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Candied papaya parfaits

Candied papaya parfaits
Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Last year around this time as I passed a neighbor's house, a powerful sense of deja vu overwhelmed me and, out of nowhere, I was filled with pleasant memories of island vacations. Hawaii? What was it about this unremarkable stucco ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes plus overnight chilling | Serves 8
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 not-quite-ripe papayas (about 3 pounds total), halved, seeds scraped out, peeled and cut into 2-inch-by- 1/2-inch strips
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated piloncillo brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick, cracked in half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup crumbled or grated queso blanco
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened grated coconut or
  • Mint leaves for garnish

Step 1Combine the water and baking soda in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the papaya pieces and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. With a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the fruit strips to a platter lined with paper towels; set aside.

Step 2Meanwhile, toast the cloves in a small skillet until fragrant, about 1 minute, and lightly crush them. Add the crushed cloves, piloncillo, granulated sugar and cinnamon to the papaya cooking liquid and cook over medium-high heat until the syrup is thick enough to thinly coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Step 3Return the papaya to the pan and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat. The syrup will turn a very dark amber. Let the papaya cool in the syrup, then transfer it, along with the syrup, to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Step 4The next day, put the heavy cream in a cold mixing bowl and whisk or beat, slowly adding the powdered sugar, until it holds soft peaks. Fold in the sour cream.

Step 5Drop 1 tablespoon of the queso blanco into each of 8 chilled martini glasses. Lay 4 slices of candied papaya on top. Add another tablespoon of crumbled queso blanco, then 4 more papaya slices. Drizzle some of the syrup over each, then spoon a dollop of whipped cream on top. Garnish each parfait with grated coconut, toasted for 13 to 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven, or mint leaves, as desired.

Note: From "New World Kitchen" by Norman Van Aken. To serve this, you'll need eight martini glasses or similarly festive glassware. Piloncillo is solid brown sugar, available in Latin markets. You can substitute three-fourths cup packed dark brown sugar. Queso blanco, white cheese, is available in Latin markets.


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