If the artichoke had a cuter, younger fruit sister, it would be the cherimoya.
I always walk by these things at the farmer’s market. I guess I put them in the same category as mangosteen, starfruit, dragonfruit, and rambutan. Weird looking, a lot of effort, kinda expensive ($8 for one!), and nobody offers samples, so I’m not sure I’m gonna like the taste. In other words, quirky fruit. You gotta be in the mood for it.
Now that I’m on a weekly quest to cook with every local fruit and vegetable known to man (check off the list Peas in the Pod, Nopales, Chiogga Beets), I have to get myself in the mood for weird things more often.
And WOW I’m glad I did. Cherimoya is quite possibly one of the most delicious fruits I’ve ever tasted (Mark Twain agrees). I’ve heard it described as the ice cream fruit and it’s easy to see why. Cut it open and eat the soft custardy flesh with a spoon… it’s like tropical-fruity cake batter. So good.
But the raw version wasn’t cold enough for me. So I busted out the trusty old ice cream maker, added a pinch of this and that and treated myself to a small cup of homemade Cherimoya sorbet. Heaven.
It’s best to buy your cherimoya when it’s still firm, then let it ripen in a safe place for about 3-4 days (this helps it avoid bruising). It will give to pressure when it’s ready, similar to a mango or avocado. Once it’s ripe, you can put it in the refrigerator for a day or so if you prefer to eat it cold (note that the skin will turn brown in the fridge, like bananas do).
But it you prefer it to be sorbet, here’s how to do it.
- 1 Cherimoya, ripe
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon raw agave nectar
- Pinch of ground cloves
Slice the cherimoya lengthwise, then scoop out the flesh. The seeds look like chocolate chips, but they’re not – remove and discard. They’re not really edible and supposedly they’re poisonous too (I ate one and was fine, but just in case… is that really how you want to go?).
Mash the cherimoya batter with the lemon juice and agave nectar. Stir in the ground cloves. Put in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions, or just put it in a freezer-safe container and freeze it for a couple hours. Let it soften a bit before scooping, then serve with a sprinkle of ground cloves for garnish.