Portugal has an infinity of new tastes to discover. We were lucky to have expert guides (dad and granny) that introduced us to all the discoveries that they had made during their stay there. One surprise was that Portugal is full of eucalyptus trees. That is because this amazing tree grows way faster than a normal tree, and from its cortex, cork is made, which is one of the main products of Portugal (did you know that Portugal is the world’s leading cork producer, producing half of the cork harvested annually worldwide?). It is actually quite amazing how many things can be made out of cork: hats, jewels, bags and even shoes! Let alone wine corks! Cork is actually an amazing material, hard-wearing and and water resistant.
From eucalyptuses they also make honey. Eucalyptus honey is probably the best honey I’ve ever tasted, maybe only after the chestnut one. It has an intense and minty aftertaste, such a unique kind!
Then we tasted a fruit that for me is not exotic, because it grows also in Italy, but usually never gets to complete maturity: loquats. Loquats in Portugal are delicious, so sweet and juice, I guess because of the nice, ever sunny and warm climate. For Klaus it was the first time he tasted them and liked them very much. They are a stone fruit, little bit same color and size as apricots, not to be confused with medlars (I myself did that mistake, until one of our kind readers finally corrected me) ,but have totally different taste. There is some peachy flavor there, but also something maybe close to a citrus, a clementine maybe. Anyways, they are very good.
I had in mind I would like to use these two ingredients in some dessert recipes, and when dad made us taste Moscatel, everything just became so clear and matched perfectly. In Italy we have Moscato, which is a lightly sparkling dessert wine. Moscatel, even though it is from the same grape, Muscat, tastes very different from Moscato. It is a strong, full-bodied wine that has notes of citrus, honey and tea. The strongness (the bottle we had made 17,5°) is due to the fact that some grape brandy is added to the wine when it has reached the right degree of sweetness.
So, after these ingredients basically came to me I knew. The recipe I was searching was an ice cream, a no-churn ice cream to be precise, in which there would be eucalyptus honey caramelized loquats steamed with Moscatel. I wish I could have tried to pair this ice cream with A serenada’s Special Edition white wine, because I think it would have fitted well with the peachy notes of the wine.
Now I know. Loquats are not exactly something you can find at the shop in the corner, so try to substitute them with peaches or nectarines and they will turn out just as delicious, I promise!
- 3 tablespoons of condensed milk
- 200 ml of heavy cream
- 400 g of loquats*
- 1½ tablespoons of eucalyptus honey
- 3 tablespoons of Moscatel (or another dessert wine)
- Wash, peel and cut into slices the loquats.
- Put the honey into a pan and place it on a stove at high temperature.
- Once the honey will start to warm up, add the loquats and stir. Let it cook for 2 minutes.
- Lower the temperature of the stove and add the Moscatel (be sure to have the kitchen hood on because this will make both noise and smoke!). Simmer still for 3 minutes until the wine will be evaporated.
- Put the cream into a bowl and whip it till firm.
- Add the condensed milk and one tablespoon of Moscatel and whip still for a few seconds.
- Add the loquats and mix gently.
- Put the ice cream in freezer for at least 3 hours**
- Serve the ice cream in bowls, scooped, topped with more eucalyptus honey and more caramelized loquats.
* If you don't have loquats available, substitute them with peaches or nectarines.
** If you're not going to eat the ice cream after three hours, no problem! Just remember to take it out of freezer for half and hour or 40 minutes before serving.
The ceramics are from the talented Portuguese ceramist Anna Westerlund and the honey dipper and bowl are from the Portuguese Gradirripas. The hand model is my beautiful granny! 🙂
I notice it’s a while since you posted this. I came across it while looking for recipes on Medlars. What you have here are Nesperes, or in English, Loquats. They get mis-labelled as Medlars by many market stall holders in the UK (it’s lovely to get nesperes here as they’re one of my favourite Iberian fruits), but Medlars are a different kind of fruit, closer to a large rosehip. They’re thought of as an “ancient” fruit, but are making something of a comeback. And although they look lovely on the tree, they have to be nearly rotten before they can be eaten alone or used in recipes. Here’s a link for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mespilus_germanica . I will try your recipe though as it looks delicious. I hope to find some medlars somewhere here around late November.
Thank you Barb for this! I’ve heard many natives call those medlars, when they are actually loquats. I will correct this and I hope you are going to like the recipe, which is still in my opinion one of the best ice creams I’ve ever tried. Let me know how it will turn out!
I love the look of this recipe. The fruits you’re using aren’t Medlars, they’re Nesperes (in Portuguese) or Loquats in English. They are sold in some fruit markets in the UK and always mis-labelled as Medlars.
If you’re interested, Medlars are an ancient fruit that went out of fashion decades ago but now fruit growers and cooks are getting interested in them again. Some people are put off by them as when they are ripe, they look rotten, but are actually ready to eat or use in recipes. If you google “Medlars”, you will see photos of them – they look like something out of a medieval painting.
As for your recipe – I’m looking forward to trying this out when Nesperes are abundant again. Happy cooking!