Lightly spiced guava ice cream recipe

Posted by Jane Anne Hobbs Rayner on 27 June 2012

The perfume of fresh guavas drifting through a warm kitchen is one of the quintessential scents of a South African childhood. It’s impossible to describe the scent of a perfectly ripe guava to someone who hasn’t experienced the coral-pink deliciousness of this most luscious fruit, which you’ll find piled high in supermarkets, and on roadside stalls, during South Africa’s winter months.

I’ve always taken guavas for granted – as children, we ate them fresh in bucketloads, and tinned guavas with tinned Ideal Milk (another classic South African treat; recipes here) – were a staple dessert in our household. I was interested, then, to read the comments about the rarity of guavas by an American intern working in South Africa during the World Cup. In her article Ten South African Things I Wish They Had in the USA, Samantha Hermann writes: ‘In the US, guava is a rare, tropical, and expensive fruit. Here you can get fresh guava, guava juice, guava yogurt, dried guava, and the list goes on. As a guava lover, I am quite envious of South Africa in this regard.’

You may be wondering what has possessed me to want to make ice cream in the middle of winter.  Well, this is when guavas are in season in South Africa and, besides, there are many winter days here in Cape Town that are sunny and mild enough to warrant whipping out the ice cream machine.  (If you don’t have such a gadget, use the freeze-and-beat method, which will result in a slightly crystalline but still most delicious ice).

This is a light, sugar-syrup-based ice cream with just a touch of cream (you can use yoghurt if you’re watching calories). I have added a a stick of cinnamon and a star anise to the sugar syrup to give the ice cream a slight spiciness, but you can leave these out altogether if you would prefer a cold blast of pure guava flavour.


Lightly Spiced South African Guava Ice Cream

  • 1½ cups (375 ml) water
  • 1 cup (250 ml) white granulated sugar
  • one whole star anise
  • one 4-cm quill of cinnamon
  • one thumb-sized strip of fresh lemon zest, white pith removed
  • 8 ripe guavas
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 75 ml cream or plain white yoghurt

Put the water, sugar, star anise, cinnamon and lemon zest into a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sugar syrup is quite clear.  Set aside to cool completely, then place in the fridge for an hour or two, or until cold.  Top and tail the guavas, but do not peel. Cut into chunks and place in a liquidiser, or a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Whizz to a rough purée.  Tip the purée into a sieve set over a large bowl and, using the back of a soup ladle to press vigorously down on the pulp, straining off the liquid. Discard the pulp and seeds. Strain the chilled sugar syrup into the bowl containing the strained guava (discard the spices and lemon peel). Add the lemon juice and cream (or yoghurt), and stir well to combine. Place the mixture in the bowl of an ice cream machine and churn until done (or use the freeze-and-beat method). 

Serve the ice cream in chilled glasses (place them in the freezer an hour before you serve the dessert).

Serves 6 – 8

This recipe was originally published on Scrumptious SA – Lightly Spiced South African Guava Ice Cream



My new cookbook, Scrumptious: Food for Family and Friends (Struik Lifestyle) will be available in July 2012 at all leading bookstores in South Africa.

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