In our second exclusive extract from her new cookbook , Janet De Neefe shares one of her favourite recipes with ILVE.
“One of the lovely things about living in the tropics is the abundance of exotic fresh fruit all year round. Before we extended our guesthouse we had papaya growing wild on the property. In those early days when the Honeymoon Bakery had just begun (Casa Luna, our first restaurant, came later),
I experimented with papaya in all different ways. I made papaya jam, relish, sorbet and muffins and, finally, lime-papaya meringue pie. Papaya – particularly red-fleshed rather than yellow-fleshed, which can taste a little muddy – is a fruit I am very fond of, not only for its subtle flavour and glorious colour, but also because of its health properties. It’s loaded with betacarotene, vitamins A, C and E, and a tonne of minerals, as well as containing
a powerful enzyme that – you guessed it – aids digestion. I also read that it contains rejuvenating properties to help fight premature ageing. No wonder some folk call it the fruit of angels. I drink it blended with lime juice every day and love the tangy vitality of the combination. And, let’s face it, I would do anything to capture the promise of anti-aging!
In this pie, the papaya and lime features as a curd filling with the same smooth texture and richness of a classic lemon curd. It almost tastes like it is made with mango and happens to be fantastic spread on hot buttered toast.” – Janet De Neefe
• 250 g peeled and seeded red papaya, chopped
• 200 ml water
• 220 g (I cup) white sugar
• ½ cup cornflour
• ¼ teaspoon sea salt
• 125 ml lime juice
• 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
• 60 g butter
• 4 egg yolks
Short crust Pastry
• 200 g (1½ cups) plain flour
• 50 g icing sugar
• ¼ teaspoon sea salt
• 150 g chilled unsalted butter, roughly chopped
• 1 egg
• 3 eggwhites
• sea salt
• 100 g caster sugar
To make the pastry, put the flour, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and blitz to combine. Add the butter and blitz until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the egg and blitz to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, then form into a disc. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Butter a 24 cm loose-bottomed pie tin (or 8 individual tins). Roll the dough out on the floured surface to 5 mm thick and lay inside the tin. Trim off the excess pastry and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cover the pastry shell with baking paper, fill with pastry weights or rice and bake blind for 15 minutes (or 10 minutes for individual pies). Remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 5–10 minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool.
To make the lime-papaya curd, put the papaya and water in a blender and blend to a smooth juice. Put the sugar, cornflour and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Stir in the papaya juice, lime juice and zest and place over medium–high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to the boil. Stir in the butter until melted, then remove from the heat.
Begin whisking the egg yolks in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Gradually whisk in the hot papaya mixture. Swap the whisk for a spoon and slowly heat, stirring constantly, for 10–20 minutes, or until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Pour the curd into the pastry shell.
Preheat the oven again to 180°C. Make the meringue by beating the eggwhites and a pinch of salt until foamy. Add the sugar gradually and continue to beat until you have stiff peaks. Spread the meringue over the pie right to the pastry edge. Use the back of a spoon to pull the meringue up into decorative peaks. Bake the pie for 10 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown.
Recipe courtesy of BALI: The Food of My Island Home by Janet De Neefe. Published by PLUM. RRP$59.99. Available in all good bookstores from November 8.
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