Ana asked if anyone could provide information about a fruit she remembered gathering as a young girl in Cuba and the pudding her mother made from it. We received some intriguing suggestions as to what the fruit may be, and the recipe here, but so far I have not found a source for the fruit.
“I believe the fruit she described is known as craboo, or sometimes nance, and it comes from a tree that grows all over the Caribbean,” says Judy, a former Miamian.
“It is pretty common here in Belize, either fresh or you can buy it frozen, but don’t know where you would find it in South Florida. I don’t really like it by itself, but everyone makes it into this pudding, and you can even buy a rum made with it.”
An anonymous reader suggested a similar spelling: “It is called nancite fruit, and it can be found growing wild in Nicaragua and a lot of other tropical countries. It comes in clusters on a bush and has a very distinctive aroma, which a lot of people don’t like, and the fruit is a little tart, which is why it is usually made into drinks and puddings. You can find it frozen in bags in markets that cater to Latin and South Americans. The whole fruit is frozen.”
Francis McPhee has a different thought: “When I saw Ana’s question in Sleuth’s Corner I felt sure the tiny apple-shaped fruit she remembered was Diospyros Virginiana, our native North American persimmon. It is delicious fresh or made into a pudding”
McPhee says the fruit grows wild here as well as in Cuba. “Being a native, it takes care of itself and will grow from seed, but I would suggest buying a grafted plant, which is sure to be female. … I bought my grafted tree at a South Dade nursery (it may have been a native plant nursery). This is one of my favorite fruits and unfortunately I have never seen it for sale.”
Q. I would like to find either a recipe for or the location, if one exists, for a My Pi pizza. They used to be up on the Sunny Isles Causeway.
Alas, it appears there is just one My Pi left on the planet and it is in the Chicago area. It is a family-owned business in which the son is carrying on his father’s legacy, but under the name My Pie.
At one point, My Pi, which opened in 1971, had restaurants in nine states. A bit of research turns up lots of folks who miss the signature deep-dish pizza and other specialties. (My Pi is said to have been the first to take deep-dish out of Chicago and into the hinterlands of America.)
I found the garlic bread recipe here in a nostalgic 2009 column in The Tulsa Oklahoma World by Nicole Marshall Middleton, which reprised recipes from a local My Pi that first ran in 1977.
“Some Tulsa restaurants, though long gone, will forever be part of the Tulsa foodie landscape,” Middleton wrote.
You can, happily, either check out the My Pie in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago next time you’re in the area, or you can have a pizza on dry ice delivered anywhere. The website, complete with a My Pi history, is at mypiepizza.com.
Q. There is a dish at Spartico at the Mayfair I just love, made with all kinds of seafood in a tomato sauce you just have to dip your bread into to get every last bit. Can you tell me how to make it?
The seafood stew is on the restaurant’s Miami Spice menu, available through September, but happily, executive chef Dario Correa shared the recipe so you can make it anytime. You can take advantage of whatever seafood strikes your fancy at the market, or follow his lead.
Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.