Winter brings tangy tamarillos – perfect with our kamahi or manuka honey
Tamarillos have a short growing season. They fruit in winter, from May to July, so now is the time to get in quick and make the most of them.
Some people love them, while others aren’t so keen. I love them and tamarillos can be used in a wide range of dishes. They are most commonly eaten raw where they are cut in half and eaten with a teaspoon – much like a kiwifruit.
Tamarillos are also delicious on toast. I cut them into slices, or mush them up, put them on hot buttered Vogels toasts and sprinkle them with loads of salt and pepper. They can be made into fruit pies, chutneys, sauces – they are especially good with chillies – used on cheesecakes, stewed with apples and added to salads.
Tamarillos, like feijoas, are a fruit of South and Central American origin that first arrived here in the late 19th century. They have also been called tree tomato, being a distant relative of regular tomatoes, along with eggplants and chillies from the nightshade family.
Tamarillos are tangy and usually sweet, with a bold and complex flavour that differs by variety. The red varieties tend to be tart and a sprinkling of sugar can be needed, while the yellow varieties are sweeter.
Below are two delicious, simple dessert recipes where we have sweetened these versatile, tasty fruit with our raw honey. Choose firm fruit that are heavy for their size. When ripe, tamarillos should be fragrant, yield slightly to finger pressure and the stems should be black, not green.
Baked tamarillos with ricotta and honey
- 8 large tamarillos
- 4 Tbsp raw honey. We recommend raw kamahi honey for an intense taste sensation. It is a pale, beautifully buttery golden colour with a smooth, creamy texture.
- 25 g butter
- ½ vanilla bean, split to release seeds and cut into 2-3 pieces
- 4 Tbsp water
- 4 Tbsp cream
- 1 pot ricotta cheese (around 125 grams)
- Extra runny raw kamahi honey at room temperature to serve.
- Heat the oven to 160C. Choose a non-metallic ovenproof dish in which the tamarillos fit well with no extra space. Butter the dish well.
- Place the tamarillos in a large heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Leave to stand until the skins will come away easily, up to 5 minutes. Drain then peel the skin off each tamarillo and cut in half lengthwise.
- Place the tamarillo halves in the dish, cut side uppermost. Drizzle over the honey and dot with butter. Place vanilla bean pieces in the dish, then pour in the water. Cover the dish tightly with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 45-60 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, remove foil and spoon over the cream. Return tamarillos to the oven, uncovered, for a further 5-10 minutes to allow the cream to melt into the cooking juices.
- Serve baked tamarillos with a small bowl of good quality ricotta and a dish of our lovely runny kamihi honey.
Baked tamarillos with honey and red wine
This recipe is by Jan Bilton.
- 2 Tbsp manuka honey
- 250mls red wine
- 6 large tamarillos, red or gold with stems on
- 2 star anise
- Preheat the oven to 160c.
- With the point of a sharp knife, make a small cross in the skin at the pointed end of each tamarillo. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Stand for 2-3 minutes, drain and refresh in cold water.
- Cut each tamarillo in quarters from the pointed end almost to the stem end. Roll back the skin from the point to the stem end. Place in a baking dish.
- Combine the red wine, honey and star anise and simmer until the honey is dissolved. Pour over the tamarillos. Cover loosely.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, remove the cover, baste the tamarillos and continue baking until tender, about 10 minutes. Cool. Great served with whipped cream or ice-cream.