Here at Marbella Café we’re huge fans of the aguaymanto, a tangy fruit that hails from the Andes, variously known as pichuberry, Andean gooseberry, cape gooseberry and golden berry. Grown on shrubs, the fruit ripens inside a papery skin, akin to tomatillos, that turns from green to light brown. When ripe and divested of its papery wrapper, the berry, a reputed "super-food" (at least before it becomes pie), most resembles a bright orange cherry tomato with smooth, slightly sticky skin and, inside, has numerous small, edible seeds and tart, slightly sweet flesh.
Although edible fresh, in Peru aguaymanto is most often processed into jam, or macerated with pisco to make the ever-popular aguaymanto sour, or dried and eaten as a (tart) raisin.
To make our pie filling, we cook down the cleaned berry with a bit of sugar, fresh ginger, mandarin and, of course, a dash of pisco. We use a touch of chuño (flour ground from potatoes that are freeze dried in the Andean ground and dried in the sun) to thicken the juices, though outside of this region, tapioca flour or cornstarch work just as well.
The hint of ginger cooked with the filling adds a bit of spice and dimension to the concentrated fruit flavor. Once the filling cools, we scoop it into pie shells, top with a lattice and cook until bubbly. Once out of the oven the pies never last long in the store. If you want to dress up your pie, try a warm slice with a scoop of cardamom ice cream.
- 1 double pie crust (use your favorite recipe)
- 1 kilo aguaymanto (roughly 6-8 cups)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 two-inch knobs of ginger, cleaned and sliced into large pieces
- Juice of one mandarin plus 2 teaspoons grated mandarin peel
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp pisco
- 14 gr butter, cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon for dusting
- Mix aguaymanto with sugar, ginger, mandarin juice and peel. Let sit 20 minutes.
- Add liquid juices to a heavy bottomed pot and cook over medium heat.
- As juices heat, mix cornstarch with a tablespoon or so of the juices to make a slurry.
- Add fruit, raise heat and bring to a boil, smashing about a third of the aguaymanto. Add slurry and combine thoroughly.
- Cook, allowing mixture to continue to thicken, approximately 5 minutes, stirring as needed to avoid sticking.
- Add the pisco, stir to combine and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. The liquid should have thickened but should not be stiff.
- Remove from heat and let cool, then remove ginger.
- Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Roll bottom crust and place fit into the pie plate leaving about 2cm overhang.
- Roll out the top crust and cut into strips. Weave a lattice top, lightly brush with egg wash and set aside.
- Put fruit filling into bottom crust and dot top with butter.
- Place top crust onto pie and seal and crimp the edges.
- Sprinkle the top crust with cinnamon sugar.
- Place pie in the lower third of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Turn oven down to 340°F/170°C. Continue to bake for approximately 20 minutes until crust is lightly browned and fruit is bubbling.