This just in: prickly pears are PRICKLY!!!
Cactus Pear Margarita with rose & lime…sublime
Yes, they are aptly named. Can you believe it" Well I couldn’t. I was too good for gloves. Too good for tongs. Too good for a regular ol’ kitchen towel. I picked ‘em right off the ol’ cactus bare handed. Boy, was I stupid…
I didn’t immediately feel the teeny tiny invisible prickles so I continued to prep the prickly pears cutting away the thick outer skin and roughly chopping the gorgeous magenta flesh.
It was only when I washed my knife and the hot water hit my hands, that I felt the sting. Not just a sting, but a burn that ran through my fingers, through my palms, through my wrists. So let this be a lesson to you: wear gloves when you hold these bright pink flirtatiously sweet CACTUS pears! They are the Scorpians of dessert fruit.
I’m a little dismayed at the recipes I’ve read online for prickly pear syrup because most call for the fruit to be pulverized first in a blender. But this isn’t necessary. I think it’s better to cook the fruit down with some sugar then press the soft flesh through a chinois to catch all the crunchy little black seeds.
As for interesting ways to use this syrup there are many: as a garnish to guaijillo BBQ pulled pork tacos, on roasted chicken as a glaze, and also as a sweet elixir to mix with tequila in a margarita or rhum in a mojito. Check out the blog: Hunter Angler Gardener Cook for a tasty prickly pear glazed pheasant recipe.
Prickly pears have a watermelon-like flavor that begs to be mixed with other fruits. Raspberry and Prickly pear is a great combo. I also like adding flower water essences (like rose & orange blossom) and spices such as: cumin, coriander, guajillo, pasilla, cayenne, and smoked paprika.
It is watery tasting when eaten raw in the same way a watermelon is, but when reduced into a syrup it is seriously sweet with little acidity. Keep this in mi...