Waiting time: 2-3 days
Papaya trees grow very well on Reunion Island (if the altitude is not too high), where they were introduced about 1750. Particularly prized is the "solo" variety which has a flavor like ripe apricots. They are eaten as dessert, plain or sprinkled with a little lemon juice. But green papayas are also used in salads and gratins.
This recipe requires careful cooking. The slices should have absorbed the sugar and still be firm and moist, neither too dry nor too soft. One of the main reasons for candying papaya and other foods was to preserve them, though today it is to enhance their sweetness. This candied papaya makes a nice dessert or snack. Serve it either cold or warm with some vanilla ice cream and a cup of Indian tea.
- Peel and seed the papayas; slice them lengthwise into slices 4-5 cm (2") wide.
- Place these slices into a pot of cold water with a pinch of salt.
- Bring to a boil. Remove the papaya, drain and cool. If necessary, pat dry with a cloth.
- Arrange the slices, vertically and tightly packed, in a heavy saucepan. Add the sugar, rum, vanilla and cinnamon along with 250 ml (1 cup) water. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the lid and cook at very low heat for 2-3 hours.
- Remove the papaya from the syrup; cool and dry in the sun for at least 2 days.
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