Saturday, 29 June 2013

Baobab, Mint & Pineapple Sorbet


When I visited the London Free From Show back in early June, my eye was caught by a stand called Aduna selling Baobab products. I got talking to one of the representatives of the company (a fellow food blogger) and she told me about the amazing properties of the Baobab fruit. Apparently (and according to the Aduna leaflet I was given at the show) it is 100% natural, - the only fruit in the world to dry naturally on the branch. The seeds (which come from large pods on wild trees) are just harvested and sieved, so they are also 100% organic, with NOTHING added.

The Baobab Tree is known as the Tree of Life and grows wild across Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. It is a giant................. A real treasure to behold. When travelling, I have marvelled at the beauty and enormity of many Baobabs. They are often the centre of the community and may be central to the village 'square', with locals sheltering in the shade of the huge trunk and overhead branches whilst they chat away from the heat of the afternoon sun.

I have watched fruit bats fly in sequence and perfect rhythm out of the highest branches of the Baobab near the Indian Ocean at the exact same time at dusk every evening. I have seen wild animals sheltering from the mid-day sun in Kenya in the cooling shadow of its magnificent presence. And I have watched entranced, at its imposing silhouette dominating the skyline of the Savannah at dusk.



The Baobab has always struck me as a tree which exudes power and an ability to sustain life, but until now, I knew nothing of its incredible fruit.

The statistical properties of the Baobab fruit (as outlined by Aduna) make impressive reading. Apparently it has one of the highest anti-oxidant capacities of any fruit in the world, with almost five times that of fresh acai berries and twice that of goji. It is rich in fibre, extremely rich in vitamin C, thiamin, potassium and calcium and very low in fat. It really is a super-fruit..........







And as if that isn't enough, every tree is community-owned and wild harvested. So making it part of our fair-trade economy could really make a difference to the lives of the people in rural Africa.

So what does it taste like? It is outlined in the Aduna leaflet as having a unique, sherbet-like citrussy flavour, typically described as a combination of pear, grapefruit, caramel and vanilla. My taste buds add lime and tangerine to the list, although to be honest it really is so unique, I would say that it tastes like....... well.......... Baobab! Once you get over the initial expectations that it should taste like something else (which is doesn't) and just accept it for what it is, it really is delicious. Although I am sure it is not to everyone's taste, I think I could become quite addicted.............


When I was at the Free From Show, the company were giving out shots of a smoothie made from Baobab with pineapple juice, almond milk, and fresh mint. It had such a fresh and exciting taste, I thought it would be fantastic concocted into a sorbet. So I have taken the ingredients used for the smoothie, switched the juice for fresh pineapple, changed the proportions slightly, added a little sugar and given it a test run.


I am astounded at the result................... An amazing, zingy, sharp, fresh, taste-bud tingling, palate-cleansing sorbet which would refresh at the end of any meal. I would happily eat it in place of other desserts, and would (perhaps strangely) enjoy it with breakfast as a wake me up! It really does have the power to make your mouth feel refreshed and full of life........


It is incredibly easy to make (especially if you have an ice-cream maker), and is full of really healthy ingredients, so you know and feel like you are putting something great into your body. Aduna sells Baobab powder on-line, so check out their website and give it a try. Although it may seem a bit expensive, I think it is worth it for what you are getting (and there are a number of suppliers out there to choose from, so shop around). Shame they don't appear to do small samples to try...............

 

Baobab, Mint & Pineapple Sorbet (makes about 800ml)

Ingredients


500 ml pureed pineapple (approximately equivalent to the flesh of 1 medium pineapple - cored and peeled)
250 ml almond milk - unsweetened (available in most UK supermarkets)
85g caster sugar
5 tablespoons Baobab powder
4 leaves fresh mint

Method

  1. Peel and core the pineapple and cut into cubes.
  2. Put the pineapple into a blender with a small amount of almond milk and puree.
  3. Add the rest of the almond milk and all the other ingredients and continue to blend until completely smooth.
  4. Chill for half an hour in the fridge.
  5. Pour the sorbet mix into an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  6. Once your sorbet is made, spoon immediately into a freezer container and keep in the freezer.
  7. The sorbet is ready to use immediately, but if you prefer it to be a little firmer, allow to harden in the freezer for a few hours.
(If you don't have an ice-cream maker, place the mixture at stage 4 into a shallow container and place in the freezer until mushy. Then turn into a chilled bowl and beat until the ice crystals are broken down. Return to the freezer and freeze again until mushy. Repeat the whisking and freeze for a final time.)

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated

2 comments:

  1. Sounds sooo good! I'm keeping an eye out for Baobab powder :-)

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  2. It's so refreshing! You can source on line from Aduna. Since writing this post, I have been advised that you need to be aware of cheap imitations as Baobab can lose its viability if not processed correctly. I believe that Aduna work closely with local communities to make sure it is de-hulled at source, so I guess that's also a bonus in terms of fair trade too.........

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