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Author Topic: Tangy TAMARILLOS  (Read 473 times)
« on: June 29, 2009, 02:25:39 am »

In Season Tamarillos

What's growing in your garden or flooding the markets? In Season follows Witt chef Robyn Trowern and journalist Virginia Winder in their quest to source the freshest fruit and vegetables, and serve them up with simple sense and inspiration.

Taranaki Daily News | Tuesday, 16 June 2009

TAMARILLOS: Use poached fruit to tart up a New York-style baked cheesecake (left). Pork and tamarillo sit atop Delmonico Potatoes (right), which were once a favourite at former New Plymouth restaurant Penny's.  MARK DWYER/Taranaki Daily News.

TAMARILLOS: Use poached fruit to tart up a New York-style baked cheesecake (left). Pork and tamarillo sit atop Delmonico
Potatoes (right), which were once a favourite at former New Plymouth restaurant Penny's.
  MARK DWYER/Taranaki Daily News.

Scarlet eggs hang like Christmas decorations from backyard trees. In the old days, these shiny red fruits were called tree tomatoes, but in 1967, the relevant New Zealand grower association changed their name to tamarillo to avoid confusion with the common garden tomato. This week, Robyn Trowern gives the tart fruit a good poaching, turns it into jus, uses it as a raw addition to a meat dish and makes an old-fashioned chutney.

We'll begin with the old-time condiment.

"That recipe comes from my husband's grandmother, who is no longer alive," Robyn says. "She was a classic preserver. We would go into her pantry and there were just bottles and bottles of pickles and chutneys. She would even make her own version of Worcestershire sauce."

For this page, the chutney recipe had to be converted from imperial measurements into metrics.

"She would go as far as melting the wax to seal them. You can still buy that at the supermarket. It's called preserving wax."

Robyn says this is a throw-it-all-in- together recipe that takes time.

"You bring it to the boil and then simmer. If it starts to reduce too quickly, you add a bit more vinegar," she says.

"It's really sweet and rich and beautiful with meats and cheeses."

The jars for the chutney need to be sterilised, either by boiling them or heating them in a warm oven. Then it's time for sealing.

The potato recipe is also from the past. Robyn learnt it while working at a New Plymouth restaurant called Penny's, which used to be above where Willo and Shine now are.

"People used to come in and buy takeaway containers of our Delmonico Potatoes," Robyn says.

So for those fans, that recipe is for you.

But Robyn has a way of giving a modern twist to old-school meals, which she does by using those creamy potatoes as the bottom layer of a pork and tamarillo dish.

On each plate, she dishes up a circular serving of potatoes and tops this with a scotch fillet of pork - a pork schnitzel, a boneless porkchop and even a chicken breast will be fine, too. She pan fries the meat and finishes it off in the oven, ensuring it doesn't dry out too much.

Atop the chosen meat, she places a slice of peeled, uncooked tamarillo. Then she decorates the plate with a drizzled circle of deep-red tamarillo jus.

To make this, you will need two still-warm poached tamarillos (see cheesecake recipe). Push these through a sieve to get rid of the seeds. Add the tamarillo puree to cup of Bisto gravy, add 1 tablespoon port wine jelly or red currant jelly and mix until you have a smooth jus.

This savoury but tart mixture gives the whole dish a lift and any leftovers can be placed in a small jug on the table for extra pourings.

Finish this meal with the baked cheesecake.

"If you want a taller cheesecake, you can double it and then cook it for longer."

Robyn explains how you can tell if a cheesecake is baked to perfection:

"Give the tin a little shake it needs to move like a jelly," she says.

Top each slice with a poached tamarillo that has a hint of cinnamon infused into its soft and seedy flesh. This is the perfect fruit to give you an early winter boost - each oval orb is packed with vitamin C.


The tamarillo is a relative of the potato, tomato, eggplant and capsicum. Native to Central and South America, it is listed among the lost foods of the Incas and has all but disappeared from its native habitat. In those places, it was known as the tomate de arbol or tree tomato.



  • 1 cup biscuit crumbs
  • 65g melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • cup sugar
  • 375g cream cheese
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 8 tamarillos
  • 2 cups water
  • cup of sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Peel of one lemon


  • Lightly grease a spring-form cake tin.
  • Mix biscuit crumbs and butter in a bowl.
  • Evenly press into the cake tin refrigerate.
  • Pre-heat oven to 160C.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, cream cheese and lemon until creamy and white.
  • Pour into biscuit crust and bake in oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Cool and refrigerate (preferably overnight).
  • To prepare the tamarillos, peel them with a sharp potato peeler, keeping stalks intact.
  • Peel the rind off a lemon in thin ribbons. Place the rind in a pot with water, sugar and cinnamon stick and bring to boil.
  • Turn the water down and place peeled tamarillos in pot. Simmer for five minutes, then turn off.
  • Let tamarillos cool in liquid, then lift out and serve with slices of cheesecake and garnish with cream or mascarpone.

NB: Set two warm tamarillos aside to make jus for pork dish (see story).



  • 2 dozen tamarillos, peeled and diced
  • kg onions, diced
  • kg apples, diced
  • 1 tsp pickling spice
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp cooking salt
  • 570ml vinegar
  • 1 kg brown sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic, diced (optional)


  • Place all ingredients in a pot and simmer for about two hours, adding more vinegar if necessary.
  • Pour mixture into sterilised jars. Once cool, you can seal with lids, preserving papers and rubber bands or with preserving wax.

NB: You can easily peel skins off tamarillos by plunging in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then peeling with a sharp knife.


Serves 6.


  • large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 cups cream (or light cream)


  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Layer thinly sliced potatoes in a dish.
  • Mix together garlic, chicken stock and cream and pour over potatoes. The cream should come to just below the top layer of potatoes.
  • Cover with foil and bake for an hour.
  • Take foil off and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Use a knife to check if the potatoes are fully cooked they may take longer, depending on thickness of potatoes.

NB: See story for cooking the pork and making the jus.

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