Photograph Aaron McLean
Whoa. There's an avalanche of feijoas happening at our place. If you've got a tree, no doubt you are in the same boat. If not, nip along to the shops and pick some up because they're good to go now and their best price is coming today or tomorrow.
Crumble topping ½ cup plain (US all-purpose) flour ½ cup light brown sugar, sieved ¾ tsp mixed spice 50g (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted 50g (2 ounces) slivered almonds Cake 75g (3 ounces) unsalted butter 2 lemons 1 ripe banana 4 large feijoas (½ cup mashed pulp) 1 cup plain (US all-purpose) flour Pinch of salt 1 level tsp baking powder 4 medium (size 6) free-range eggs, at room temperature ¾ cup caster sugar (super-fine granulated sugar) Icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar), for dusting
1 Preheat oven to 170°C (regular bake; do not use fanbake or fan settings on oven). Line the bottom and sides of a 23cm cake tin with baking (parchment) paper.
2 To make crumble topping, blend flour, sugar and mixed spice in a bowl, squishing any lumps (use a pastry blender, but you can use your fingertips). Pour melted butter over the top, mix in with a fork, then stir in almonds. Set aside.
3 For the cake, melt butter gently, then leave to cool. Grate zest from lemons and set aside. Peel and mash banana. Halve feijoas, scoop out flesh and mash. Mix mashed fruit with 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Sift flour with salt and baking powder onto a piece of paper.
4 Break eggs into a bowl and beat with an electric beater for 1 minute, then beat in the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the mixture is pale and thick and mousse-like and will form a ribbon when the beaters are lifted above the mixture (this means the mixture should fall off the beaters in a thick trail). Sprinkle lemon zest over.
5 Sift half the dry ingredients over egg mixture and fold in lightly with a large spoon. Pour cooled butter around the insides of the bowl (not over the top of the batter because it will deflate it). Fold together gently, until just amalgamated. Sift remaining dry ingredients over the batter and fold in, then fold in the fruit.
6 Pour batter into tin. Gently scatter over crumble topping, taking care not to deflate the cake batter. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the cake is golden, springy to touch and pulling away from sides of the tin. If the cake colours too quickly and is not yet cooked, drape it with a piece of tin foil. Remove cake from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes. Invert onto a cooling rack and leave until cool, or invert onto a flat plate, peel off paper, cover with a cooling rack lined with a fresh piece of baking (parchment) paper and turn it right side up again. Leave to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Our Kiwi favourite backyard fruit tree, the feijoa, may hail from Brazil, but we have made it our own. It should be one of the first things you plant in your garden, along with a lemon tree, a rhubarb plant, and a mint patch. These four things can add a lot of interest to everyday meals.
Photography Aaron McLean http://www.aaronmclean.com