Have you ever eaten a cherimoya? I just found this delightful fruit at Safeway the other day and couldn’t help but pick one up. I wasn’t even sure what it was since I had never seen one before – I actually thought I was buying a vegetable but turns out it was sweet!
What to look for: I could have easily “googled” this ingredient to see how to select a ripe fruit…but I was stubborn and just assumed that it was ripe if it was brown and slightly soft like an avocado. I was wrong! This fruit is ripe when the skin turns green and gives slightly (like an avocado).
What does it taste like? In my opinion, a cherimoya has a unique flavor profile – as if you were combining a pineapple, papaya, banana and a peach — so yummy! My taste buds were surprised and delightfully confused at the same time.
What to expect: The fruit is fleshy and soft, sweet, white in color, with a sherbert-like texture, which explains it’s nickname as “the custard apple”. The dark seeds as well as the skin are inedible yet the seeds are easily removed.
What is the nutritional profile? Cherimoyas are a rich source of vitamin C, calcium and niacin.
Where is it typically grown? In tropical climates with humid conditions, South Asia as well as South and Central America.
Since I was transported to the tropics after tasting my first bite of cherimoya, I decided to blend it up for a refreshing custard-like treat along with fresh lime juice. This chilled snack, breakfast or dessert is protein packed and complex in flavor for such a short ingredient list. For a dairy-free option, feel free to substitute your favorite dairy-free yogurt in this recipe.
Cherimoya Lime Custard
1 ripe cherimoya, peeled, deseeded and cubed
2/3 cup cottage cheese (for dairy-free, use plain coconut or soy yogurt)
drizzle of unsweetened vanilla almond milk or other non-dairy milk (about 2 Tbsp)
juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp lime zest (use organic limes if you are using the zest)
shredded coconut, optional for garnish
1. In a small food processor or high powered blender, puree the cherimoya and the cottage cheese/yogurt until smooth. To help this along, drizzle a bit of the non-dairy milk as needed (if using yogurt, this might not be necessary).
2. Stir in the lime juice until combined. Pour into two serving vessels, sprinkle with lime zest and coconut (if desired) and serve!
You can also refrigerate the custard for a hour until chilled. I refrigerated the cherimoya prior to pureeing, as well as the addition of the chilled cottage cheese, we enjoyed this immediately!
You may be asking yourself, what are other ways to eat this fruit? Let me help!
1. Once ripe, chill the fruit and eat the flesh with a spoon – simple but delicious!
2. Blend it in a smoothie or shake
3. Cut into chunks and use it in a fruit salad
4. Use it in a parfait (my preference would be layered with granola, yogurt and chia seeds)