Sep 7, 2014

Hawaii Tropical Fruit COULIS

Hawaiian Star Fruit in Mango-Orange Coulis
A coulis is an old french word that means "strained liquid", a form of thick sauce or purée made from strained vegetables or fruits. Fresh tomato coulis was perhaps the most frequently used vegetable coulis, even though technically a tomato is actually a fruit not a vegetable, but that's another story. It is commonly used, either hot or at room temperature, on fish, meat and vegetable dishes, or as a base for soups or other sauces. 

To me, a fruit coulis is most loved here in the islands because of the abundance of fresh tropical fruit. Fruit coulis are generally not cooked, soft berries, raspberries, strawberries, or very ripe fruit like mango or papaya, do not need to be cooked... unless you want your coulis to be thicker.

To make the coulis thicker, such as those used in restaurants to decorate plates, you'll need to cook it. Place 2 cups berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries, with 1/4 cup sugar and the juice of half a lemon in a saucepan and allow to simmer until the berries release their juices. Continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, roughly 15-20 minutes. Pass through a fine sieve to remove the seeds and allow to cool before using. 

For a professional touch, place your fruit coulis in a squeeze bottle and use to decorate your dessert plates. Fruit coulis is most often used as a topping for desserts, over fresh fruit, pancakes, crepes, french toast, waffles, ice cream, yogurt, cakes, and more.

Here are a few recipes for Hawaii FRUIT COULIS.

Hawaiian Star Fruit in Mango-Orange Coulis
The star fruit is a tropical winter fruit that is gaining popularity in the United States. It has a complex flavor combination that includes plums, pineapples, and lemons, (see photo above). Fortunately I have a star fruit tree in my backyard, so I get to play around with this beautiful fruit when in season.

4 ripe star fruit
1 cup fresh orange juice
the fruit of 1 fresh ripe mango
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup good-quality coconut milk
fresh pomegranate seeds or maraschino cherries, halved

Cut star fruit into 1/4-inch thick star slices (count out 3 slices per person) set aside. Place the mango fruit in a food processor, or blender. Process or blend until it is smooth and pureed. Place mango puree in a pot with orange juice and sugar, and turn heat to high until juice begins to boil. Then turn down to low. Add sliced star fruit and allow to simmer for 10 or 12 minutes, or until fruit has softened. Remove pot from heat.

Do a taste-test for sweetness, adding more sugar if needed (how sweet it is will depend on the ripeness of the fruit/juice you're using). If it happens to be too sweet for your taste, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice, or a little more orange juice.

When you're happy with the taste, portion out 3 star fruit slices per bowl with enough sauce to surround the fruit (it should still be warm from the pot). Top each bowl with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds or cherry halves. Then drizzle over some coconut milk and serve immediately! Makes 4 servings.

Cantaloupe with Strawberry Coulis
I love cantaloupe, especially if grown in Hawaii. Our little market down the street, Kualapuu Market, always has ripe cantaloupe on Mondays, and strawberry coulis is perfect served with cold cantaloupe slices. This makes an elegant, refreshing, and delicious dessert.

1 cantaloupe, peeled and sliced into 16 wedges
1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar, or to taste
4 scoops vanilla ice cream (optional)
Mint sprigs for garnish

Place the strawberries and icing sugar in a food processor and puree until smooth. Spoon and divide the sauce onto 4 dessert plates. Fan 4 melon slices on top of the sauce on each plate. Set on a scoop of ice cream on each plate, if desired. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve. Makes 4 servings. 

Note: You could use a melon baller and cut the cantaloupe into little balls and serve them in martini glasses, with coulis drizzled over the top. Also, use slices of fresh mango or papaya instead of cantaloupe if you like.

Easy Pineapple Coulis
This simple coulis is wonderful served over pound cake, on pancakes, or over fresh strawberries. You can even serve this coulis with grilled pork ribs or shrimp.

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple in heavy syrup
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Strain the pineapple syrup in a saucepan, reserving the pineapple. Add the sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch to the saucepan. Stir while simmering for 5 minutes. Add the crushed pineapple and stir to combine. That's it! Add the cayenne pepper for a sweet and spicy savory sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Frozen Bananas with Papaya-Berry Coulis
I first started freezing bananas when they got over-ripe, then I would blend the banana slices in a food processor to make a kind of banana ice. To make it even better, pour a little coulis on top. Personally I like Hawaii's apple bananas best.

1 large ripe papaya
1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup raspberry jam
2 limes (and zest)
1/2 cup sugar
bananas, sliced and frozen

Skin and deseed the papaya, dice it into small cubes. Next, zest one lime and reserve the zest. Squeeze the lime juice of both limes into a medium saucepot. Add sugar to the saucepot. Add diced papaya, strawberries and jam to the pot.

Bring to a medium heat and reduce to low. Let simmer for 30 minutes until fruit is soft and cooked through. Remove from heat and add to a blender or food processor. Pulse briefly and add lime zest. Pulse until smooth then bring to a high speed for 1-2 minutes with no lid (allowing steam to escape). Chill thoroughly and serve over sliced, or pureed frozen bananas. Makes about 3 cups of coulis, enough for 4 to 6 servings.

Coconut-Lime Cheesecake 
with Mango Coulis
Who doesn't like cheesecake, but this tropical version will end your next dinner party with a taste of Hawaii.

3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (10 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon coconut extract
2 cups cubed fresh mango
1 teaspoon white sugar, or more to taste

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Combine the coconut, gingersnap cookies, and melted butter in a bowl; mix until evenly moistened. Press the cookie mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake the crust in the preheated oven until browned and set, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Reduce oven heat to 300˚F. Beat the softened cream cheese in mixer bowl until smooth. With beater set to medium-low, slowly pour the condensed milk into the bowl, mixing only until just blended, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs, individually, allowing the first to blend into the mixture before adding the second; again, scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Pour about half of the cream cheese batter into a separate bowl. Stir the lime juice and lime zest into the portion in the new bowl; pour the batter over the crust in the springform pan, smoothing into an even layer.

Stir the coconut extract through the remaining cream cheese batter; pour over the lime-flavored batter in the springfom pan, smoothing into an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven until the top of the cheesecake springs back when gently pressed, about 45 minutes. Turn oven heat off, but leave cheesecake inside with oven door slightly ajar until the oven cools completely. Refrigerate until completely chilled.

Prepare mango coulis by puréeing the mango with sugar until smooth. If too thick, add a teaspoon of water at a time, using just enough to make pourable. Drizzle over cheesecake when plated. Makes 8 servings.

Lilikoi & Honey Coulis
This lilikoi (passion fruit) coulis makes an elegant dessert when poured over Maui strawberries. This coulis is similar to a lilikoi zabaglione.

4 ripe lilikoi (passion fruit)
3 tablespoons honey
4 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cut each lilikoi in half and scoop out all the pulp and seeds into a sieve set over a large heatproof bowl. Sieve the fruit thoroughly, then trickle 1 tablespoon of boiling water over the seed mixture in the sieve and scrape again with a spoon. Scrape any small amount of pulp from underneath the sieve into the bowl too. Discard the seeds.

Half-fill a pan with boiling water and heat to simmering point. Put the honey, egg yolks and lemon juice into the bowl with the passion fruit juice and whisk well with an electric mixer. Set the bowl over the pan of hot water and continue to whisk until the mixture is pale and thick and it holds a trail when the beaters are lifted out. This takes about 10 minutes and the mixture will look like a slightly soft, whisked sponge mixture when ready. Keep the water barely simmering – do not let it bubble too fiercely or the eggs will cook and separate.

Remove the bowl from the pan and continue to whisk for 1 minute. Place fresh strawberries in small glasses, like martini glasses, and pour the mixture over the fruit. Serve immediately. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Tropical Fruit Coulis 
with Champagne & Crème Fraîche
This is an elegant dessert that makes a tropical statement at the end of a rich meal.

8 ounces raspberries (fresh or frozen)
8 ounces strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 pound mixed tropical fruits, such as sliced fresh mango, papaya, pineapple, kiwi fruit, banana
A handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
crème fraîche, for serving (recipe below)
1 bottle (750ml) cold Champagne
4 Champagne glasses for the dessert plus 4 for the Champagne

To make the coulis, purée the raspberries and strawberries in a blender or food processor. Press through a sieve into a bowl to remove seeds. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Chill.

To serve, stir the mixed fruit into the coulis. Pour a little Champagne into each Champagne glass, then spoon fruit mixture/coulis into the glasses. Top each glass with a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkle of fresh mint. Pour the rest of the bubbly into glasses. Makes 4 servings.

Note: Julia Child made a "quickie" Crème fraîche which is very easy to make. Combine 1/2 cup of heavy cream with 1/2 cup of sour cream. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or until ready to use. Makes 1 cup.

Lime Panna Cotta with Lilikoi Coulis
A panna cotta, an Italian classic, is a delicious creamy dessert that is usually topped off with a wonderful sauce. Lilikoi is the Hawaiian word for passion fruit, which makes a delicious coulis.

Ingredients for the lime panna cotta:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 package unflavored gelatin
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
¼ cup fresh lime juice
cooking spray

Procedure for the panna cotta:
In a saucepan gently heat the cream. Add the sugar and gelatin. Once dissolved add the grated lime zest and juice. Bring the cream to a simmer and keep at low simmer for about 10 minutes to meld the flavors. Divide mixture evenly among 6 (4-ounce) ramekins or custard cups lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Ingredients for the lilikoi coulis:
1 tablespoon cornflour
3 lilikoi, halved (1/4 cup pulp)
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup puréed and strained fresh mango
toasted coconut for garnish

Procedure for the lilikoi coulis:
Combine cornflour and lilikoi pulp in a small bowl. Place orange juice and mango purée in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Stir in cornflour mixture. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Cool. 

To serve, loosen edges of panna cotta with a knife or rubber spatula. Invert ramekins onto dessert plates. Drizzle each with lilikoi coulis. Garnish with sprinkle of toasted coconut. Makes 6 servings with 1 1/2 cups of lilikoi coulis.

Note: Lilikoi seeds are eatable, and make a nice color contrast to the coulis, plus they add a little crunch to the dessert.

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