May 7, 2013

Custard Apple (Ramphal) Fool With Ginger-Lemongrass Syrup and Mangoes & The Winners Of The Basilur Tea Giveaway……

or a very long time, I knew the “Sitaphal” was Custard Apple because that’s what we call the fruit in India. That was until I discovered that the rest of the world it Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa) and not Custard Apple!
So then what is the real Custard Apple? It turns out that we have that in India too, and it’s known as “Ramphal”! This one also belongs to the Annona family of fruits (Annona reticulata) and also known in various other parts of the world as wild-sweetsop, bull's heart, etc. There’s also yet another variety of the Annona family that’s native to Latin America (Annona cherimola) which is known as the Cherimola or Cherimoya.

As a child, I had only seen the “usurper” Custard Apple (Sitaphal), but the last couple of years I have been seeing the “real” Custard Apple (Ramphal) at muy local market.
For those of you who are still confused between the two like I was, Sitaphal is green in colour and has a bumpy exterior while the Ramphal is brown or yellowish, sometimes with red highlights and comparatively smoother on the outside.
Sitaphal tends to be rounder/ squatter, apple-like in shape while Ramphal tends to be more“heart” shaped which probably gives it the “bull’s heart” moniker.

There are slight differences on the inside too. Sitaphal tends to have individual small lobules of seed enclosed flesh clumped together in the fruit while Ramphal is just a fleshy mass and fewer seeds. While both are soft and custardy in texture and taste, I personally find the Sitaphal tastier but the Ramphal is easier to convert to pulp as it has less seeds.

Of course, both fruits tend to appear at the market around the same time of the year, and are best eaten scooped out as they are, fresh and chilled. However, there are always ways to turn them into desserts where they still shine through. The Custard Apple (the real one and the usurper) is excellent to use as fruit mousse or in similar preparations given their naturally custard like property.

I decided to make mine into “Fool” and serve that with a lemongrass-ginger syrup and fresh mangoes for a light summertime dessert. Add some crushed cookies and you have a perfect dessert.
Custard Apple (Ramphal) Fool With Ginger-Lemongrass Syrup and Mangoes


For the fool:

2 large Custard Apples
200ml chilled cream (25% fat) 

For the syrup:

1 1/2" piece of fresh ginger
1 stick of fresh lemongrass
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
zest from 1 lime
2 mangoes (cubed) and some crushed gingernut cookies, to serve


First make the syrup.
Peel and slice the ginger into thin pieces. Crush the lemongrass with the handle of your knife and then cut into pieces. Put the sugar and the water in a pan and over medium heat, stir it till the sugar dissolves. Then bring it to a boil, turn down the heat and add the ginger, lemongrass and lemon zest.
Let this simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes, till it reduces a little and thickens slightly into a syrup. Stir in the lemon juice, bring to a boil and take the pan off the heat.
Let the syrup cool completely. Strain out the solids and refrigerate till required.

To make the Fool, cut the Custard Apples and scoop out the flesh. Press through a sieve to remove the seeds. In a bowl, whip the chilled cream till stiff. I didn’t add any sugar because my Custard Apple pulp was sweet enough and the ginger-lemongrass syrup would add more sweetness later. But you can add fine sugar to the cream while whipping it, if you desire. Gently, fold in the Custard Apple pulp till blended.
To serve, divide the chopped mangoes between four glasses, keeping aside a little for garnishing. Pour in a couple of tablespoons of the ginger-lemongrass syrup into each glass, over the mangoes.
Now divide the Custard Apple Fool between the four glasses. Crumble gingernut cookies over this and top with the reserved mango pieces. Serve with more syrup on the side.
This recipe serves 4.

And its time to announce the winners of the Basilur Tea Giveaway. My sincere apologies for taking so long to do this, so I won’t take any longer to do this. The three lucky winners of a pack of Basilur Tea each are Shailaja, Divya Shivaraman and Prerna Sinha. Congratulations, and hope you enjoy your little gift of exotic tea.
Please e-mail me your mailing addresses within this week. If I don’t hear from you in this time, I will have to pick a new set of winners for the tea.

Update (15th May, 2013) : Since Ms. Prerna Sinha did not respond with her address, I have now randomly chosen another winner for the Basilur Tea giveaway. Congratulations Archana Gunjikar Potdar.
Do let me know where I can send you your gift.