This edition of unusual suspects has a bit of ‘patriotic feel’ I love my country and all of its visual beauty and of course the hybrid gastronomic history South Africa has to offer. The prickly pear, like that ‘one long lost relative you know of but haven’t really been fully acquainted with’, it’s always been available as local produce for many years but few dare to experiment with this fruit. This thorny cactus fruit, has been long overlooked as just a little crunchy sweet snack, until today it hasn’t been given the proper attention it truly deserves. I admit, when in season, I pass the prickly pear by, going straight for(what I consider normal fruit) the bananas, apples or oranges etc. It’s easy to think that the thorny fruit originated here, because of its culture in South Africa, however it’s place of origin is Mexico and Central America and was brought to Africa in the late 1700’s. Fun fact: the prickly pear actually contains more vitamin c than apples, bananas and pears, of course does not exceed that of the super orange! The cactus fruit was seen as an invasive species, but helped many a farmer with cattle fodder and as an effective spiny hedge.
Inspired by an oat crunchie recipe by Food52, I replaced the fruit in that recipe with Prickly pears and passion fruit pulp with rooibos tea leaves. I added the tea leaves in the topping and in the filling for that extra bit of South African flavour, and to bring out the sweet flavours of the prickly pear.
Recipe can be found at: Oat crunchie bars
Remember the ingredients of the filling (fruit) were tweaked accordingly, same quantities though.
Information found from Babylonstoren https://www.babylonstoren.com/blog/post/visciously-delicious and farmer’s weekly article http://farmersweekly.co.za/article.aspx?id=17777&h=Commercial-potential-for-the-humble-cactus-pear
The photographs I took were in the late afternoon with overcast weather acting as a natural light diffuser. The prickly pear oat crunchie photos were taken in the early morning, with overcast weather as well. I love shooting food in these conditions, as my little studio space in my lounge and equipment is quite limited, so the overcast conditions are perfect enough for me to just, set up and shoot, very little to no adjusting of light or reflector boards.