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Sliced Papaya with Vanilla Cream
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½ c
heavy cream
vanilla bean (preferably from Madagascar or Comoros)
2 tbsp
granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1 lg
or 2 small papayas, peeled, seeded, and cut into thick slices

This simple vanilla-infused cream makes ripe papaya even more special than it already is. Try serving the cream on other fruit (it goes especially well on sliced mango, pineapple, and berries). Be sure to throw the whole vanilla pod into the pot with the cream after you scrape the seeds out—the pod itself has a ton of flavor, even if it’s not entirely edible. In fact, after the cream, you can rinse it off and place it in a jar, cover with vodka or bourbon, and let it sit in a dark spot to make your own pure vanilla extract. Keep adding pods to the jar after you scrape them for other recipes (such as Grilled Lobster Tails with Vanilla Sauce), and you’ll end up with liquid gold in your cupboard.


  1. Place the cream in a small saucepan set over medium heat.
  2. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the blunt end of a paring knife or a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Place the vanilla seeds and the scraped pod into the pot with the cream and add the sugar and salt. Cook, stirring, until bubbles form at the edges, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. remove the vanilla pod (see the recipe introduction for a good idea of what to do with it). Place the papaya on a serving platter and evenly spoon the vanilla cream over it. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours before serving, then serve cold.

Reprinted with permission from In Bibi’s Kitchen by Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen, copyright © 2020. Photographs by Khadija M. Farah & Jennifer May. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

In Bibi's Kitchen

Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen

Book Cover