Monday, August 2, 2010

RECIPE - Stewed Cashew Apples (Doce de Caju)

This is one recipe on Flavors of Brazil that is very unlikely to become one of your go-to recipes for a quick dessert at home - that is, unless you live here in northeast Brazil, where cashew apples (caju) are now in season and super-abundant. With it's thin and fragile skin, the cashew apple isn't amenable to long-distance transport when fresh, which limits the geographical size of its market.

However, not every recipe needs to be an instruction for possible use in one's kitchen. I've read and enjoyed many recipes in thousands of magazines and cookbooks that I hadn't the slightest intention of ever cooking myself. Some were too technical, some were too complicated, some were impossible to source, and some were just too expensive. But that didn't stop me reading the recipes. Recipes can be a source of learning and knowledge about something that is unknown and unfamiliar. Since this is the case, I'm offering this recipe in that spirit for the readers of this blog.
RECIPE - Stewed Cashew Apples (Doce de Caju)
Makes 10

10 ripe cashew apples (caju)
juice of one lime
1 quart (1l) water for boiling
1 1/2 cups (400 ml) water for stewing
1 cup granulated sugar

Using a kitchen towel, hold a cashew apple in one hand, and with the other hand protected by the towel twist off the kidney-shaped nut at the base of the cashew apple. (There are toxic chemicals in the raw nut, so do not attempt this procedure with unprotected hands). Discard the nut. Repeat with all the cashew apples. With a sharp paring knife, cut about 1/2 inch (1 cm) from the nut-end of the fruits to remove all traces of the nut.

Peel the fruits with a vegetable peeler. Using a toothpick, perforate the flesh of the fruits in several places. Bring the 1 quart of water to a boil in a large saucepan, then add the lime juice and then the cashew apples. Let them cook over high heat for ten minutes. Remove from heat and drain the fruits. Reserve.

In a medium saucepan, add the 1 1/2 cups of water and the granulated sugar and heat over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When simmering, add the cashew apples, and bring to a low boil. Lower the heat, partially cover the pan, and cook the fruit for 1 hour or until the cashew apples are soft and the syrup is lightly thickened.

Remove from heat and let the fruit cool in the syrup.

Serve at room temperature or chilled, accompanied by a small, sweet cookie, like a shortbread.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brazileira by Abril Editora.

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