30 July, 2012

Green with I Heart Cooking Clubs

Fresh Prickly Pear Ice (Nieve de Tuna)

I had so much fun with everyone's Nieves from last week that I had to keep it going.  In May when we moved to San Miguel all of the Cacti were in bloom.  It was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen!  Now, the Cacti have produced their fruits.  They all have different names, many based in Nahuatl and I have the worst time trying to pronounce them.  The lame mans term for these prickly fruits is Tuna, Green Tuna and Red Tuna...now that I can remember!  I tried making Paletas out of the two using Rick Bayless' recipe, but the Green was by far the best.

To peel a Prickly Pear cut nearly 1/2 an inch off of the sides and discard.  Then cut about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch (depending on the thickness of the peel) slit across the top.  Using your fingers to loosen the skin, roll the fruit out of its skin.  It is very easy, so long as you have the cuts.  If you get a sticker in your finger try rubbing it in your hair.  There are not really a lot of stickers on the fruit but sometimes you find one.

You can eat the Prickly Pear once peeled.  It has a lot of seeds and there is no hope of spitting them out.  Just give it a couple of chews and swallow.  This is supposed to be good for the digestion...but sometimes you don't want to eat the seeds.  They are really easy to blend with a splash of water.  Add a squeeze of lime and a little sugar if you like and you can drink them.  The red are delicious and almost sweet.  The green have more of a cactus flavor, which I found delicious in the Paletas.

Rick Bayless' Recipe for Fresh Prickly- Pear Ice (Nieve de Tuna) from Authentic Mexican
3 1/2 lbs (18 medium) fresh prickly pears
1 cup sugar, plus a little more if necessary
About 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Peel the prickly pears
Pulse in the blender with 1 cup of water, pour into a large strainer to remove the seeds.  Return the juice to the blender with the sugar and lime juice, process for several minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
Process in your ice cream machine according to manufactures instructions or pour into Popsicle molds.

***I tried this with the Red Tuna but did not put sugar or lime, because I like the flavor of the fruit by itself.  IT WAS AWFUL!  Unfortunately when it froze it tasted like raw cactus.  Tip- don't skimp on the lime and sugar!

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