The loquat, usually called “Japanese plum” in Charleston, is a common tree of dooryards and gardens in the Lowcountry. Most of the trees have been cultivated from unimproved seedlings in this century as ornamentals; the fruits are undersized and full of the large seeds. The juicy, firm texture of the fruits, which resemble apricots, makes them a local favorite, particularly eaten out of hand.
The season for the ripe fruit (and it must, indeed, be ripe to softness to be edible) is brief; it is the first summer fruit to arrive. Some years the fruits ripen in early April; other years they are still on the trees when the Spoleto Festival USA ends in early June. Neighborhood children love to climb the trees; they go from door to door offering the fruits for sale. The following recipe is from Joann Yaeger, a local chef.
Apricots, another exotic fruit favored for Charleston courtyards, can be substituted here. If you have neither fresh apricots nor loquats, use dried apricots soaked in water overnight. (Instructions follow the recipe).
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll out about
© 1992 All rights reserved. Published by UNC Press.