A pineapple guava sits on the counter
huddled as if in conversation with green-backed
friends. Its unseen skill paints the splotched
cream walls of our kitchen into dappled light
nudging through long leafy fronds of palm trees.
I want to bottle the aroma, all mai tai and lapping
waves of an ocean too turquoise to be real.
In the winter morning, when the fog horn
croons outside and a finger could swipe
a smiley face on the frosted windows,
we need a little bit of paradise come down
that it might remind us to remember
ourselves even as the cold and darkness
come too soon and we turn into bears,
clawing our way toward blanketed slumber.
PINEAPPLE GUAVA CURD
YIELD: 4 jam jars
6 medium-sized pineapple guavas
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup organic sugar
6 egg yolks
1 stick (7 tablespoons) unsalted organic butter, at room temperature
Run a microplane against the soft backs of three guavas, capturing two tablespoons of zest.
Cut the guavas in half, placing them belly-side up and scoop out the flesh, 1/2 cup, into a bowl.
Mash in the zest and lemon juice with the tines of a fork until it resembles mashed banana.
Fill a heavy-bottomed pot with water and set over medium heat until bubbles begin to break
against the sides. Turn heat down to medium low so the water continues to simmer.
Pour sugar into a large stainless steel bowl with a deep well. Along its edge, crack the eggs, one by one, cradling the yolk in the shell, or if you’re quite adept, in your hand, letting the whites cascade into a waiting bowl or glass, reserved for some other purpose.
Whisk yolk with sugar to make a goldenrod paste and place the bowl over the pot of simmering water. Whisk in the mashed pineapple guava into the yolk and sugar. Feel the length of your arm conspiring with your recollection of a smear of curd on toast as you keep whisking. Whisk with passion. Whisk and let your mind wander about whether Mr. Darcy was a prat to Elizabeth Bennett or if she might have just been too proud to see through his veneer. Whisk as if you can stave off the Christmas season soon coming to a close. Whisk until the curd thickens up like a good redeye gravy, about five minutes. Gently plop pats of butter into the bowl and (need I say it), keep whisking.
Once it all comes together like the sunny buttery light of an easy Sunday morning, spoon it into small jam jars and bring them to room temperature before refrigerating.