There’s only one problem with our annual feijoa windfall – there’s far too many of the little buggers. Emily Holdaway has some ideas to use them up.
The way we go on about feijoas in New Zealand you’d think it was a native. It’s not – the feijoa is actually native to central South America – and it’s known by other names around the world, including pineapple guava and guavasteen. But let’s not dwell on that too much; the feijoa is as Kiwi as beekeeping in jandals.
The season is short and intense. If you have a tree you’re picking up a bucket a day; if you don’t you’re eyeing your neighbours, wondering if you can get away with a midnight mission over the fence. You know this bounty will be over as soon as it’s begin.
So, here’s a few ways to keep the feijoa season going just a little while longer:
I can’t take any credit for this recipe. I got it off my mum, she got it off her best mate, and she got it from some radio show years ago. It’s done the rounds.
We made it a few days ago, and it was so good we ate it all and made it again the following day. (Photo: main image)
- 10 or so feijoas
- 180g soft butter
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- splash of vanilla essence
- 250g flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease your tin.
Scoop and mash or peel and slice the feijoas and set them to the side.
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and beat in. Add and mix in the flour and baking powder.
Press about three-quarters of the cake mix into the bottom of your greased tin. Spoon over the feijoa mixture and all that lovely feijoa juice. Use more feijoa if you need to. You want your fruit layer to be a good amount.
Dot the rest of the dough on top so as it cooks it spreads and the feijoa bubbles up through the cracks and it’s just amazing.
Cook for 40-ish minutes in a decent oven with fan bake, or for 60 minutes in a crappy oven like mine that you jam the door shut with the back of the chair.
Serve warm with whipped cream. Or just eat cold the next day as a slice.
* If you bang the butter in the microwave on defrost for a minute or so, it softens it without melting it too much.
* The original recipe added the juice and rind of 1 lemon, plus a tablespoon of caster sugar to the feijoa pulp, then left it to sit. I prefer it with no lemon or sugar because 1) I want it to taste of feijoas and 2) the cake mix is sweet enough, but it’s up to you. Lime would work too.
* Even non-feijoa-eating people like this cake.
SPICED FEIJOA & COCONUT CAKE
I created this cake two years ago. I had more feijoas than I knew what to do with, and none of the recipes online had the right mix of ingredients for my tastebuds.
We don’t bake a lot of cakes – our oven is poked – but this is foolproof. And delicious! Even people who don’t like feijoas will come back for seconds.
- 125g soft butter
- ½ cup soft brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 heaped cup of chopped feijoa pulp
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon each ground clove, nutmeg and cinnamon
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one and mix well. Mix in the feijoa pulp. Sieve in all the dry ingredients and stir. Add the coconut and mix well.
Spoon into a greased cake tin. Cook in a preheated oven at 180°C for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. (If you have a decent oven with fanbake, you probably only need 40 minutes).
Top tip: Spoon out the feijoa pulp and chop it in the measuring cup so you don’t lose any juice.
This cake doesn’t need icing, but if you wanted to be flash you could mix some sugar and feijoa juice and drizzle it over it.
LOW-SUGAR BOTTLED FEIJOAS
When I was a child, Nana’s preserved feijoas were the ultimate treat. They transformed plain boring cornflakes into the most delicious breakfast. They were also full of sugar, syrup so thick you could float a brick in it. Which was awesome, when I was nine.
We’re much more aware of our sugar consumption now, and I’ve been experimenting to see what sugar/water ratio works best.
- feijoas (heaps and heaps)
- a lemon (optional)
- sugar and water: I used the ratio of ½ cup sugar to 4 cups of water and it was perfect. It sweetened the feijoas and made a delicious light syrup
Peel and chop shitloads of feijoas.
Add the sugar, water and lemon juice to a pot. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil.
Add your feijoas. As soon as the water is almost back to a boil and bubbling, turn it off.
Bottle in sterilised jars.
These will last in the cupboard for months. Worth a fortune when kept until Christmas/New Year’s then sold to the highest bidder.
BONUS RECIPE: FEIJOA SYRUP!
After bottling the feijoas, pour the leftover syrup into a clean sterilised jar. As it cools it will seal – and the syrup will last for ages.
Bring it out in the summer time, paired with tonic water and a splash of gin. Or splash some into some soda water. Or with some lemonade. Or half/half it with water to make a delicious feijoa juice drink for the kids. Or mix it into your winter wellness lemon and honey drink. Or just scull it straight when you’re having a shit day and coffee isn’t working – it helps.
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.