In November, I was bowled over by the most delicious scent from the blossom on my loquat (Eriobotyra japonica) tree. And now, as I gaze out of my back door, I’m further delighted by the sight of so much ripe fruit. Did I just not notice this fruit before or is it a combination of a hot summer, followed by a very mild winter that has supplied such an abundant crop?
Never having eaten one of my loquats, I wasn’t sure how to tell if it was ripe or not. The fruit felt softish though, so I gave it a go. Loquats are about the same size as an apricot, but the flesh is more watery, more akin to a pear. The less ripe fruits are quite tangy and sharp, a bit like a grapefruit (in taste but not in texture), and they’re sweeter the riper they get. I am wondering though if our summers here would ever be hot enough for a whole tree of very ripe fruit. It’s an interesting (if not compelling) taste, very juicy, and I’ll continue to nibble a few more fruits to see if they get any sweeter still.
In the meantime though, friend Catherine has found another, rather more splendid way to eat them. She recently noticed a very promising apricot and almond upside-down cake on Diana Henry’s website (such luck!) and has made it her own using some of the remaining loquats (and soft brown sugar instead of caster sugar). What a bloomin’ treat! Slices just melt in your mouth and the slightly tangy taste of the loquats contrasts beautifully with the honey in the recipe, making it difficult not to polish the whole lot off in one sitting. Hurrah for Catherine being on hand to whip up such a fantastic dessert, and I’m now trawling Diana Henry’s website for more sumptuous recipes.