Chef´s Choice: Prickly Pear Liqueur

by Horst Gutowski

Prickly Pear_3Ralph Kratzer aka tfrsecretary  published an article some days ago about the locally widespread cactus fruit known as Prickly Pear – in Turkish language “Babutsa”. To remember the post –please click  here.

The interior of the fruit is eaten with the equally edible seeds. The yellow-orange to red flesh, depending on the type of cactus, has a sweet-sour taste. The fruit can be eaten raw or be processed into jam or liqueur, called Bajtra. The name Bajtra comes from the island of Malta, where this liqueur has an old tradition and is accordingly  also offered for sale there. Due to the relatively high alcohol content the liqueur is durable for several years even though, due to the special sweet and fruity flavor,  it will probably be consumed faster.

 

Liqueur Recipe (Cypriot Variant)

Bajtra_1Ingredients

  • 600g flesh of Babutsa
  • 300g sugar ( best to use powdered sugar, as it dissolves better)
  • 2 small sachets of vanilla sugar or even better 2 vanilla pods
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1-2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (or eg Bloom´s fresh juice)
  • 750 ml of vodka
  • 150 ml of brandy

Preparation

homemade Bajtra1. Peel the prickly pears, please be careful of  the many small thorns, so maybe it is better to use a kind of barbecue tongs or gardening gloves.

2. Cut the fruit into small pieces (3-4 cm cubes) and put them, together with the sugar and the spices (cinnamon, clove and vanilla), in a container with a large opening.

3. Fill up with the orange juice and the alcohol.

4. Close the container with the fruit-sugar-alcohol mixture or cover with foil and let rest in a dark cool place for approximately 3-4 weeks.

5. Stir the contents in the container once or twice within the first two days so that the sugar contained dissolves more quickly. Note: After the first two days let the mixture really rest during the whole ripening process. Do not stir again, otherwise  the fruits will become mushy and the liqueur will become cloudy.

6. After the maturing process, filter the liqueur through a strainer.

7.  If you want to have the liqueur as clear as possible, it is advised to use a fine cloth or a coffee filter for further filtering.

Enjoy the Prickly Pear Liqueur either pure or for different kinds of desserts, for ice cream, for long drinks or for a mixture with sparkling wine.