Papaya Dessert, DULCE DE LECHOSA

This “dulce de lechosa” is made while the papaya is still green (unripe) and slow cooked in a sweet and delicious syrup flavored with cinnamon, cloves and vanilla. This dessert is not only a traditional favorite of the Dominican Republic, but also in many South American countries and in the Caribbean. The papaya is also known as pawpaw, and in spanish it is called lechosa, mamón, melón de árbol and fruta bomba. I know many living outside their country love this dessert and with this post they will most likely have flashback memories of the flavors of their country.
En español: AQUÍ

I dedicate this post to my aunt Anne Fresolina, who I love very much and thank for always making delicious desserts like this one and the of cajuil (cashew fruit). She is an inspiration to continue the making traditional desserts at home. I send a big hug to her!
Papaya from the farm.

Dulce de Lechosa

1 large green papaya
1 cinnamon stick
3 cups sugar (600 g) or to taste
¼ of ground cloves
¼ cinnamon
2 spoonfuls of vanilla water

1. Peel, remove the seeds and cut the papaya into thin strips of 1½ inch (3.5 cm) long.
2. Place the strips in a pot with enough water to cover them and let it boil covered until the strips are slightly tender (12 minutes).
3. Throw away the water it has boiled in and place the papaya strips under the tap cool slightly with cold water; drain and place it in a thick bottom pot.
4. Add 2 cups of sugar, sprig of cinnamon, ground cloves, cinnamon powder, vanilla and enough water to cover the strips. Boil covered at high heat for 15 minutes, then uncover and lower the heat to moderate and check sugar, if you would like more add the remaining cup of sugar. Let it boil for 1-2 hours or until you the papaya is transparent and the syrup is thick.
5. Allow cooling and store covered in the refrigerator or save in sterilized jars. Serve cold.

a) The papaya must be green, meaning the pulp must also be green and firm.  I have encountered many fruits that are green outside but when I cut them the are a pale orange inside. You can still do this recipe, but it will take less time to cook and the texture would be kind of mushy.

b) Depending on the size (weight) of the papaya, the quantity of sugar needed may vary. A guide calculate the amount of sugar needed is by measuring in cups the fruit after it has boiled in water the first time and has been cooled with tap water and drained. Measure and place in the pot. I use ½ cup of sugar for each ½ cup of fruit. But still I recommend you not to add all the sugar at once, but only half and the rest go adding little by little while tasting until it is as sweet as you like.

c) The strips of papaya can be set in a tray to dry in the sun until noon; this helps it stay firm while cooking. Also a ½ teaspoon of baking soda can be added while cooking with the sugar, this help the fruit crystallize sooner and add a nice color to it. I don't do any of these steps and my dessert comes out fine and delicious!

You will also find this sweet delicacy in the following delicious and recomended kitchen:

Gabriela, Clavo y Canela: Dulce de Mamón (Dulce de Papaya)

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. ~ Romans 14:19

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