Sunday, December 13, 2009

Feijoa Bread

My mom has two huge lines of shrubbery along each side of her house. Each one is about 15' tall, 35' long, and 10' thick. The hedges have thick trunks, shiny elliptical leaves, and very pretty flowers (which are delicious) that look like this:

photo by Eran Finkle - ערן פינקל's
These shrubs, or trees as they were, are commonly known as pineapple guava, or feijoa (pronounced /feɪˈʒoʊ.ə/)The latin name is Feijoa sellowiana. The genus Feijoa is monotypic, meaning it is the only type of plant within the genus. The green ellipsoid fruit, which matures in autumn has a distinctively aromatic sweet flavor. The flesh is juicy and is divided into a clear jelly-like seed pulp and a firmer, slightly gritty, opaque flesh nearer the skin. (wikipedia)

Most often feijoas are eaten raw, cutting or breaking the fruit in half and scooping the flesh out with a spoon...or as I usually do, with your teeth. But I am always looking to try something different. Years back I brought a bag of feijoas from my mom's house into the restaurant and made an infused vodka. I served up a feijoa cocktail to my friend Linda one night, who was transported back to her time in New Zealand. Large quantities of feijoas are grown in the South Pacific island country, and are commonly left to macerate in vodka. In fact, there is a drinks manufacturing company based in downtown Auckland, called 42 Below, that is renowned for its feijoa (as well as passionfruit, kiwi and honey) flavored vodka.

Apparently, it is also possible to buy Feijoa yogurt, fruit drinks, jam, ice-cream, etc. in New Zealand, and is also a popular ingredient in chutney. My mom once made a wonderful feijoa sorbet. She served it, as is often done in Italy, as a palate cleanser between courses. Recently I tried to make a feijoa custard, but it didn't come out just right. I decided that next time I would make a vanilla custard and make a feijoa sauce to spoon over it.

At any rate, I came home from my mom's the other day with another huge bag of feijoas, and wanted to make something new. I scooped out all of the flesh and made a puree, still not quite sure what I was going to do with it. I woke up Saturday morning, and it hit me: feijoa bread. I had a bag of gluten-free flour in the pantry, and so decided to make my bread sans gluten. It turned out to be a delicious cake, but it did become quite dry over the next couple days, so I would suggest eating in one sitting. ;^) Next time I think I'll add another egg, or just go for wheat flour.


2 cups gluten-free flour blend
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups feijoa pureé
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease medium bread pan with butter and reserve. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and then make a well in the center. Add eggs, feijoa, sugar, and butter (cooled so to not cook the egg) to the center and combine them before folding into the rest of the dry ingredients. Pour or spoon batter into your bread pan. Bake for an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean, and Bob's your uncle! Cool for a few minutes before removing from pan, and then cool on a wire rack. Devour.

We will have to see what new culinary adventure my next feijoa encounter brings...I won't be surprised if I end up making feijoa bread again. And again.

Oh, by the way, don't be afraid to spread some extra butter on your warm slices. Wrap your laughing gear around that!

p.s. If you're patient enough to try your hand at making feijoa wine, check out Jack Keller's site.

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