Sunday, April 29, 2012

Know Your Exotic Fruits: Cherimoya 101...Featuring Creamy Cherimoya-White Chocolate Phyllo Tartlets with Summer Fruit Medley

Good, I'm happy to introduce you to an exotic fruit that you probably haven't tried...or perhaps even heard of.  Until my friends at Frieda's sent me a couple of cherimoyas (sher-ih-MOY-uhs) to sample and create a recipe with, I had never seen or tasted one myself. I'm so glad that I had this opportunity, because this little-known fruit is FABULOUS! Cherimoyas -- also known as the custard apple --- are about the size of a softball and have a green exterior that looks a bit scaly. When you cut into it, you'll discover a creamy, soft interior with several inedible brown seeds. The lovely flavor is best described as "tropical"...there are hints of pineapple, banana, and berries.

I ate one of my cherimoyas straight from the fridge with a spritz of lime juice so I could get a feel for the flavor and what it might combine well with. I felt like I should be lounging in a hammock next to a turquoise-blue beach as I ate it! Besides being delicious, cherimoyas are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and magnesium.

I decided to create my own recipe featuring cherimoya. I combined the fruit with white chocolate cream cheese and vanilla bean paste. Then I piped the creamy mousse into mini phyllo cups and topped them with diced summer fruit and shredded coconut. In about 20 minutes, I had a perfect tropical-inspired dessert.

Creamy Cherimoya-White Chocolate Phyllo Tartlets
with Summer Fruit Medley
a Weekend Gourmet Original

Step 1:  Remove a package of frozen phyllo tartlets from the freezer to thaw about an hour before you plan to assemble the tartlets. When you're ready to make the tartlets, place the seeded flesh from one cherimoya in a mixing bowl. Add an 8-ounce container of Philadelphia White Chocolate Indulgence cream cheese and 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste. 

Mix on low speed just until combined. Scrape down the sides and mix for 2-3 minutes on med-high speed...until it's whipped and creamy. Refrigerate the mousse while you make the fruit topping.

Step 2:  Combine the following fruit in a small bowl: 1/3 cup diced strawberries, 1 diced kiwi, 1/4 cup diced pineapple, 1/3 cup diced mango, and 1 tbs. sugar. Stir well to combine. 

Step 3:  Spoon the chilled cherimoya mousse into a piping bag or a sandwich-sized zip bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe the mousse into the phyllo tartlets. Top with a bit of the fruit medley and refrigerate until you're ready to serve. Just before serving, sprinkle a bit of shredded coconut on top.

These little bites pack a ton of fruit flavor! Up close, the finely diced fruit looks like little jewels...and the coconut on top lets you know that you're about to have a little bite of the tropics hit your mouth. Served on a pretty, colorful plate...these little dessert bites are as pretty to look at as they are to eat. The creamy mousse has a delicate fruit flavor that pairs really nicely with the diced fruit and coconut on top. 

The portion size makes these tartlets easy to eat, and it helps control how much dessert you have...important since bathing suit season is nearly upon us! We ate these bite-sized treats in front of the TV watching an SNL rerun last night...but if I closed my eyes? I could've SWORN I was sitting on a balcony in Cancun with waves crashing below. This was a small taste of the tropics that only took 20 minutes to whip up and didn't require a plane ticket or a passport! 

I hope that you'll seek out a cherimoya while they're in season and give this recipe a try. For my Texas readers, Frieda's cherimoyas are available in the Produce department of most HEB grocery stores. I've also seen them at HEB's Central Market as well. Jump in with both feet and give this exotic speciality fruit a try...I'm betting that you're going to become a fan of it as well!!

Disclosure: As one of their blog partners, Frieda's sent me two free cherimoyas to facilitate this post. As always, the opinions expressed about the product are all my own. 

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