This is a guest post from Kenneth Moore, blogger over at The Expat Garden(er). Mad props to Kenneth for using an ingredient I’ve never used before on Macheesmo!
This one’s for those who are innovative and adventurous in the kitchen. That’s what I come to Macheesmo for—new and interesting ways to challenge myself in the kitchen, although I’m pretty challenged as it is. So when I ran across a pudding-stuffed chayote dessert recipe while looking for reasons to do a guest post on Macheesmo, I said “Yeehaw, let’s git ‘er done!”
I only recently discovered chayote, an amazing squash native to Central America. Is it odd I didn’t find it until I moved to Saudi Arabia? You’d think I’d be more focused on learning how to cook traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, but this baby is a delicious addition to soups, stews, and other squash and root vegetable concoctions. And, of course, to desserts, as well!
1) Slice chayote in half and steam for 45 minutes or until tender.
2) Scoop out seeds and some inside flesh. Leave about 1/2 inch of flesh on chayotes.
3) Mix other ingredients except whipped cream together for a filling. Leave some pound cake for a topping.
4) Scoop filling into steamed chayotes and bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
5) Serve with fresh whipped cream. Can be served warm or cool.
The ingredients: Pound cake, chayote, cinnamon, vanilla, egg, whipping cream, almonds, sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw someone gave me), raisins (any kind will do).
The recipe calls for a teaspoon of nutmeg and a teaspoon of brandy in the pudding filling, as well as sliced almonds as garnish. I haven’t found nutmeg in Saudi Arabia yet, and liquor of all kinds is illegal, so those two were out. I switched cinnamon for nutmeg and just ignored the brandy. I didn’t want to buy extra almonds, so I just nixed the sliced almond garnishes also. I’m not sure whether the cake I bought was a pound cake or what, because it was all in Arabic, but it tasted yummy and crumbled well!
Generally, I think if you use enough sugar, delicious spices, and cakey goodness, the dessert will turn out pretty frikkin’ tasty!
First order of business: slice the chayote in half lengthwise (keep the skin on!) and place them in a steaming contraption. The recipe I mostly followed says to steam for 35 minutes, but I went about 45, and the chayote was still probably too firm. The skins on these were pretty sturdy, so they can probably be steamed until the insides are super-soft and easy to scoop out.
Which is the next step! Remove the seeds and scoop the chayote innards into a bowl. The recipe says to leave half an inch of squash to ensure it all holds together when you bake them, but I think I should have scooped them out a little bit more—the squash is fine, but I couldn’t fit as much pudding mix as I would have liked into these, and that filling was scrumptious.
Set aside the chayote innards. Take the almonds and sugar and chop them in a food processor or blender until they’re nice and finely ground. Then add the eggs and chayote innards and pulse until nice and well-mixed. Add vanilla and cream and pulse a little, then pour into a bowl with the crumbled cake, cinnamon, and raisins. Set aside a few tablespoons of crumbled cake to top the confection before baking.
My pudding filling looked like this, but I didn’t exactly measure the amount of cake, chayote, or anything else—I just eyeballed.
Grease a baking pan, place your steamed, scooped chayote in, and fill with the pudding filling stuff. Then sprinkle cake crumbs on top. If you’d like, add slivers of almonds as well.
Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 30 minutes (for me, it took a little longer before the cake crumbs turned a little brownish). The recipe says to serve warm, but it also tastes good after being refrigerated overnight in tupperware. It’s almost like pizza and Chinese food in that way.
These look okay naked, but are better with fresh-whipped cream, which only took a few minutes of beating (I used what I think was heavy whipping cream—the only English was on the stuck-on label on the back and just said “whipping cream,” which was good enough for me—with some powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla to sweeten it).
Okay, so it doesn’t look like the most delicious dessert. But if you want to try something new and interesting, or you’re going for a green-themed dinner party, pudding-stuffed chayote is the way to go!
As you can see from the first picture, the layers are awesome. Vanilla ice cream would totally rock this dessert!
If you follow the recipe, you will have a little bit of leftover pudding filling that won’t fit into the chayote shells. The recipe says to stick it in a bread pan and bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. And heck, that stuff is sinful! I had it for breakfast, I had it for lunch, and I had it for dinner. I’ve been on a sugar high all day!
Thanks Kenneth for the super-interesting recipe. I’ve never used chayote before and definitely wouldn’t think to stuff it with pudding! If you liked this post, be sure to check out The Expat Garden(er) and also follow Kenneth on Twitter!