A South American Fruit Called the Naranjilla

A South American Fruit Called the Naranjilla

The naranjilla is one of those special fruits that you may not have heard of. Also going by the name of lula, it is a subtropical plant with many uses.

South America can be considered a magical location in the world. When you travel to different countries, on this continent you can find different fruits and vegetables, many of which are unique and cannot be found in other places.

Also Known as Lula

One of my favorite fruits is the naranjilla, a fruit that has a special flavor and texture. This fruit's original name is "solanum quitoense" but is mainly known as naranjilla or lula. A subtropical perennial plant, it is found mostly in Ecuador, Panama, and Colombia. 

A little on the tart side       Sebastian Vallejo
A little on the tart side
By Sebastian Vallejo

Naranjilla is originally from the northern part of Ecuador, near the capital Quito. This plant has an attractive large elongated heart and oval-shaped leaves that can reach 45 cm. 

It is orange, with shades of purple, and covered with hairs that help to protect it from pests and the wind. The inside has a beautiful green color with sparks of natural liquid.

A Mildly Tart Citrus Taste

But you may ask yourself what does it taste like?

The naranjilla has a citrus taste with a mild tart taste—not too sweet—which can resemble a kumquat. I recommend adding sugar to suit your taste of sweetness. Naranjilla has many uses: we can prepare it as juice, desserts, savory meat dishes, or even make sauces for seafood. It really depends on your creativity.

When you are in South America, do not miss out on trying this fruit. However, if you want to enjoy this fruit in the U.S., you can find it in local Hispanic markets. The pulp is in the frozen food section.

The following is a recipe to prepare a naranjilla tiramisu, very simple to make at home, and especially great for summer. Naranjilla is available year-round in Ecuador, Panama, and Colombia. You can find it in many places as one of the most common fruits consumed in these countries.

Tiramisu treat         Sebastian Vallejo
Tiramisu treat
By Sebastian Vallejo

Naranjilla Tiramisu (Yield 6 Portions)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of hot concentrated coffee
  • 22 oz of Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of naranjilla pulp
  • 2 boxes of ladyfingers

Preparation

  1. Place the ladyfingers in a bowl.  Pour the coffee over them and let it cool down.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese and sugar until well incorporated.
  3. Add the heavy cream until halfway thick.
  4. Add the naranjilla pulp and mix well at high speed until it is thick and makes a peak.
  5. In a glass bowl form a layer of ladyfingers followed by a layer of the naranjilla mixture.  
  6. Repeat the process until you have several layers of cookies and the mixture making sure the last layer is of the mixture.
  7. With a strainer spread some chocolate powder on top and refrigerate for an hour and it is ready to serve.

Enjoy!

by: Sebastian Vallejo

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