and ripe, unpeeled pureed fruit. Jelly and paste use unripe guavas because these are higher in pectin. Pectin is that magic component in fruit that thickens jams, jellies, and sauces. Other fruits high in pectin include apples, cranberries, and citrus.
To make the guava sauce, I washed well the 1.5 pounds of guava. I quartered the fruit and pureed it on the food processor. The total puree yield was close to 1 1/3 cups. I measured equal amounts of sugar, and combined all the ingredients in a saucepan. This mixture is cooked over medium heat for about fifteen minutes, until all the sugar melts into the puree and the color deepens. It is important to stir the sauce continuously and carefully. Once it begins to boil, be very careful and lower the heat as needed.
I made this sauce as a substitute of sorts for the Rice Pudding and Caramel Apples, a recipe recently prepared by the French Fridays with Dorie crew. Dorie Greenspan’s Arborio rice pudding is the perfect blank but not bland canvas to highlight this delicious jam. Unlike the more traditional Puerto Rican arroz con dulce made with coconut milk, this rice pudding is super creamy, in no small part due to the high starch amount in the Arborio Rice. It’s cooked over the stovetop for close to fifty minutes. I used some vanilla extract my mother brought back from Dominica, and frankly it blew my mind. This is probably because I am not a fan of arroz con dulce and didn’t have the highest expectations.
I know this is not this week’s French Fridays recipe, Muenster Cheese Soufflés, but one Mrs. Mary Hirsch challenged me not to miss any Fridays in year #4 and I’m doing my best to stick to that. That said, there’s a piece of Muenster from WI in the deli drawer of my refrigerator that will rise to the occasion (ha!).
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group where the fearless Doristas tackle a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. The group celebrated Mme. Greenspan’s birthday! Although I couldn’t squeeze in an extra recipe this week, I made sure to extend my warmest wishes to this lovely, lovely lady. I hope she enjoys this tropical twist on one of her recipes.