Have you ever had dragon fruit? Personally, I find the red fruit the most sensuous flavor and aroma. I love it, I crave it, and I must have it! Squeeze fresh lime juice over your freshly opened dragon fruit just prior to eating-Sensational!!! Plus – it is very high in anti-oxidants called phytoalbumin which prevents the formation of cancer-causing free radicals. You must give it a try.
Pitahaya is native to Mexico, Central, and South America, Hylocereus Undatus vines grow in the tropics worldwide. Not necessarily the land of dragons you may think. This variety is named “Lake Atitlan” for a lake in Guatemala that lies high among Central American volcanoes.
The round fruit is covered with distinguished scales and can get up to 5 inches long. Enclosed in the thin rind is a large mass of sweetly flavored pulp and numerous small black seeds. The fruit can be eaten out-of-hand, and is also used as a flavoring in pastries and drinks. The red fleshed varieties contain lycopene – a natural antioxidant known to fight cancer, heart disease, and lower blood pressure. Despite the health and beauty benefits from this exotic fruit; it has gone virtually unnoticed for centuries and is still not something that is familiar to Western consumers. History tells how this species reached Hawaii in 1830 in a shipment of plants loaded at a Mexican port aboard a ship en route from Boston to Canton, China.
During the journey most of the plants died and were being discarded during a stopover in Hawaii, but the Captain noticed that the strawberry pear was still partly alive. Cuttings were planted and flourished and the cactus became a common ornamental in the islands. The name of the Dragon fruit flowers is “Queen of the night” because is a night blooming flower. The flower is large with waxy and white petals. The flower unpacked itself around midnight, opening fully. This is definitely the best time to experience the flower strong fragrance.
The stems of these perennial plants are fast-growing creepers. It has triangular or barely 4-5 branched stems. The stems of this exotic fruit plants are fleshy, vine-like and consists of several branched segments. Every segment has 3-4 wavy wings, which are corneous with 1-3 spines or at times, they are spineless. The height of this stem is about 5-6 meter tall and forms dense masses.
The roots enable them to creep over rocks, trees or cling to the walls. The flower of this plant consists of 3-5 spherical buttons, which arises from the stem margins. Later on, these buttons develop into flower buds, which are pale greenish, cylindrical and is 10-20 centimeters long. The flowers are huge, showy and hermaphrodite. It has pinkish or whitish-pink flowers that are aromatic, nocturnal and bell-shaped. It blooms rapidly and the petals close by day-break.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup ground almond flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
4 large egg whites
1 cup dragon fruit, cut into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Spray the inside of 12 financier molds or muffin cups with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, and let the butter melt and bubble. After a few minutes, you will hear the bubbling stop. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes (the froth will dissipate) before straining it to remove the little dark butter particles at the bottom of the pan. If this is your first time browning butter, you can read more about it here. In a large bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, ground almond flour, and sweet rice flour. Add the egg whites and mix. Add the brown butter, and mix with a whisk until smooth. Divide the batter among the molds. Press 3-4 pieces of dragon fruit onto the surface of each. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
For Sponge Cake
70g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1 tbsp glucose
1 tsp vanilla extra
1/2 tsp baking soda
1. Sift flour and baking soda.
1. Beat eggs, sugar and salt on medium speed till foamy.
3. Add in glucose and continue beat till 5 times in volume and ribbon-like.
4. Add in sifted flour and baking soda, beat on LOW speed till mix well.
5. Mix oil and milk and pour 1/3 of the batter and mix well.
6. Pour the milk batter to the remaining flour batter and mix well
7. Pour batter in a round pan and bake for 20 – 30mins at 180c.
7. Remove from the oven and invert the pan immediately. Let cool completely before unmould.
Red Pitaya Sauce
200g red pitaya fresh (chopped)
100g caster sugar (I reduced to 50g)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp gelatin powder
2 tbsp hot water
200g fresh cream (whipped) I reduced to 100g & replaced by 150g non-fat plain yogurt
2 tbsp kirsch (I replaced by vanilla extract)
50g red pitaya sauce