When we’re wandering through the grocery store here in Singapore we ALWAYS go through the fruit section to see if there’s any different tropical fruit in season. Recently we have really been enjoying custard apples. Wait and see the recipe we came up with!
Custard apples are pale green in colour and have smooth bumps on their skin (we have seen some that don’t have the bumps). They are quite hard when they are unripe but once they start to ripen they go very soft. If you buy a ripe one it is REALLY tricky to get it home without it getting totally smooshed. We have found it is better to buy them hard and nurse them into ripeness, trying to defend them against the bugs and the mould. However, the payoff is well worth it as they are definitely one of our favourite fruits.
When it gets soft to the touch all you have to do is cut it in half to reveal the creamy white flesh contrasted with the shiny black seeds. Then you just spoon it out and eat it. It tastes like a cross between a pear, a banana and a peach and the flesh is very smooth – which is probably why it is called a custard apple. They are also called cherimoya or ice cream fruit. You can’t eat the skin or the seeds but they are quite large and you can’t miss them.
Not only do they taste great but custard apples are also very good for you. They contain vitamin C to keep your immune system strong, potassium and magnesium for your muscles and are also reportedly very good for your digestive system.
We wanted to see what else we could do with them besides just eating them straight up. We decided to try and invent something using some other ingredients we found in the grocery store. Here is what we came up with:
Custard Apple Jellies with Gula Melaka Syrup
- 1⅔ cup of deseeded custard apple pulp (1 large custard apple)
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- 200mL coconut milk
- 3 Tbsp gula melaka syrup*
- 10g konyaku powder**
- More gula melaka syrup to serve
- Put the custard apple pulp, lemon juice, coconut milk and gula melaka syrup into a food processor and process until smooth. This may take a couple of batches if the food processor is small.
- Transfer the mix to a saucepan and heat until steaming. Turn off heat.
- Sprinkle the konyaku powder into the saucepan while stirring constantly. You have to do this VERY quickly as the jelly sets really fast.
- Continuing to work quickly, pour the jelly into 4 ramekins or glasses and place in the fridge. If the jelly sets before you get it into the ramekins you can put it back into the food processor and buzz it for a bit before pouring it in.
- Let the jelly finish setting in fridge and when you are ready to serve shake them out of the ramekins, place on a plate and top with some more gula melaka syrup.
* Gula melaka syrup is a liquid form of gula melaka or palm sugar. It is very rich like molasses but has a much more caramelly flavour. It made from the sap of palm trees so it is like the maple syrup of Asia.
** Konyaku powder is a vegan gelatine alternative made from the roots of the konjac plant. It is used in Asia to make a lot of foods including candy, jellies and noodles.