On a little island in the Caribbean there is a quaint little cement house with my name inscribed in the concrete of the back porch. My grandfather wrote it there many years ago, perhaps thinking that I would live there someday, or at least visit often. Well, I no longer live in the balmy Caribbean and most of my close family has settled in the US. The house has largely become a distant, dreamy memory.
What does all this nostalgia have to do with this blog? Well, the back porch that I mentioned is surrounded by fruit trees and other tropical plants. Guavas, acerola cherries, sugar cane, plantains, limes, oranges, avocados; you name it, it grows there. Those are the flavors I grew up with, even though I spent most of my life in the US.
I like to think that by working on these recipes I’m melding two culinary traditions that are important to me; something in between what I would have eaten at the little cement house and what I learned when I first started baking in college…and it tastes a little something like this:
Not the best picture, granted, but by far the recipe I’m the most proud of.
Guava-Apple Crumble Pie
An American classic with a streusel topping and a tropical twist.
My go-to recipe is from the Joy of Baking website (cut in half because we only need the bottom crust). It never fails, but you must have the technique down. I’ve finally gotten it down after about two years of self-taught baking. I’ve gone through the trial and error so you don’t have to! It’s not difficult, it just takes practice. I’ll write a post later with tips for the perfect, flaky crust. I’ve adjusted the salt to my taste.
- 1 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tablespoon granulated white sugar
- 1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
- 1/4 to 1/2 Cup ice water
- 2 Large baking apples
- 3-4 Guavas
- 1/2 Cup brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2-1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/4 Cup flour
- 1/2 Cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Cup butter, melted
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients for the pie crust. Incorporate the butter chunks by hand (my preferred method), or using a food processor. The consistency should resemble corn meal. Add some cold water until the dough sticks together in a nice ball. Using a generous amount of flour, roll out the dough and place on the pie dish. Shape the edges, prick the bottom with a fork and leave in the freezer for 30 minutes.
For the filling, mix the dry ingredients and set aside. Cut the apples and guavas into thin slices. Mix with the dry ingredients throughly and then add the vanilla and lemon juice.
Mix the dry ingredients for the Streusel and pour in the melted butter until the mixture is well incorporated.
Pour filling into the pie crust, and place streusel on top. Cover pie loosely with foil. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and continue baking for an additional 35 minutes.
Up Next: Passionfruit Meringue Pie