Oh my goodness, I have just eaten the most delicious thing. At first I thought it was a cherimoya, but it didn’t look or taste exactly like one. Next, I thought it was a custard apple …but the seeds were different. What was it? A white sapote!
My poet friend Kathy (Food Inspirer, Frugal Food Fancier and head cook @kai conscious café Waiheke) gave me a couple of fruit off her tree and told me to ripen them in a fruit bowl and to eat them when they were just feeling tender, like an avocado.
I got them just in time, as you can see in the pic, one had started to get a little brown patch. No matter. They were stunning to eat.
The smell is like sticking your head in a bag of icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar), not that that is something one does on a regular basis, if at all, with faint tropical fruit notes. I liken the texture to a mix of banana and avocado, and it’s distinctly like custard and cream, creamy smooth, but not cloying. I have to say that ‘custard and cream’ is an undersell. I mean the most luxurious custard you have eaten, not the lumpy bright yellow stuff made from a packet. The taste is like rich velvety creamy custard, with a lingering banana mango note. Intriguing.
You are not likely to find them in a supermarket, but you might find them at a farmers’ market, or ask around if anyone has a tree in their backyard. You never know your luck! Better get prepared then, in case your luck is in and some come your way.
The easiest way to serve them is au naturel, with a spoon. It’s like eating a sweet and creamy tropical fruit salad ice cream. I squirted the cut fruit with lemon and flicked a few vanilla seeds over the top, then pooled around a little cream. No added sugar required, though you could add a few flaked almonds, or toasted cake crumbs. Fantastic. Simply fantastic. A 2-minute dessert. Probably laden with calories, but HEY, once in a while …. And, who cares, really, because white sapote are rich in Vitamin C and potassium, as well as having Vitamin A and E and some B-group vitamins, niacin, folate, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. Phew! That makes the calories pale into insignificance.
What else can you do with them?
Mash with yoghurt, or banana and yoghurt.
Make into a fruit fool with cream, or ice cream.
Kathy makes a sorbet with lime juice. They make great smoothies, too.
Use in trifles, cakes, friands.
Add to fruit salad (toss with a little lemon juice to prevent browning).
Tuck into crepes.
Make into fruit leather … this sounds good but I can imagine it would be a pain in the A!
The only thing to watch for is the skin, don’t scoop the pulp out too near to the skin because it has a mild bitterness that might affect your enjoyment.