Words by Natasha Were.
Tall and lush with glossy lobed leaves, the breadfruit tree is an intrinsic part of the Caribbean landscape - but its fruit is curiously under-utilised. Weighing in at up to 12lb apiece, the rough skinned green fruit is an unusual specimen in that it can be eaten at varying stages of ripeness with different results.
When young and green, breadfruit is treated like a vegetable: it can be boiled then pickled for preservation and has a flavour similar to artichoke hearts. As the fruit matures, it becomes starchy and is handled much like a potato - baked, stewed, mashed or fried – this is when it tastes most bread-like. At its ripest, breadfruit becomes soft, sweet and creamy and can be enjoyed raw, like any other fruit.
Because breadfruit trees grow fast and their yield is so plentiful, the fruit is being touted as a potential solution to food insecurity in tropical regions. Not only is it a good source of protein, starch, vitamins and minerals, but it is also an excellent source of gluten-free carbs. Breadfruit flour could soon find its way into cakes, pastas, and, well … bread.
2 breadfruits, washed, peeled & quartered
Salt & ground white pepper
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Plain flour, to dust
Bring to the boil a saucepan with 3 cm of water on high heat
Add breadfruit and reduce heat
Cook for 10 minutes
Transfer to a bowl and mash until smooth
Season with salt and pepper
Combine mash with the egg
Add half the flour and Parmesan and stir
Add the remaining flour slowly until a firm dough forms
(If dough is too soft, add more flour)
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth
Line a baking tray with nonstick baking paper
Divide dough into 4 equal portions
Roll 1 portion into a 2 cm-diameter log about 30 cm long
Use a lightly floured knife to cut dough into 2 cm pieces
Repeat with remaining dough portions
Lightly flour your hands and roll each piece of dough into a ball
Use your thumb to roll each ball over a floured fork
Place on tray
Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil over medium heat
Add one-quarter of gnocchi (don't overcrowd)
Cook for 3 minutes or until they rise to the surface
Use a slotted spoon to drain and transfer to a bowl
Cover with foil to keep warm
Repeat, in 3 more batches
Serve and enjoy!
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