Number 20: Pistachio Ice Cream and Number 51: Prickly Pear

16 Jun


Yeah, I kinda cheated and did a two-for-one post today!  I mean, after baking some warm prickly pears, I couldn’t resist throwing a scoop of pistachio ice cream on top!  Anyways, let’s get back to how I found these prickly pears in the first place.  There’s a local grocery store about 10 minutes away from my place called Mariano’s Fresh Market and it is the greatest place ever.  It has a sushi chef, a wood-fired pizza oven, all sorts of imported foods, and a pianist.  Yes, you can listen to ragtime music while you shop.

Anyways, I walked in and, not knowing what prickly pears even looked like, immediately went up to a worker in the produce section.  “Oh, cactus pears?  Right over here,” he said as he took me directly to them.  He then proceeded to tell me exactly how to cut them, eat them, cook them…everything.  A minute later he yelled, “Hey, Johnny- get me a knife!” and next thing I knew, he was cutting one open for me to sample.  It was fleshy and not super flavorful, and it was filled with tons of little seeds. It was cool to eat, but not my fave.

Gorgeous.


After I tasted the prickly pear, the produce guy started cutting open pretty much every other fruit around us!  I got to try a lychee, which looked just like an eyeball, and a mangosteen.  The mangosteen totally blew me away- it was super sweet and delicious (I just wish they didn’t cost 4 bucks a pop!)


When I got home with the prickly pears, I went online and found
this simple recipe for baked prickly pears.  I started by slicing up the prickly pear into thick slices (the recipe calls for you to seed it, too, but that’s nearly impossible, so I didn’t.)  Then I combined about 1/4 cup butter, 2/3 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. I sprinkled the mixture on top, baked it at 325 for about 30 minutes, then it was time to take it out!

Unfortunately, the fruit ended up shrinking up quite a bit and losing lots of its juice.  Maybe the recipe was for bigger prickly pears, because 30 minutes at 325 seemed way too long.  When it was time to take it out, I spooned the slices onto a plate and added a big scoop of pistachio ice cream.  Did I make the ice cream myself?  Um, does this answer your question?


The flavors of the ice cream and the prickly pear went really well together, but the prickly pear seeds were too much for me to handle and I ended up giving most of the plate to Dan (who ate it like it was the last food on earth.)

P.S. On a totally unrelated note, Dave Coulier (aka Joey from “Full House” and my number one childhood crush) did a live chat session on UStream tonight and he totally talked to me twice!!  My heart is beating way too quickly right now- I know, I’m a geek.  Anyways, let’s get to that verdict!



THE VERDICT
Prickly Pears: The guy at Mariano’s described prickly pears as “bland watermelon” and he was completely right.  Not very sweet or flavorful, prickly pears definitely have a muted watermelon flavor and a similar fleshy consistency.  Unfortunately, they’re peppered with tiny, hard seeds that can’t be avoided.  They also stain your hands bright pink, by the way- I look like I murdered the Kool-Aid guy. While they are incredibly beautiful to look at, I think I’ll give prickly pears a miss next time.


Pistachio Ice Cream:
Now here’s something I can get on board with!  The perfect combo of salty and sweet, plus the perfect combo of smooth and crunchy, pistachio ice cream is a treat that I am more than happy to indulge in on a regular basis.

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8 Responses to “Number 20: Pistachio Ice Cream and Number 51: Prickly Pear”

  1. Big Onion June 17, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    I LOVE strange fruits. We have a Latin American recruiter in our office and I typically employ a few student workers from various Latin American countries, so I get to try all sorts of bizarre things.

    The one thing I wish I could find around here is a fruit called “cas” from Costa Rica. As far as I understand, it doesn’t really grow anywhere else. I got to try it when I went there a few years ago. Amaaaaazing.

    I’m going to have to try and find some prickly pears …

  2. Laura in Cancun June 17, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Despite the seeds, at least it looks beautiful! Never tried pistachio ice cream, but I totally should.

  3. Monique June 17, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    My roommate in college’s favorite ice cream was pistachio! I used to eat it with her a ton, and they even have pistachio flavored yogurts at the shops here 🙂

    Speaking of ice cream… my hands down FAVORITE flavor ever is lychee. Lychee as a fruit might be offputting, but it’s flavor in smoothies and ice creams is amazing.

    Same idea for prickly pear. While I’ve never actually eaten one, it is my favorite margarita flavor. Good thing I live in Arizona because that’s EVERYWHERE down here 🙂

  4. Miss Angie June 17, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Hmm… That’s interesting. Baskin & Robins does pistachio too, I’ll bet it’s yummy. The Pears don’t sound very thrilling though. I want to try a mangosteen though!

    That’s so cool about Joey, so much fun!

  5. c.c. June 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    i wonder if it’d be better to make a salsa or something out of the pears?

    they do make for a pretty picture, though. especially with the ice cream

    • IntenseGuy June 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      I think it would be worth eating prickly pears bare handed just to look like you murdered the cool aid guy!

      Haagen Dazs makes some scumptious icey creams. 🙂

  6. Sophia @ Raven Waves June 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    I want to try all those weird fruits!! And Uncle Joey?!? Haha! No way! I totally would have preferred Uncle Jessie 🙂

  7. Bridget June 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Oh, if only I could digest dairy! That pistachio ice cream sounds deelish…..but I must admit the prickly pear looks kind of like a bloody human heart. ♥ (any excuse!)

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