Could this be the perfect winter dessert? (Photo: Emma Boyd)

Recipe: Poached tamarillos with vanilla labneh

Ah, the tamarillo, another curiously New Zealand fruit that’s not actually a New Zealand fruit. But who cares when these tart, egg-shaped beauties make for as good a pud as this.

We have a tamarillo tree that grows behind a row of feijoa trees up against our old shed down the back of our garden. It is no longer standing as you might expect a tree to be, its soft wood and the weight of the fruit it miraculously bears every autumn has seen it give under its own weight. Every year we figure must be its last, yet on it goes giving forth the most beautiful fruit. Last year we turned a big batch into tamarillo chutney and this year we have been enjoying them poached atop creamy winter porridge, or, as in this recipe, on creamy vanilla-scented labneh with crunchy brandy snaps.

POACHED TAMARILLOS WITH VANILLA LABNEH

Serves 6

  • 6 tamarillos, cut lengthwise in two
  • 2½ cups water
  • ½ cup (100g) white sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 55g butter
  • 75g brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (40g) wholemeal flour (white is fine also)
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 550g labneh (from last week’s recipe)
  • 3-4 tablespoons rapadura sugar (brown is fine too)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Put the tamarillos into a large saucepan along with the water, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the tamarillos are soft.  

Carefully remove the fruit from the liquid with a slotted spoon, put on a plate and set aside. Continue to simmer the liquid until it thickens into a syrup. Remove from the heat and set aside.

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Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Heat the butter and the brown sugar until melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little before adding the ginger, cinnamon and a salt.

Place small balls of the mixture onto the lined oven tray and press down gently. Bake for 8 minutes or until bubbly and golden. They will spread into each other but this is OK as you break them up to serve anyway.  To serve, divide the labneh among 6 plates, top with two tamarillo halves, some tamarillo syrup and some brandy snap broken into pieces.


The Spinoff’s food content is brought to you by Freedom Farms. They believe talking about food is nearly as much fun as eating it, and they’re excited to facilitate some good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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