Tuesday, April 1, 2008

CSA week 18 - Filipino caimito-banana sherbet

If you Googled for "caimito recipe" you couldn't miss this one as it dominates the first page of results. Well, just because it's popular doesn't mean it isn't good (assuming it actually is popular as it's not evident that anyone who posted the recipe actually made it) and I did find the idea of a sherbet made with evaporated milk an interesting one so I decided to give it a try.

I started by cutting the recipe by two thirds to make it a reasonable amount to fit in my ice cream churn. My calculations were a bit off as it turns out and I could have just cut it in half. Second, the meat of both my star apples amounted to something under a full cup so I added a chunk of frozen banana to fill it out. I intended to do that anyway as banana would serve to add extra flavor elements and improve the texture of the final result. I was also concerned about texture problems from just dumping in the sugar without dissolving it so I made a simple syrup with the sugar and water before adding it to the other ingredients in the blender. The rest of the changes are just little flavor tweaks: I added a pinch of salt, a few drops of vanilla, and a few grates of nutmeg. So here's what I actually made:

1 scant cup ripe caimito, seeded and mashed
sufficient banana to complete the cup (I'd add more next time and increase the water a little)

85% of a small can of Evaporated Milk (125 ml)
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cups water
1 pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Boil sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Blend all until smooth. Chill overnight. Churn. Ripen.

The mixture solidified in a rather unpleasant way in refrigerator. That doesn't necessarily bode ill for the final result after churning, but with the already questionable sapote-family texture of the caimito I was concerned. I ended up thinning the mixture out with another quarter cup or so of water during churning which seemed to help.

After churning, the final texture isn't as bad as I feared; It's a bit crumbly in the bowl, but it melts nicely in the mouth with only a hit of that custardy sapote texture. It has a lovely violet color which is nice. The flavor is interesting as it is straightforwardly and pleasantly tropical, but not immediately identifiable as caimito. The fruits and the other flavors I added have blended seamlessly.

That's kind of interesting. Pina colada and strawberry/pineapple/banana do that blending thing too. I wonder if there's something in particular about tropical fruits that allows their flavors to combine so well.

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