Friday, October 17, 2014

The Pichuberry

The other day I ran across a box of Pichuberries at the grocery store and even though I had already planned my menu for my dinner party the next night, I could not resist buying a box.  My first encounter with a Pichuberry was at one of my favorite restaurants in Barcelona, Ca I'sidre.
The Pichuberry, also known as Physalis Peruviana, is a fruit that grows on bushes.  In Peru it is also known as an Aguaymanto or Inca Berry.   In the states, it is often referred to as a Gooseberry.  Like a tomatillo, it has a papery calyx that protects the fruit.  With this calyx, the shelf life is about 30 to 45 days at room temperature. 
When the skin is peeled back, you will find a deep yellow-orange berry, about 3/4" in diameter.  It contains seeds like a tomato.  When ripe, it is sweet with just a bit of tartness, similar in taste to a kiwi.
It is one of the most abundant sources of vitamin C, 20 times that of an orange.  It is a powerful antioxidant and helps boost the immune system. 
Earlier in the day, I caramelized a cup of sugar.  (See my blog dated April 9, 2014 on The Best Flan.  I explain how to caramelize sugar).  I peeled the skin back in a few sections and inverted the leaves in the opposite direction.  Using the skin as a little handle, I dipped each berry into the hot caramelized sugar and then placed each on metal tray to harden. 
Adding an exotic twist to my presentation, it was the perfect accompaniment to the chocolate mousse!

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