I was curious about this fruit when I first saw it few years ago on Ta Qali market. I bought two packs of naspli, as if I was sure I’d love it. I came home and started my investigation….
Fuzzy thick skin, little dark spots here and there. I washed one, cut it in half and saw big seeds with a beautiful golden shine. I could smell a very delicate sweet floral aroma. The succulent light yellowish flash was firm and smooth; it reminded me of an apricot. Finally, I tasted it. I must admit I fell in love with naspli from the first bite! Soft and juicy texture, slightly tart, sweet and mellow at the same time. The flavor of naspli resembles plum, peach, apricot and apple. Now this is one of my favourite fruits. Even though some people find its flavor too simple, I found it very delicate and unique.
My further research helped me to find out that naspli (or loquat) is also packed with vitamins and minerals. Fruit contain vitamin-A, vitamin B-6, potassium, iron, copper, calcium and manganese. Being rich in dietary fiber and pectin, naspli is also relatively low in calories.
When you choose your naspli, I advise you to be guided by their smell – ripe fruits have a pleasant sweet aroma. Spots are quite common and do not necessarily mean that the fruit has gone bad – on the contrary, most of the time spotted ones taste sweeter. Besides that, I would recommend to choose those naspli that are soft to touch and deep in colour.
Please note that the seeds are toxic and not edible!
Last year after I got myself a big box of fresh naspli and started to experiment. I made naspli pickles, naspli in syrup, few chutneys, I baked and poached naspli and tried to make some naspli jam, of course.
Today I want to share with you a really simple recipe of poached naspli, which could be used as a topping for yoghurt, porridge or even ice cream. Drizzle your dish with some honey and mmm..! I like serve them with labneh slice, which is also really easy to make.
P.S. if you don’t have labneh you can substitute it with drained ricotta.
Baked labneh slice with chamomile poached naspli
To fill 23 square tin
- 500 gr labneh/ricotta
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Zest of ½ lemon
- Juice of 1 medium lemon, 50-60 ml
- 1 vanilla pod
- 100 gr caster sugar
- 1 tbsp flour
for chamomile poached naspli:
- a couple of handfuls of naspli
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup of dried chamomile flowers
- ½ cup of caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 150 C. Line baking tin with a baking paper. Cut vanilla pod lengthwise and scarp vanilla beans with a blunt side of a knife. Mix vanilla beans very well with some sugar.
- Put all ingredients and the remaining sugar in a big bowl and mix very well until smooth.
- Transfer mixture to the baking tin and bake for 30 minutes.
- Leave it to cool. It will firm up. Then refrigerate it.
For poached naspli:
- Wash naspli very well. Prepare some acidulated water by mixing lemon juice with water. Naspli become brown very quickly when cut and keeping them in water with lemon juice helps to prevent the discolouration.
- Cut each fruit in a half and remove the seeds and membrane, cut in half again and put in acidulated water.
- In a small pan mix chamomile flowers with 1,5 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for few minutes, remove from the heat and let it steep for about 10- 15 minutes. Then drain the liquid and discard the flowers.
- Put the liquid in a medium pan and add 1,5 more cups of water and sugar. Bring to a simmer and stir to dissolve the sugar. Cut a circle from baking paper the same diameter with a pan.
- Drain naspli and put it in a pan. Cover with baking paper circle and small plate (to keep them immersed in poaching liquid). Off the heat.
- Fruits are very delicate and will cook in residual heat. Let them cool in their liquid.
- Drain naspli and reduce poaching liquid to a syrup. Let it cool a little bit. Put naspli in a syrup, stir very carefully and arrange over the labneh slice!
Labneh is made of strained plain thick yoghurt. To make labneh at home: just mix the yoghurt with a good pinch of salt, put it into muslin cloth, tide the ends of the cloth and hang it over a bowl to capture the liquid it releases. Let it drain for 24-48 hours. In order to obtain 500 gr of labneh, you will need approximately 800 gr of yoghurt (but it may vary).