Such a rush of childhood pleasure fills me as I sit here and eat this fragrant custardlike fruit. I have been eyeing this one here for the last 24 hours and waiting for it to ripen perfectly. I just touched it and one of the outer bumps moved in revealing the cream colored inner flesh and I knew it was time.
Yesterday I found a basket of them at my neighborhood supermarket. Many were ripening and starting to split, so I chose 6 that were still slightly firm. By the time I got home and unpacked my bags, I found that the guy who packed the bags had added 2 heads of broccoli along with them. The weight of the broccoli crushed my precious fruit and I found a mangled mass of pulp, shell/ skin and seeds. I was so happy to discover that there was one lone survivor amid the mushy mass. I washed it off and put it safely on a plate to ripen. It was worth the wait.
If you’ve never tasted a custard apple, it’s one of those truly exotic fruit. The outer exterior reminds me of an armadillo for some strange reason. When the fruit is green, the exterior is like an armor. Firm and unshakable, the hard shell protects the mellow, soft sweet custard like interior. As it ripens the exterior begins to loosen slightly to expose the interior. There are many black seeds inside each one covered with an unctuous creamy textured delight. It tastes sweet and slightly perfumed with an almost cinnamon flavored goodness. You can just split it open and eat it with a spoon. It’s just delicious.
Here in Haiti, Custard apples are known as Cachiman Cannelle or Cachiman Bouton. There is another variety called Coeur de Boeuf which is slightly larger and has a smoother red/ pink skin. The inside is fragrant and delicious. They make the most delicious juices from these fruits here. Simply blend with water and add a little sugar. They can be made into extraordinary shakes with a little milk or condensed milk… to die for. I recently read that these fruits are all related to the miracle Soursop or Corosoll fruit. Apparently they share similar cancer fighting properties and are deemed miracle fruits. As I do not have data to support this claim, I’d rather just say how delicious they are and encourage you to look for them sometime in your Asian, Latin or Caribbean markets. They bruise easily when ripe, so be careful when transporting them.