Having enjoyed our last picnic so much, we devised another one a couple of weeks later with Another Outspoken Female. She and I had been chatting about vegan-friendly summer desserts and after pointing out this fruit salad of Haalo's to her, I was compelled to give it a go for our get-together.
Fruit salads have never been a passion of mine: too often they're thoughtlessly composed, and almost never are they dressed. I liked that Haalo's one held to a tropical theme, gained some added texture from tapioca pearls and included a sweet-and-sour makrut lime leaf-infused dressing.
Unfortunately my own version lost its way with the tropical fruit theme. I found plenty of mangoes and a few rambutans at the markets but no lychees or longans, so I fell back on cherries. The cherries were excellent and not too much trouble to pit, although I happened upon this clever alternative method a day later and wished I'd had a chance to try it. I pulled my makrut lime leaves from a tree in our apartment block, and they were as plump and fragrant as I've ever seen them.
This made for a splendid dessert, without any need for icecream or chocolate or cake. I clearly need to explore fruit salads further.
Summer fruits & tapioca pearls in makrut lime syrup
(adapted from a recipe on Cook Almost Anything)
3/4 cup castor sugar
3/4 cup water
6 makrut lime leaves, finely shredded
3/4 cup tapioca pearls
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
5 rambutans, peeled and seed removed
500g cherries, pitted
Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and set them over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup is clear. Turn off the heat and add the makrut lime leaves, so that they infuse the syrup as it cools.
Place the tapioca pearls in a small saucepan and cover them with lots of water. Bring them to the boil for 5 minutes then continue simmering them until softened all the way through, about 5 minutes. Drain the pearls and pour half the syrup over them.
In a large bowl, stir together the fruit and tapioca. Test-taste and check the moisture levels, adding the remaining syrup to your preferences.