Recipe: Cassia’s Laurel Almerinda Makes Pineapple Guava Butter

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Pineapple guavas from Coleman Family Farms. (Photo by Camellia Tse)

Cassia - Beignet
Laurel Almerinda’s Pineapple Guava Beignets. (Photo by Orlando) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Laurel Almerinda is the pastry chef at Cassia and oversees pastry operations for Huckleberry and Milo & Olive, together with co-owner Zoe Nathan. The recently opened Cassia blends the cuisines of Southeast Asia together with a California sensibility for fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

This week at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, we caught up with Laurel as she was shopping for pineapple guavas. The recent appointment gives her special license to experiment with tropical fruits to complement the menu at Cassia.

One seasonal, new item on her dessert menu for Cassia stars the pineapple guava. She begins by making a pineapple guava butter (recipe below), which she uses to fill fried, multigrain beignets, served together with crème fraîche ice cream and strawberry compote.

How to pick pineapple guava: Laurel says the key is to leave them out at room temperature to ripen for a few days before using them. Check that they’re soft to the touch, and that you can easily smell their fragrance. When you cut them open, their flesh should be be almost translucent, rather than opaque.