After traveling through Asia, guavas (along with dragonfruit) are what I miss the most. The guavas abroad (especially in tropical areas) are large, crunch, sweet, and slightly sour. In fact, the de facto ice cream shop in Taipei Snow King proudly proclaims one of its signature flavors: guava ice cream.
Growing up, my first guava was the pineapple guava. When my sister and I rode our bikes throughout our neighborhood on the weekend, we often stopped by these…guava bushes for a light snack. I can’t recall if these trees were off the road on someone’s yard or whether we romped through prickly weeds, but I can remember reaching for them without much effort, knowing that most people in the neighborhood were not as intrepid and perhaps too conservative (doesn’t it look unseemingly to pick guavas?) to eat these small pineapple guavas.
When I first traveled to Thailand, I was astounded. Green crunchy things (that to me weren’t as “plain” as apples). I fell in love. Whenever I travel to Southeast Asia, I always do a search for these things. I can’t wait until my next experience to show guavas my love.
I tried my best to find similar guavas in the Bay Area, but nothing quite compared. They were small and slightly raw (obviously imported). But I did it with ice cream. Poaching the guavas accentuates the nice sweet flavor. I added a few spices to give the ice cream a lift. Rather than starting with a custard, I made the ice cream with the cornstarch base so that the eggs don’t cover the joy of guavas!
Adapted from Drizzle and Dip
4 or 2 pounds of guavas
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 star anise pods
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of water
3/4 cup of poaching syrup (prepared after poaching guavas)
2 1/2 cups of whole milk, half & half, heavy cream or combination
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Prepare the guavas for poaching. Peel and seed the guava. Cut up into quarter-sized chunks.
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Add the cinnamon stick, star anise pods and vanilla. Then add the guava. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove and puree the guava in a blender or food processor. Measure 2 cups of guava puree and set aside. Remove the cinnamon stick and star anise pods from saucepan. Reserve about 3/4 cup of the poaching syrup from the saucepan.
In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and 2 1/2 tablespoons of the cream, half & half or milk until there are no lumps to create a cornstarch slurry.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix the remaining cream, half & half, or milk with sugar and salt. When the mixture begins to steam, add the cornstarch slurry. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens or begins to simmer.
Combine the cream mixture with 2 cups of the guava puree and 3/4 cup of the poaching syrup. Mix until incorporated.
Chill at least three hours or overnight in a refrigerator. Once chilled, churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Written in January 2013