FEIJOA SPONGE PUDDINGS + Feijoa Compote

May 2nd, 2022

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As I walk around my neighbourhood at this time of year it is clear that it is feijoa season. Fruit hangs over fences and falls to the footpath, and there are boxes of help yourself “free” fruit sitting in driveways. If you live north of Otago, there is a good chance your neighbourhood has a similar situation.

Feijoas, originating in South America, have taken New Zealand gardens by storm, appearing to be almost as prolific as the obligatory lemon tree. With the ideal climate (in most of the country) they are an easy-care, non-deciduous tree (great for hedges), requiring little more maintenance than the time it takes to collect the fallen fruit come autumn.

We have four trees and three different varieties – “Kaiteri”, “Apollo” and “Anatoki” – that keep us well-stocked through April and May. The larger fruit – “Apollo” with its pointy base being the most favoured – is eaten fresh. While the smaller feijoas are scooped and cooked into a simple compote to serve with yoghurt or custard for a quick dessert, or added to a simple sponge pudding.

Feijoa Compote

With children who love to eat the largest feijoas and leave the smallest at the bottom of the fruit bowl, I often have extra feijoas that need to be cooked up. In exchange for allowing them to eat the largest fruit, I enlist my children’s help to get scooping. Their smaller nimble hands can do this so much faster than mine! I then cook the scooped flesh into a simple compote. Especially delicious served with warm custard or used as a base in sponge pudding (recipe below).

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes | Serves: 4

1 ½ cups scooped feijoa flesh (about 1kg fruit)

2-4 tbsp sugar or honey

  1. Place the scooped feijoa flesh into a saucepan. Choose one that has a wide base so that the excess moisture will evaporate during cooking. Heat over a moderate heat and as soon as the juices begin to simmer add the sugar or honey. Cook, stirring regularly until thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat, cool, and then pour into a jar. Store in the fridge, using within 1 week (or freeze for up to 3 months). Serve with yoghurt and muesli, or use as a base for feijoa sponge puddings (recipe follows).

Feijoa Sponge Puddings

This is the kind of pudding that reminds me of my nana. She always served dessert when we visited. When we arrived at their home I would always ask what was for dessert, with the same reply every time; “w & s pudding”. Wait and see! This is a simple sponge with the eggs and sugar whisked until voluminous. It is the trapped air in this mixture that brings lightness, so go gently when mixing in the dry ingredients and butter.
Servings 4
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 portion of Feijoa Compote (recipe above) - about 1 ¼ cups
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup plain flour - can use wheat, spelt or gluten-free flour mix
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 30 g butter, melted

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan 160ºC).
  • Lightly grease 4 x 1 cup ramekins or small ovenproof bowls. Or use a single dish about 20-22cm wide.
  • Evenly divide the feijoa compote between the ramekins, or spread in the base of the larger dish.
  • Make the sponge batter. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk), beat together the eggs and sugar on a medium speed until pale and thick - about 4-5 minutes. Sift over the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Use a spatula to gently fold together until streaks of flour are still visible. Add the melted butter and continue to fold until just combined. Be careful not to over mix so as to keep as much air in the batter as possible.
  • Evenly spoon the sponge batter into the ramekins (no more than ¾ full) or into the larger dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes for the small ramekins, or 25-30 minutes for a larger dish, until the sponge is golden on the surface and bounces back when gently pressed.
  • Serve the puddings warm with cream or ice cream.

Join the Conversation

  1. When we are either totally overwhelmed or “over” the feijoas, I just scoop and bag. They disappear into the freezer without a second thought. Then, in the middle of winter when the thought of feijoas springs to mind, pull the frozen feijoas out and leave to defrost. They look brown and horrible but oh so delicious on porridge or added to an apple crumble.

    1. Hi Sarah, yes I know the feeling and I do something similar. Although I take an extra step once the flesh is scooped I cook it (without any water or sugar) just until it comes to a boil, about 5 minutes total. Then cool and freeze. Stops the fruit from going brown once defrosted. An extra step, yes, but one I feel is worth the effort. I agree, it is such a treat to bring some feijoa deliciousness to the table when they are out of season.
      Happiest cooking, Nicola

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