Feijoa season is drawing to a close. It has continued for longer than usual this year due to the lack of frosts. I'm still picking up a few feijoas every day, but most of them are being fed to the cows, being fairly small. I still bring the odd one indoors to add to the feijoa box in the back porch - we've still got a fair few to munch our way through, and they are keeping well in the cool.
I haven't preserved any feijoas this season, other than in chutney form. Last season i froze some, but they were all still in the freezer when the feijoas started falling this season, so i ended up throwing most of them out. We have so much other fruit, both fresh in season and bottled for the colder months, that i do not feel the lack of feijoas when they are not in season. I decided this year to simply make the most of them while they are around. One thing about freezing feijoas is that it seems to sweeten them up a bit and mellow out the tartness of the more bitter varieties. I made my first version of this sponge using some of the frozen feijoas - even though we were already getting fresh ones it seemed a crime to throw ALL the frozen ones away. I based the recipe on the Edmonds Cookbook fruit sponge recipe, adding the ginger and coconut to the basic sponge. Edmonds also say that your fruit should be stewed and kept warm, but i haven't found a need to do this - the chopped raw feijoas cook nicely at the same time as the sponge. However if you do make this with frozen feijoas you need to make sure they are fully thawed, and slightly warming the fruit in the oven before adding the topping is a good idea.
FEIJOA GINGER COCONUT SPONGE
Adapted from the Edmonds Cookbook
Flesh of approximately 20 feijoas (or more if you need to use them up!)
2 teaspoons fresh ginger (optional), grated on a micro-plane
125 g butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 rounded teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup desiccated or thread coconut
2-5 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius. Slice feijoas and place in an ovenproof dish, approx 22 x 22 cm. If using frozen fruit put your dish in the oven to heat up the fruit. Put butter, vanilla and sugar into a bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder and ginger together, then stir the coconut through the flour mixture. Fold into the creamed mixture. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and mix to combine. Add more milk, a tablespoon at a time, if your mixture seems too stiff. Spoon the mixture over the fruit. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes or until the sponge springs back when lightly touched. Serve hot with vanilla ice-cream.