Tamarillos, are available in late winter and spring, when many other fruit are out of season. As well as being a good source of vitamin C, tamarillos contain significant amounts of iron, phosphorus and vitamin A.
Ripe tamarillos “give” when pressed and are sweeter at this stage, and may be eaten raw or cooked. To peel tamarillos easily, plunge them into boiling water for 30 - 60 seconds, then into cold water. Cut off the stem end, peel away the skin, then slice or chop the fruit.
These make a good breakfast fruit. Peel as above, sprinkle with sugar to taste, then barely cover with orange or grapefruit juice. Cover, leave to stand overnight, then serve with cereal and yoghurt.
Peel tamarillos as above, then slice or chop them. Simmer them in a syrup made from 1/2 cup sugar to 3/4 or 1 cup of water for 5 - 10 minutes until tender, then stand the pot in cold water to cool the fruit and syrup.
Meantime, cut unfilled sponge in cubes and arrange in individual dishes or one larger bowl. Sprinkle the sponge with sherry, then spoon some cooled, stewed tamarillos and syrup over the sponge, then cover with a layer of vanilla custard. Top with a little lightly whipped cream and toasted, slivered almonds before serving .
Variation: If you are going to eat the trifle within a couple of hours, you can replace the custard with instant (vanilla, lemon or butterscotch) pudding.
This delicious mixture may be kept in a covered jar in the refrigerator for several weeks. Cut off the stem ends of tamarillos and halve them lengthwise. Line a baking dish or roasting pan with baking paper or a Teflon liner. Sprinkle it with brown, raw or white sugar, allowing about 1/2 cup sugar to 500g tamarillos. Sprinkle the sugar with cinnamon, ground cloves and/or mixed spice to taste. Place the tamarillos, cut side down, on the sugar and bake uncovered at 150 °C for about 30 minutes, or until the skins rise up and can be pinched and lifted away from the cooked fruit. Spoon the fruit and syrup into a jar, and add about 3 Tbsp dark rum or brandy to the warm but not hot fruit. Cover and refrigerate. Stir mixture occasionally. Spoon the tamarillo mixture over good quality vanilla ice-cream in small bowls or glasses.