A blog of hopeful, inspired living: cooking & baking & growing & harvesting & preserving & gleaning & eating & sharing food... while bringing positive change to my kitchen and our food system.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Papaya pudding

I am so fortunate to have farmers' market and local ethnic supermarket visits as a part of my normal work schedule.  At Collective Roots, where I work, we teach lots of healthy-cooking-on-a-budget classes.  We have graduated over 150 participants from 6-week healthy cooking classes!   Working with participants from diverse backgrounds has given me the opportunity to try fruits and vegetables I've never tried (or seen!) before and to try new recipes for fruits and vegetables that I eat all the time.

So -- how does this relate to papaya pudding?  Last week when I was shopping for our cooking classes at the nearby Latino market, the papaya display was too irresistible to pass by.  So I didn't.  Happily lugging my three-pound papaya home, I wondered what I'd do with it all.  Eating a papaya fresh is always nice.  So are morning smoothies.  But with all that papaya, I started looking around for something more interesting.

That's when I came upon Padma Lakshmi's Tangy, Hot and Sweet cookbook at the library, enthralled by the idea of  Chilled Papaya Mousse.  I gave the recipe a try and was really happy I did.  It is much more pudding-like than mousse-like,  but the flavor and texture is none-the-less delicious: smooth, rich, sweet but not too sweet, flavorful without being too-papaya-y, and a lovely bright orange color.  It is also one of those memorable foods.  You know, the ones that you think about for a while -- you eat it slowly, taking more bites so you can decipher the flavors.  One that you daydream about having again some time soon.  Meanwhile, it's pretty simple and straight-forward to make (although you do need to keep chill-time in mind -- it needs about 8 hours in the fridge before serving).   This recipe is an adaptation of Padma's recipe.

Papaya Pudding
Serves 4
1 pound of fresh papaya, skin removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Scant 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (or, if you are at a Latino market, grab some of the Mexican brown sugar: panela/piloncilla)
tiny pinch of salt
3/4 cup heavy cream (if you try this with something else, let me know -- I'm curious if it would be ok to substitute whole milk or a non-dairy milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons Cointreau

1. In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, cook the papaya, vanilla and brown sugar, stirring constantly, 4-5 minutes.  The edges of the papaya will lose their shape and the papaya will start to get softer.  Remove from heat.
2. With an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor, puree the papaya mixture until smooth.
3. Return to the heat (and to the saucepan if you used a blender or food processor).  Whisking constantly, add the cream in increments over 8 minutes.  Add the Cointreau in the last 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.
4. Put the papaya-pudding-to-be in a sealed container and place in the fridge overnight.  Alternatively, you can chill in individual servings.
5. Serve with (or without) a dollop of fresh whipped cream.



  1. A pudding yes, but a complete change of pace from what you might expect from "pudding", chocolate, vanilla, etc. Delicious!

  2. Yum! I swore I'd never eat another papaya after one awful experience a few years ago, but I'll have to make an exception and try this out!

  3. Saw this on Kitchen Artistry. Fantastic.

    Be well