My gorgeous friends and fellow ex-pat musos, Jeroen Speak and Dorothy Ker sent me a bag of feijoas they'd grown in their allotment here in London. For non-New Zealanders, these little jewels aren't terribly well-known, but they are an extraordinary flavour that has to be experienced. I was rapt when I received them because I'd always wanted to try a recipe from one of my favourite Wellington cafés, Floriditas on Cuba Street. I've tweaked it a little, but it's a beautiful recipe. The feijoas can be substituted with pears. Afternoon tea is sorted!!
serves 8-10 - you need a 25cm/10-inch or a 23cm/9-inch round springform cake pan (23cm is obviously a deeper shortcake but I rather like that)
100g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
325g self-raising flour (fine sponge flour is very good)
500g apples - granny smith are brilliant (prepared weight)
400g feijoas (prepared weight) OR pears
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
grated zest of one large orange
Icing sugar for dusting
First, grease the tin and line the base with baking parchment OR butter and flour the tin. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Then, prepare the fruit: Peel and dice the feijoas (or pears) in to roughly 1cm cubes, then peel, core and dice the apples, adding all to a bowl. Squeeze the lemon over the fruit, then add the 2 Tbsp sugar, cinnamon and orange zest. Leave to steep while you prepare the shortcake.
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. Mix in the flour until it comes together in to a pastry dough. Divide the pastry in half, put one half in the fridge and press the remaining half in to the tin, making sure it comes up to 2cm around the sides. Spread the filling evenly over the base, then retrieve the other half of the pastry from the and grate it over the top.
Bake it in to the lower half of the oven for 25-30 minutes. If the topping is browning early, cover the tin with tinfoil for a while, but take it off with 5-10 minutes remaining.
Leave to cool in the tin for a long while before loosening the sides. Serve dusted with icing sugar.
This is beautiful served warm or cold, particularly with yoghurt or cream, or a mix of both, or clotted cream if you're feeling particularly indulgent.