Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cherimoywhaaa? Cherimoya Pie

One of my favorite things about my neighborhood is the awesome farmers market I can walk to every Sunday. I like to wander around at every single stand and make sure I get the best of whatever I am looking for. The only problem I have is carrying it all home!

This also allows me to discover new offerings. Like these cherimoyas. I had never heard of or seen a cherimoya but I thought they tasted pretty good so I was immediately determined to make a pie with them. I bought 5 big ones and headed home. (I am not even going to try and describe the flavor, I have heard everything from bubblegum to pineapple.)

I bought them a bit under ripe so I would have a few days to do my research. When they are ready to use they yield just a bit to pressure, similar to an Avocado. They also have big black seeds that are somewhat poisonous and function as an insecticide when ground- I sure was glad I did my research on this because my first inclination had been to separate them from the fruit with my food mill.

A good web search also revealed that there is a pretty standard cherimoya pie recipe floating around out there. It is similar to how I planned to go about making them into pie, using pureed fruit in a custard. The custard usually used for these involved separated the egg whites, beating them, and folding into the rest of the custard mixture in the last step. This produces a very light texture. The only change I made to the recipes I found was to add some nutmeg, because I thought this would work well with the cherimoya.

Cherimoya Pie (seems to be the standard recipe, found on many cherimoya recipe websites)

1lb. Cherimoya (about 1 and 1/2 large cherimoya for me) seeded and pureed until smooth
3 Eggs, separated
1 cup Evaporated Milk
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Salt
10 inch deep dish pie shell

Line deep dish pie plate with crust. Bake at 450 degrees for 5min. (These are the original directions, which I followed. Based on my experience I recommend a standard par bake until the inside is golden brown. Directions are provided in My Cherimoya Pie Recipe)

However you bake your pie shell, set your oven to 375 when you are done.

Whisk egg yolks, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt into the pureed cherimoya.

Beat egg whites just until soft peaks form. (Do not do this until just before you are ready to use them, or they will fall.)

Fold beaten egg whites into fruit mixture until combined and no white streaks remain. Resist the urge to stir! Have patience, keep folding. When combined pour mixture into pie shell.

Bake at 375 degrees until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. The custard will puff up and turn golden brown on top. The recipe I used said this should take about 35 min but it was much faster for me (I'm talking 15min, yikes!). This could be a symptom of ghetto oven, so watch yours closely.

The results:
Despite my concerns after it cooked so fast, this pie came out alright. The crust was a bit undercooked, hence my suggestion to pre-bake the bottom crust.

The filling came out pretty good. This pie was very light and fluffy. I cannot emphasize this enough- VERY FLUFFY. And some people really liked that. I thought the texture was fine, it was the incredibly light flavor accompanying it that I was less excited about.

Luckily, I had more cherimoya to use up so I decided to make another. This time I opted to make it using a recipe similar to a traditional pumpkin pie, in the hopes that this would produce a more dense custard with a more pronounced flavor to go along with it.

My Cherimoya Pie

2 cups pureed Cherimoya (from 2 large cherimoya)
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
14.5 ounce can Evaporated Milk
2 Tbsp Flour
1/8 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1 pie shell

Pre-bake pie shell. Poke holes in the crust, line with foil and weights and bake at 375 for 20 min. Remove foil and weights, then continue baking until inside of shell is golden brown.

I used my 9-1/2" pyrex pie dish, and it worked well. This does not make enough filling for a deep dish pie, but there may be some filling left over if you use a standard 9" pie plate. Just fill it with as much as you can.

Beat together pureed cherimoya, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, nutmeg, vanilla, salt, and flour.

Bake at 375 until a knife inserted comes out clean, approximately 25 min. The filling will puff up above the pie crust, but settles when it cools. The top will turn a light golden brown.

My results:

This pie was more dense then the original recipe produced, but still significantly lighter then a typical pumpkin pie. This must be the way the fruit cooks, but I may try reducing the recipe to one egg in the future to make the texture even more dense.

I felt this method did enhance the flavor somewhat. It still was quite light, but I was happier with what this produced. It tasted good, but I'm not sure it is as good as simply eating the fruit raw.

And at least one person compared it to cheesecake, THAT certainly isn't a bad thing.

Cherimoya Pie on FoodistaCherimoya Pie


  1. Interesting, I've never seen one of those before. I have a farmers market opening up soon, I'll have to see if they have them. Although it looks tropical (not that that means much), so I wonder if they would be around in Boston.

  2. Very interesting pie. We call this fruit custard apple but I have never used it in a pie. Very curious about the flavour in your pie