Baked Papaya and Coconut – Tahiti Dessert
Called “the fruit of angels,” papaya is most famous for its enzymes, which not only help with protein digestion, but can beautify the skin. Papaya is also rich in antioxidants and as a result is anti-inflammatory. Some research also reports that papayas help male fertility, as it contains the enzyme arginine, known to increase nitric acid and help blood supply to the penis. It is also heralded as an anti-aging fruit, as its digestion aid helps to absorb nutrients.
Combine papaya with healthy-for-you coconut rich in protein and a pathogen fighter, and this traditional Tahiti dessert is as healthy a dessert as you can find.
2 small ripe papayas
1/2 cup organic sugar (such as Sucanat) or maple syrup
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups fresh coconut milk made from 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped coconut and 1 1/2 cups hot water (thoroughly blend coconut meat and hot water)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Peel the papayas, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Arrange in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle the fruit with organic sugar or maple syrup and pour pour 1/4 cup of water into the dish. Bake, basting frequently, for 1 1/2 hours, until tender. Raise the heat to 400 until the sugar has caramelized. Pour the coconut milk into the centers of the papayas, close the oven, and let set in the warm oven for five to 10 minutes.
Adapted from Pacific and Southeast Asian Cooking (Time Life Books Foods of the World series, 1970).