Tuesday 13 July 2010

Lightly Spiced South African Guava Ice Cream

The perfume of fresh guavas drifting through a warm kitchen is one of the quintessential scents of a South African childhood. It's impossible to describe the scent of a perfectly ripe guava to someone who hasn't experienced the coral-pink deliciousness of this most luscious fruit, which you'll find piled high in supermarkets, and on roadside stalls, during South Africa's winter months.

Lightly Spiced South African Guava Ice Cream
I've always taken guavas for granted - as children, we ate them fresh in bucketloads, and tinned guavas with tinned Ideal Milk (another classic South African treat; recipes here) - were a staple dessert in our household. I was interested, then, to read the comments about the rarity of guavas by an American intern working in South Africa during the World Cup. In her article Ten South African Things I Wish They Had in the USA, Samantha Hermann writes: 'In the US, guava is a rare, tropical, and expensive fruit. Here you can get fresh guava, guava juice, guava yogurt, dried guava, and the list goes on. As a guava lover, I am quite envious of South Africa in this regard.'

You may be wondering what has possessed me to want to make ice cream in the middle of winter.  Well, this is when guavas are in season in South Africa and, besides, there are many winter days here in Cape Town that are sunny and mild enough to warrant whipping out the ice cream machine.  (If you don't have such a gadget, use the freeze-and-beat method, which will result in a slightly crystalline but still most delicious ice).

This is a light, sugar-syrup-based ice cream with just a touch of cream (you can use yoghurt if you're watching calories). I have added a a stick of cinnamon and a star anise to the sugar syrup to give the ice cream a slight spiciness, but you can leave these out altogether if you would prefer a cold blast of pure guava flavour.

Lightly Spiced South African Guava Ice Cream
1½ cups (375 ml) water
1 cup (250 ml) white granulated sugar
one whole star anise
one 4-cm quill of cinnamon
one thumb-sized strip of fresh lemon zest, white pith removed
8 ripe guavas
2 tsp (10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
75 ml cream or plain white yoghurt

Put the water, sugar, star anise, cinnamon and lemon zest into a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sugar syrup is quite clear.  Set aside to cool completely, then place in the fridge for an hour or two, or until cold.  Top and tail the guavas, but do not peel. Cut into chunks and place in a liquidiser, or a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Whizz to a rough purée.  Tip the purée into a sieve set over a large bowl and, using the back of a soup ladle to press vigorously down on the pulp, strain off the liquid. Discard the pulp and seeds. Strain the chilled sugar syrup into the bowl containing the strained guava (discard the spices and lemon peel). Add the lemon juice and cream (or yoghurt), and stir well to combine. Place the mixture in the bowl of an ice cream machine and churn until done (or use the freeze-and-beat method). 

Serve the ice cream in chilled glasses (place them in the freezer an hour before you serve the dessert).

Serves 6 - 8
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Nina Timm said...

I love the smell of guavas in the house, especially my mom's house, it just fits there. In My house, I would prefer this delicsh ice-cream!!!

Marisa said...

Lovely! This is certainly a unique ice cream flavour and was similarly surprised that guavas are so rare in the US. Guess not everything is bigger & better over there... ;-)

Anonymous said...

I love poached guava's with star anise - so this should be right up my alley!

Kit said...

Great, another tasty way to use guavas. I'm going to try this very soon as our guava trees are prolific this year.
I've made a guava parfait with cardamom which was delicious, but never tried star anise with guavas, so another combination to explore.
Guavas taste like nothing in the UK either. I think they are big in South America, as a Brazilian friend uses them a lot.

Koek! said...

Well I understand what has possessed you to want to make ice cream in the middle of winter... My latest post is also an ice cream recipe! Love this one, too. I think it's a year-round treat...

Maryon said...

Would this work with tinned guavas?

We never get guavas here in the UK and when we do they are poor little hard green excuses for the fruit!
A much missed SA delicacy.

Jane-Anne said...

Thanks for the lovely comments all. Kit, how lucky are you to have your own guava trees? Love the idea of guavas with cardamom. Maryon, I think this will work very well with tinned guavas - let me know how it works out.

La Ratita said...

Delicious ice cream! It's really fantastic! And here, in Spain, with the hot weather we are having, we would be delighted to have one of those:)
Kisses from La Ratita

Cynthia said...

Juno, you are spot on with this comment: t's impossible to describe the scent of a perfectly ripe guava to someone who hasn't experienced the coral-pink deliciousness of this most luscious fruit... I love guavas and when they are ripe, the aroma envelopes and transports you. Love the stuff!

I've never tried making ice cream with it though it was on my list to experiment. Thanks for sharing that recipe. I hope to make some as soon as I can put my hands on some guavas, now coming in to season here.

Thanks for stopping by. I've subscribed to your feed.

Chantel said...

This is a great blog! I'm so pleased i stumbled upon it! This ice cream sounds divine! I'll have to try it!

Deeba PAB said...

Hey there Juno... love your style of writing and your blog. This is the first I've heard of guava ice cream, and I'm VERY intrigued. India is as tropical as SA, and so guavas as available almost round the year! Sounds like a great idea!