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Tropical Delight

Roast papaya for an easy summer dessert
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Baked Papaya

When faced with the possibility of multiple courses, I prefer to front-load (more bread and another round of apps, please) and skip dessert altogether (with the occasional exception for a cheese plate).

So it's a strange thing to be writing about my deep love of baked papaya for dessert. It's even stranger, because, in principle, I hate papaya. I find it reminiscent of a dirty diaper when raw. (Apologies for introducing that image into your mind.)

But this is a situation in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And there aren't even that many parts: papaya, agave nectar and lime. Or that many steps: Cut the papaya in half, scoop out its seeds, brush agave nectar on top of each half, give it a squeeze of lime and throw it into a 350-degree oven.

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Depending on the size of your papaya, it will take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Just check on it every 10 or 15 minutes, and spoon the liquid across the top. Add another squeeze of agave or lime as necessary, and let it continue cooking. You'll know it's done when you can scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

Once it's done and ready, I prefer to plop it on a plate and enjoy a half all to myself, but if you're trying to impress dinner-party guests with your handiwork, sprinkle it with some brown sugar, pop it under the broiler until it crisps up and finish it with freshly grated lime zest.

Dessert is served, my friends.

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