I forgot to mention before that I’m finishing my doctorate in the field of quantum medicinal chemistry. Substituting the computer simulations for baking and photographing was a big change in my life, and I’m passionate and excited with those discoveries. As I have to return to Brazil to finish the program, I decided to stay in my parent’s house to learn and share with you some typical recipes from my region.
The autumn is beginning in the southern hemisphere. It is also the marolo’s season. Marolo (Annona crassiflora) also known as Araticum is a Brazilian fruit relative of the soursop, cherimoya, and sugar apple fruits. This fruit is fairly large, with highly aromatic pulp. It is native to Central and South America occurring in semi-arid scrub land forests. In Brasil, it occurs between March and April in a tropical savanna ecoregion named Cerrado, mainly in south Minas Gerais. I took the photo below on my uncle’s farm. It is exotic, isn't?
The marolo pulp contain up to 40 black seeds. It is white or reddish in color, aromatic and flavorsome. It has a creamy texture and with a delightful sweet-sour balance. The exterior is grayish green, rough and knobbly. It is eaten mostly fresh and also employed to make liqueur, sweets, ice creams and cakes. The best way for eating it is to split open the fruit, scoop a spoonful of pulp into the mouth, and enjoy the fleshy segments while separating the hard seeds in the mouth. To be honest with you, this fruit is best served as candies, especially using my mother’s marolo candy recipe, which it prepared with dulce de leche.
The preparation of these sweets it is a little bit dificult. First, it is necessary to remove the seeds from the pulp by cooking with water for 40 minutes, until it form a paste. Then dulce de leche is made combining milk and sugar in a cooper pan. When the dulce de leche is dark caramel, the marolo pulp is added. In this step the mixture needs to be stirred vigorously with a wood spoon. The candies can be creamy and hardy according to the stirring time. The hardy is done when the candy loose from the pan.
This time, beside the candies, I also prepared ice cream. It was the first time that we did this and the result was absolutely fantastic. To prepare it, I mixed the marolo creamy candy, cream and milk.
(my mother's recipe)
1 marolo (about 250g without the seeds)
1 cup water
1 kg sugar
2 l milk
Place the pulp and the water in a saucepan and cooking in a medium heat for 40 minutes or until form a paste.
Combine the milk and sugar in a large pan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally with a wood spoon, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered at a bare simmer. Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture. Continue to cook until dark caramel for approximately 2 hours . Add the marolo pulp. In this step the mixture needs to be stirred vigorously. The candies can be creamy and hardy according to the stirring time. The hardy is done when the candy loose from the pan.
Marolo Ice Cream
(how to make without a machine from David Lebovitz)
250g marolo creamy candy
450 ml milk
Combine the marolo creamy candy, the cream and milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Put a deep baking dish, or bowl made of plastic, stainless steel or something durable in the freezer, and pour your mixture into it. After forty-five minutes, open the door and check it. As it starts to freeze near the edges, remove it from the freezer and stir it vigorously with a spatula or whisk. Really beat it up and break up any frozen sections. Return to freezer. Continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously as it’s freezing. If you have one, you can use a hand-held mixer for best results, or use a stick-blender or hand-held mixer. But since we’re going low-tech here, you can also use just a spatula or a sturdy whisk along with some modest physical effort. Keep checking periodically and stirring while it freezes (by hand or with the electric mixer) until the ice cream is frozen. It will likely take 2-3 hours to be ready. Transfer the ice cream to a covered storage container until ready to serve.