Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two local newspapers feature recipes starring starfruit

Starfruit is getting a lot of press lately. Both the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel have featured starfruit or carambola recipes for their pre-Thanksgiving editions.

The first recipe makes a tropical switch. Instead of pineapple, bake a Carambola Upside Down Cake. The second is Carambola Pickles! I'm intrigued. I've never done pickled anything before. Pickled starfruit will look beautiful.

Carambola Upside Down Cake
Excerpts from an 11/18/08 article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Makes 8 servings. Serve with whipped nondairy topping or whipped cream.

1 to 2 Florida carambolas, sliced 1/8-inch thick
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
Juice of 2 Florida passion fruit*
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Arrange sliced carambolas decoratively in bottom of a greased 9-inch cake pan as close together as possible.
  3. Mix together 1/4 cup melted butter, brown sugar and passion fruit juice and pour into pan, lifting and rotating pan so mixture covers bottom. Set aside.
  4. Cream together 1/2 cup softened butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well.
  5. Mix together dry ingredients. Add flour mixture, alternately with milk.
  6. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Pour into prepared cake pan.
  7. Bake 40 minutes or until cake pulls away from side of pan and center is set.
  8. Let cool five minutes before inverting onto serving plate.
*If you can't find passion fruit you can substitute 2 tablespoons passion fruit juice available at supermarkets.

Quick Carambola Pickles
Excerpt from an 11/20/08 article in the Miami Herald

The star-shaped carambola's tart, juicy taste make excellent spicy pickles that will wake up your mouth.

Makes 8 servings

Do ahead: Pickles may be prepared 1 week in advance.

8 carambolas (star fruit)
½ cup cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
½ cup orange juice
4 inches stick cinnamon
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
3 star anise
1 tablespoon finely shredded orange zest
  1. If the edges of the carombola ribs are brown, trim away discoloration with a vegetable peeler. Cut fruit into 3/8-inch slices and set aside.
  2. Combine the vinegar, sugar, orange juice, cinnamon, peppercorns and anise in a saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 7 minutes.
  5. Remove mixture from heat and remove spices with a slotted spoon.
  6. Add the carambola slices and orange zest to the hot syrup, and let them steep for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove slices with a slotted spoon. Cool the liquid to room temperature and refrigerate until cold.
  8. Return carambola to the syrup and refrigerate, covered.