While walking through Berkeley's Monterey Farmers Market with my kids last Tuesday morning I made a heart-jumping discovery. They had Cherimoyas or Chirimoyas. Oh my, this takes me back to being little and to fun-packed summers in beautiful Chile.
This fruit is a well-known staple of South America, specially popular in Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. And of course, you get it in Chile. It's a sweet tropical fruit, with a fresh, fleshy and some would say also creamy consistency. And, as I later found out, Cherimoyas have two nicknames: sugar apple or tree of ice-cream. The later is because it is used a lot in juices, smoothies and ice creams.
While living in Europe or the US I never heard anyone talking about Cherimoyas, forget about finding one in a grocery store or market. Chances of trying a Cherimoya outside of South America are rather small. But now you definitely know how they look like, so if you spot one, go get it! It is delicious and so easy to enjoy.
You know your Cherimoya it is ripe when the outside feels slightly soft, basically just like an avocado, same principle. Cut it through the middle and you will see its creamy white flesh with large brown pits. Be warned, eating Cherimoya comes with a bit of a spitting contest. Unless you have the time and patience to fish all the kernels out before serving it (totally doable). And do not eat the skin.
A typical Chilean summer dessert is "Chirimoya Alegre" or happy cherimoya. And that's what I am preparing here. Because trust me, you will stumble some (happy) day across this lovely fruit and then you'll know how to enjoy it best :)
Ingredients: Serves 4
- 2 Cherimoyas, slightly soft to touch
- Fresh juice from 2 oranges
- 4 glass bowls to serve
Cut Cherimoyas in half and spoon out flesh into dessert glasses. You can leave the pits in or take them out. They are quite easy to spot. However, if you do take them out, cover your bases and warn whoever is enjoying this dessert that there still might be a kernel hiding under the cream colored flesh. Divide the freshly squeezed orange juice among the four glasses, pour it over the fruit pieces and refrigerate the pots for 2 hours.
This dessert is best when chilled.
Chirimoya Alegre will give you a taste of South American summer. Another way to enjoy Cherimoyas is by placing the white flesh without skin nor pits in a blender with some ice. Blend it thoroughly. You'll get a silky sweet Cherimoya Smoothie. Chill it and enjoy.
Have you ever eaten Cherimoyas before? What's your favorite way to enjoy this 'sugar apple'? I'd love to hear your story. Tell me about your Cherimoya version in the comments section below.