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.
This sounds so refreshing! I actually used to eat cactus fruit when I was young…My grandfather was a geographer at Cal, and he’d take me and my brother on road trips every summer. We’d often drive through the desert, and he’d always stop on the side of the road and pick cactus fruit for us to eat! I loved it… until the time I actually *fell* on a cactus. After that incident, stopping for cactus fruit suddenly wasn’t so fun anymore. Haha. :-p