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Custard apple (Sitaphal) or cherimoya ice cream

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

Custard apples, called sitaphal, dominate the Indian market in October and November. We had been gorging on these fruit here. These fruit are commonly found all over India and South East Asia. The closest relative is the cherimoya from South America, a fruit that is just as flavorful and delicious. My mother wanted me to make her this flavor ice cream. I looked at a number of recipes and discovered that all of them were boring with variations on fruit pulp, sugar, and cream. I wanted to elevate this ice cream. To do this, I first extracted the fruit petals (deseeded) and scooped out the grainy pulp next to the skin and puréed the petals and pulp. I then strained it through a very fine mesh strainer. This extra (and very tedious) step got rid of the granular texture of this fruit for a much smoother ice cream. I also added a pinch of ground cardamom, just enough to accent the flavor, but not enough to drown out the delicate fruit flavor of the fruit. In addition, I topped this with simple candied pistachios to add some pizazz to the ice cream. The result was a decadent, creamy ice cream that highlighted the delightful fruit.

For more of my creative recipes click here.

For the ice cream:

4 cups sitaphal pulp and petals, skin removed and deseeded

Petals only from 1 large sitaphal fruit, deseeded, the grainy pulp can be added to the above pulp

1/2 cup heavy cream

4-6 tablespoons sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit

Pinch ground cardamom

Pinch salt

For the candied pistachios:

1/2 cup pistachio nuts

3 tablespoons brown or white sugar

Pinch salt

Silicone baking sheet or parchment paper on a baking tray

To make the ice cream:

Puree the 4 cups of sitaphal petals pulp till very smooth smooth. Strain through a very fine mesh strainer, one small enough to catch the minute granulat particles. Work the purée through the strainer using a spatula till only the granular bits are left. Add the deseeded sitaphal pods and mix in. Set aside.

Warm the cream gently with the sugar, till it melts completely, no need to boil the cream, just warming it up a bit helps. Set aside to cool down. Add the sweetened cream, salt and ground cardamom to the purée and mix in well. Taste for sweetness and adjust. At room temperature the mix should be a tad sweeter as freezing the mix dampens the sweetness of the dessert. In addition, too much sugar will also overwhelm the subtle flavor of the fruit. Set in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.

Churn in your ice cream maker using the manufacturers instructions.

To make The candied pistachios:

Toast the pistachios lightly on a pan on low heat. Cool completely so the nuts get crunchy. Add the roasted nuts to a small pot and add the sugar and salt and toss continuously over high heat. The sugar will begin to melt and begin to coat the pistachio nuts. Continue till all the sugar is melred and the nuts are evenly coated. You will need to toss the nuts and work them with a spatula continuously during this time.

Lay the nuts in a single layer, as much as possible, on the baking sheet and allow to cool completely. Break apart the nuts if they are stuck together.

Store (more likely hide) them in an airtight container.

Serve the ice cream topped with the nuts.

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