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Chirimoya Alegre (Happy Custard Apple)


Mark Twain once called the chirimoya “the most delicious fruit known to men” and I wholeheartedly agree.  On my most recent trip to Chile, I was able to taste the rich, velvety sweetness of a chirimoya for the first time.  Chirimoya, also spelled cherimoya, is a fruit native to the Andes and is grown throughout Central and South America.  The name originates from the word chirimuya of the Native South American dialect Quechua, which means “cold seeds,” because the plant grows at high altitudes.

The fruit is soft and sweet with a sherbet-like texture, which gives the chirimoya its secondary name, “custard apple.”  The fruit has a creamy taste that resembles a strawberry, banana, and pineapple flavor combination, which loosely translates to — this is my new favorite fruit.  People will often chill the fruit and just eat the flesh with a spoon, giving rise to another nickname “the ice cream fruit.”  In Chile, a very traditional dessert called Chirimoya Alegre is prepared by simply pouring orange juice over chirimoya chunks.  We made this dessert for our Chilean Cuisine Cooking Class in Valparaiso.

Unfortunately, chirimoyas are considered an exotic fruit in the US and may not be easily found in stores.  But trust me, when I do find them, I’m cleaning out the store.

Chirimoya Alegre

Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 custard apples
  • juice of 5 freshly squeezed oranges
  • 2 T powdered sugar aka confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Peel and seed the custard apples and then cut them into bite sized chunks.  In large bowl, gently mix the freshly squeeze orange juice and powdered sugar.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes and serve cool.

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