My Main Squeeze
About a month ago, my coworker brought in a basket overflowing with fresh calamansi from her mom’s tree in Wahiawa, and ever since I’ve been on a diehard, Vitamin C-charged citrus kick, dipping into much more than my fair share of the juicy little gems.
It’s so easy to become obsessed with all things citrus, seeing as there’s simply nothing more cheery to eat. Limes, lemons, oranges — the whole lot — are like instant sunshine in a dish or drink, whether squeezing fresh lime over homemade guacamole or cooling off with ice-cold calamansi lemonade.
It’s somewhat of a no-brainer that satisfying a citrus itch while simultaneously catering to one’s sweet tooth is a winning combination, so I’ve been scouring town for the best in bright, tart and enlivening desserts. And as you’ll soon find out, I’ve got some real zingers for you:
IN HEAVEN WITH LOCAL CITRUS
Getting back to calamansi for a moment, it really is one of the most brilliant yet underappreciated of all citrus fruits. A natural hybrid of the kumquat and sour mandarin, this greenish “golden lime” is used in abundance in the Philippines and develops a hint of glorious sweetness when fully ripened to yellowy-orange.
Niel Koep, owner and chef of Fendu Boulangerie, knows the flavorful potential of this citrus well, and he decided to take advantage of it when his sister in law’s calamansi tree on Lanai — where Koep resides part time — recently was booming with the fruit. “I like them when they’re ripe — they’re unlike anything else,” he says.
So naturally, after harnessing the fresh juice from the local harvest, Koep did what he does best: created a mouthwatering dessert. Lanai Calamansi Slice ($4.75) comes together with layer upon layer of delight, starting with flourless chocolate cake that serves as the foundation for vanilla sponge cake and calamansi mousse on top.
Koep assures patrons that despite the lime-like flavor of calamansi, his treat is “not overly tart.” Instead, the fruit’s citrusy spark is balanced with a sweet layer of caramel créme enhanced with Lanai Raw Organic Honey (also sold at Fendu). “The calamansi and organic honey blend together very well; they offset each other,” he describes.
Speaking of dessert, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, keep in mind that Fendu is still taking orders for its Traditional Pumpkin Pie through tomorrow, and after that, look forward to the bakery’s famous Stollen for Christmastime.
Fendu Boulangerie Manoa Marketplace
2752 Woodlawn Drive, Manoa
GOOD DAY, SUNSHINE!
If I had to choose one citrus as my desert-island fruit, it would have to be lemon. Shining so bright, this sharp yellow ingredient vivifies anything it touches and is delicious even when simply squeezed into a glass of water.
But much more decadent and fun to consume, of course, are lemon desserts.
If you like lemon bars and lemon poppyseed cake, just wait until you try Lemon Pudding Cake ($9) from 3660 on the Rise; it might just change your life.
As any friendly staffer at the longstanding eatery will tell you, this dessert is perfect for after dinner — even if you’re stuffed — because it’s light and airy, and the lemon flavor offers a nice, clean way to finish off a meal.
Lemon Pudding Cake is made by folding together whipped egg whites and lemon mousse, which is then baked and served a la mode with fresh raspberries. But wait, it gets better: A little extra zeal comes in the form of crisp lemon wafers and candied lemon zest on top.
According to 3660, this sweet treat used to be served years ago, and recently was brought back due to popular demand.
3660, which has pioneered Euro-Island cuisine since 1992, currently is in holiday mode and working on new menu items. Next year, it plans to offer more wine dinners.
3660 on the Rise
3660 Waialae Ave., Kaimuki