Thursday, November 25, 2010

Prickly Pear Chiffon Cake

Now what is this exotic Prickly Pear?? They are known to few, the fruit of the nopales cactus (cacti with beaver tail-like paddles), are actually edible. Called prickly pears, these vibrant magenta color fruits are delicious,they taste like a cross between watermelon and pear. The best way to eat this is just cut it into halve and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. The juice is often used to make jam or candy, but works wonders in cocktails and used in vinaigrettes for salads. I've seen people used the juice to flavor cream cheese frosting for cakes and have seen others boil it down with a bit of orange and lemon juice to make a sauce for fruit salads and cheesecakes.

We used to have one huge cactus plant at my mom house and there were plenty of these fruits on it but during that time we have no clue that they are edible. So the birds had a field time eating the sweet fruits.

Many Mexican markets, farmers markets, and some natural food supermarkets carry prickly pears, but you can find these mostly in California, the Southwest and Mexico. You can imagine my excitement when I saw these prickly pear fruits at our produce place as it is not easy to find them here in PA and without any hesitations I grab a few of it. It cost me quite a bit of money too.

Here is what I made out of the beautiful fruits. The juice of this pear gives a really beautiful pink color to the batter but after baking it kind turn into bright orangey color.

1 ¾ cups Self Rising Flour
1/8 tsp of salt

6 egg yolks
1/3 cup of sugar
3/4 cup Prickly Pear juice (you need 4 prickly pear to get the juice)
1/4 cup of vegetable oil

3/4 cup of sugar
6 egg white
1 tsp of cream of tartar

1. Cut the prickly pear into halve. By using a spoon scoops out all the flesh. Put it in a food processor and give it a few pulses. Strain out the juice to get rid of the black seeds. Set it aside.

2. Pre-heat oven to 325 degree F. Sieve all the (A) ingredient in a mixing bowl until well combined. Mix ingredient (B) until well blended and then add in ingredient (A) and mix until smooth. Set it aside.
3. Whisk ingredient (C) in mixer over high speed until stiff peak. It should not fall out when you turn the mixing bowl over. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolks mixture and continue to do so until egg whites is finish. Remember to fold in gently until well mixed.

4. Pour batter into ungreased 10" tube pan and bake for an hour or used a bamboo skewer to test the cake. Just insert the skewer into the center of the cake and it should come out clean.
5. Invert cake and let it cool complete in the pan. When is cool, loosen the edge of the pan and remove cake.

Note : Be warned though, while the ones in markets have been cleaned of the tiny hair-like thorns, the ones fresh off the cactus plant are covered with them, so be sure to handle them with heavy leather work gloves and scrub them hard to ensure all the painful little barbs are off. Also the juice might stain your clothing too. Either way, please handles them carefully.

I want to wish eveyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and hope you all have a wonderful time with your family and friend.

I am submitting this second chiffon post to Aspiring Bakers #1: Chiffon Cake (Nov 2010) hosted by Small Small Baker


Zoe said...

I've never seen this pear before. I like the way to create this interesting chiffon. Happy Thanksgiving to you too :D

Lisa Ho said...

never would have guess it anyway :)...
Had it once ...(and was pricked)... and never looked at it again :(

ann low said...

I've never seen this before and this pear looks pretty.
Happy Thanksgiving Day.

My Little Space said...

I saw these before. There are lots of them at my neighbourhood but never thought that can be eaten! Are these considered as fruit? They will turned green when mature, right!
Thanks for sharing. What a wild guess? Anyone gets it correctly? haha....

Jeannie said...

Very pretty fruit! Happy Thanksgiving!

Little Inbox said...

It's so easy to consume, just like dragon fruit.

Small Small Baker said...

This is the first time I heard of this fruit and have never seen it before too! Thanks for introducing it to us and happy thanksgiving!

j3ss kitch3n said...

this is the first time i ever heard of this fruit! its really exotic! happy thanksgiving!

ReeseKitchen said...

I see now...think I can't find any from here eh..;p

hanushi said...

This is the first time I have seen/heard about this fruit. :) Interesting!! Nice chiffon too!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

I see, so it was a pear chiffon huh, sound interesting. My 1st time seen this kind of pear..

Honey Bee Sweets said...

I would never have guessed it in a million years! Especially since I have never come across this pear before. :P Happy Thanksgiving Gert!!

Anonymous said...

i've just watched a Taiwanese program featuring Italy this evening & it showed the cactus with this fruit everywhere in Sicili & it is edible. what a coincidence!

Anonymous said...

I've eaten prickly pears in Morocco where the vendors wear gloves and peel them, and sell each for about 10 cents. They are very sweet. I have purchased them here in the US and put them in my juicer to blend with other fruit juices.

Cheah said...

The prickly pear looks interesting! Doubt anyone guessed it right.

Anonymous said...

so interesting! thanks for sharing. wondering malaysia got this kinda fruit onot.


Food For Tots said...

Such an interesting fruit! The orange hue makes the chiffon cake look so yummy!

Smoky Wok (formerly Tastes of Home) said...

haha though I guessed pear, I missed it since it's this special kind of cacti..looks like a lovely chiffon cake though!

ICook4Fun said...

Zoe, thank you.

Lisa, the one I bought they all clean of torns. So easy to handle.

Anncoo, thank you.

Kristy, I never knew either until I live here in the US. Plenty of it in the West Coast. Yes, Wendy guess correctly.

Jeannie, Thank you.

Little Inbox, yes you were so close to guessing it right. If Wendy didn't guess Prickly Pear I would have given you the price :)

SSB, thank you.

ICook4Fun said...

Jsskitchen3n, thank you.

Reese, maybe cold storage might have it since they sell a lot of imported fruits.

Hanushi, thank you.

Sonia, this is cactus fruit.

Bee, you didn't see any of it when you were living in CA? I know there are plenty there.

Anon, yes it is :)

Anon, 10 cents each is really cheap. I paid over more than that :)

Cheah, yes Wendy did :)

Kinoko, maybe you can check out Cold Storage since they sell lots of imported fruits.

Food For Tots, yes it changes to orangy color after baking.

Jen, you should be able to get it in CA :)

Little Corner of Mine said...

I learned something new today and what a beautiful chiffon cake!

mycookinghut said...

I have never seen these before and I love the colour!

Brandon said...

you can also slice up the cactus paddles and cook them that way. my grandmother would fry them and then mix them with eggs so it was almost like green eggs and ham :)

Anonymous said...

In. Illinois, they start green and turn deep orangey-red. The plants paddle shrivel up in the fall but the plant is not dead. Rather, it gets a new start in the Spring, plumps up, and gets covered with new beautiful yellow flowers with orange tints. Then comes the green fruit which eventually turns red.

I puréed mine to add to other juice. But how do you get the membrane-like consistency to be less membrane-like?