A delicious custard-like apple!

By TheHindu on 01 Oct 2017 | read

How about a nice fluffy custard apple cheese cake?

Be it tree and fruit, the custard apple (Annona reticulata) is generally rated as a mediocre (also referred to `ugly duckling') species among the other members of the genus. Its descriptive English name is often misapplied to other species and the hybrid atemoya, and it is sometimes erroneously referred to as `sugar apple', `sweetsop' and, by Spanish speaking people as `anon' or `rinon' and in India, as `ramphal.' These terms can be applied only to Annona squamosa.The custard apple tree is not especially attractive. It is erect, with a rounded or spreading crown and trunk. The flowers never fully open. The skin, thin but tough, may be yellow or brownish when ripe, with a pink, reddish or brownish-red blush. It may be faintly, moderately, or distinctly reticulated. There is a thick, cream white layer of custard like, somewhat granular, flesh beneath the skin surrounding the concolorous moderately juicy segments, in many of which there is a single, hard, dark-brown or black seed, oblong and smooth.The custard apple is believed to be a native of the West Indies but was transported in the early times through Central America to southern Mexico. It has long been cultivated and naturalised as far south as Peru and Brazil. It is commonly grown in the Bahamas and occasionally in Bermuda and southern Florida.

Culinary uses

When fully ripe, it is soft to touch, and the stem and attached core can be easily pulled out. The flesh may be scooped out of the skin and eaten as it is or served with light cream and a sprinkling of sugar. Often it is pressed through a sieve and added to milk shakes, custards or ice cream.

Medicinal uses

The leaf decoction is given as a vermifuge. Crushed leaves or a paste of the flesh may be poulticed on boils, abscesses and ulcers. The unripe fruit is rich in tannin; is dried, pulverised and employed against diarrhoea and dysentery. The bark is astringent and the decoction is taken as a tonic and also as a remedy for diarrhoea and dysentery. In severe cases, the leaves, bark and green fruits are all boiled together for five minutes in a litre of water to make an exceedingly potent decoction. Fragments of the root bark are packed around the gums to relieve toothache. The root decoction is taken as a febrifuge.Annonaceae is said to show varied medicinal effects, including insecticide, antiovulatory and abortifacient. The fruits of Annona are haematinic, cooling, sedative, stimulant, and expectorant, maturant, tonic. They are useful in anaemia and burning sensation. The seeds are abortifacient and insecticidal and are useful in destroying lice in the hair.Now, for a recipe:Custard Apple cheese cakeIngredientsBase Ginger nut biscuits: 1 packetMelted butter: 125 gmFillingCream cheese: 250 gCastor sugar: half a cupEvaporated milk (cold): 250 mlGelatine dissolved in quarter cup boiling water: 3 tspJuice of 1 lemon or lime Large custard apple: 1Kiwi fruit (for garnish): half a fruitAlmond flakes: 50 gmShredded coconut: 25 gmMethod: Crush the biscuits finely and mix them with the melted butter. Press into a 20 cm tart tray and chill for half an hour. Dissolve the gelatine in water. Grind the custard apple flesh in a blender until smooth. Whip the evaporated milk until thick. Mix all ingredients together. Pour the mixture into a base and leave in the refrigerator to set. After it sets, decorate it with slices of kiwifruit and sprinkle shredded coconut and toasted almonds on top and serve.N. GOPI