Fruits in spiced syrup are a beloved Dominican tradition, and almost any locally grown fruit can be made this way. Dulce de lechosa, though not the most common, is a lovely version of this dessert. Find an unripe papaya and be surprised by this delightful and unusual dessert.

– 1 unripe papaya, 1 lb [0.45 kg] (see notes) – 1½ tablespoon kosher salt – 1 cup brown sugar, (see notes) – 3 cinnamon sticks – 9 cloves


Step 1:

Cut into halves, peel, and discard seeds. With a sharp knife or --better-- a mandoline, slice the papaya very thinly.

Step 2:

Place the sliced papaya in a medium saucepan; add salt, and enough water to cover. Heat over medium heat until it breaks the boil. Immediately remove from the heat. Let it cool to room temperature.

Step 3:

Remove the papaya from the water, and discard the water. Add enough fresh water to cover it, stir to rinse out the salt, and discard the water.

Step 4:

Place the papaya in a small pot or medium saucepan, add cinnamon sticks, cloves, and sugar. Add ⅓ cup of water. Simmer over medium-low heat until almost all the liquid (the papaya will release some as it cooks) evaporates. Discard cinnamon sticks and cloves.

Step 5:

Cool to room temperature, then chill before serving. Store in a lidded jar and refrigerate for up to a week, or serve once chilled.

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