The pomelo is a citrus fruit native to South-east Asia but unlike other tropical fruit, you’re unlikely to find it outside of Asian shops. Until I saw them in my local Chinese supermarket, I’d only ever heard of them from cookbooks. This citrus has a short season, limited to February and March. It’s the size of a small melon, slightly pointed at one end and flat at the other, with a strong scent of grapefruit and herbs even before peeling. The pomelo is popular not only as a fruit for dessert, often eaten with a sprinkling of chilli, but as a component for salads and even as a subtle air freshener!
The pith is thick and the membrane between the segments (the internet reliably warned me in advance) is also bitter which makes the sweet flesh a little tricky to get to. I found that although a knife was necessary to slice off the top and cut through the thick peel on the outside, using my hand was the best way to extract the segments, which are a little sturdier without their membranes than the oranges I’m used to eating.
Tasting like a sweet grapefruit (the grapefruit is a hybrid of the pomelo and the orange), the firm flesh would definitely lend itself to salads, both spicy South-east Asian ones and Mediterranean orange salads, or indeed as a replacement for a breakfast grapefruit. At the moment, I’m still experimenting with what’s left of mine; despite the cost, you can get a lot of use out of it, from both flesh and zest. After a couple of servings of the fruit on it’s own, I’m trying to swap it for where I’d normally use other citrus fruits, and a slightly bittersweet pomelo posset is one very simple result.
Combine the cream, pomelo zest and sugar in a small saucepan and gently bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar; should the acid from the zest begin to curdle the cream, some aggressive whisking will reverse this. Once beginning to boil, remove from the heat and stir in the pomelo juice (crushing around 150g flesh one peeled using the back of a spoon and a sieve released more than enough). Allow the scented cream to cool and thicken slightly before pouring into small dishes or cocktail glasses. Chill for at least 4 hours to set in the fridge before serving.