Despite my long-held belief that one did not exist in the Portland metro area, I have finally found a truly great Mexican market.* A voluminous produce aisle, bin after bin of dried and fresh chiles, banana leaves, you name it. It even had something I had never heard of or seen before: xoconostle. At first I thought they were prickly pears, but upon further inspection I discovered they were smaller, paler, and spineless. Throwing caution to the wind, I bought some. Once I got them home and cut them open, I was even more confused. Not only was the flesh pale and all the seeds centered in the middle, unlike a prickly pear, but the things were sour. Like, lemon sour. As in, would probably make a super-refershing sorbet sour.
With no recipe to go on, I peeled them with a vegetable peeler, scooped out the seeds, and tossed them in a blender with about a cup of sugar, 2/3 cup water, and a splash of triple sec to keep the mixture from freezing too hard (vodka would’ve worked, but I didn’t have any). The purée looked exactly like pink grapefruit and tasted super-refreshing indeed, like a cross between a kiwi and a lemon. If you can find these in your area, give them a try! They’d probably be interesting in a fruit compote as well.
As below, it made about 4 servings.
*La Tapatia at 183rd and Stark in Gresham, for you locals.
• 2 lbs. xoconostle fruit: $2.46
• 1 cup sugar: 30 cents
• Splash of triple sec: 10 cents
TOTAL: $2.86/4 = 72 cents/serving
Peel, scoop out the seeds, and put in a blender. Add sugar and triple sec. Blend, chill for a couple of hours, and churn in your ice-cream maker per manufacturer’s instructions.