Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fiji Pawpaw Rum Cake aka Papaya Rum Cake

When I have too much ripe fruit I freeze it. Sometimes I then end up with too much frozen fruit. This recipe helps use up a lot of pawpaw aka papaya quickly.

Fiji Pawpaw Rum Cake

Fruit filling
1.5 cups pawpaw, diced (I defrost and drain the frozen pawpaw I've been accumulating, the pawpaw is softer and easier to mix after being frozen, the flavors also intensify with the liquid drained out)
1 cup dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, mixed fruit, whatever I have that day)
2 tablespoons citrus juice (lime, lemon, orange, whatever you've got handy)
.5 cup dark or flavored rum (in the interest of baking you should try a variety of rums, decide which flavors complement the pawpaw best. Or invite me over, I'll sample the options, give you my professional opinion)

Add directly to the prepared bundt cake pan:
4 tablespoons butter
.75 cup brown sugar

Cake Mix
2 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups granulated sugar <-- this is a lot of sugar, feel free to use less
1 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons baking powder **hint: this is going to be a dense cake
.75 cup butter, diced
4 eggs
.5 cup yogurt or coconut cream or evaporated milk or a mixture of all of them
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or more if you love vanilla the way I love vanilla)
1 tablespoon citrus zest (lemon, lime, orange, whatever you've got on hand)
1 cup dessicated coconut

Rum Glaze (I skip this step, it's already a very sweet very moist cake)
.5 cup butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
.5 cup rum

In a bowl, combine the diced pawpaw, dried fruit and lemon juice. Add .5 cup rum and allow to soak for half an hour... or overnight...or a week.

Spray a large 12 cup bundt pan with cooking spray and add 4 tbs melted butter and .75 cup brown sugar to the bottom of the prepared pan. With a tablespoon strain 5 heaping tbs of the fruit mixture and add to the sugar mixture in the bottom of the cake pan.

Cream your sugar and butter together, add your eggs one at a time, the yogurt (or coconut cream), vanilla and remaining fruit mixture. Slowly add in the dry ingredients, lemon zest, and coconut, occasionally scraping the bowl, until well mixed. Add in anything you forgot because, well, someone had to sample the rum.

Pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake in a preheated oven at 325°F/165°C for 1 hour. Check for doneness with a wooden pick. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. If skipping the rum glaze you can serve immediately after cooling, otherwise go to the next step:

Rum Glaze: In a small pan on the stove, mix butter, brown sugar and rum and bring just to a boil. Spoon the glaze onto the cake until it is completely absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight. Before turning out the cake onto a serving platter, warm it in a 325°F/165°C oven for 10 minutes to loosen the sugar mixture at the bottom of the pan. The cake will be very delicate.

Take a picture and send it to me. This cake goes so fast I can never get a picture first. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's Different This Time

I've been in Suva for a month now. It's different this time. I'm trying to pinpoint the exact reason why. In some ways, it's easier.

My first visit to Fiji was a hotel visit. Every morning my husband would get up and go to work, our son and I would head down to the lobby for breakfast. We swam in the pool, explored Suva, on the weekend we ventured out to a resort and watched spinner dolphins jump in the sunshine.

 By the time of my second visit and later visits we were in a house. That was much more of a cultural experience than staying in a hotel room. For one thing, because we had a kitchen I *had* to go to the store and the market for groceries. It also rained every day of my visit. Even so, I had coffee almost daily with neighbors and enjoyed my stay. Because all of our belongings either came with us in a suitcase or were provided with the home, the visit felt more like camping than being home.

 It's different now.

 Part of the difference is easy to see: we have our stuff with us. Everything is physically in close proximity to us. Unpacked? Well, that's a whole different story. But it's here. The biggest differences are more internal. Before when I couldn't find something, I laughed and chalked it up to the grand adventure. Now, if I can't find anything, I have to decide if I'm going to let it mess with my mind, or if it's still part of the grand adventure. One thing is for certain: If I can't find it, I don't have the option of just getting it back in New York. 

Speaking of which: where is home now? If I book a trip "home" what airport code do I enter?