Vietnamese name: mãng cầu
Cost in the market outside my house: 30-40,000 VND/kilogram
Season in Northern Vietnam: August - September
Interesting facts: A company in the Philippines produces Sugar-apple wine! In India, they grind the seeds and put them on their hair to get rid of lice, but have to be careful to keep it out of their eyes because the substance can cause blindness. (Wikipedia, 2012)
When you cut open a custard apple, it looks like this inside.
However, if it's soft enough you can just peel the sections of peel off the outside very easily...
...and then pull it apart into sections.
Each small section has a black seed inside of it, which you can squeeze out one by one. I found the easiest way was to squish it all through my hands so that the seeds come out of the flesh themselves, and then it was easy to just pick them out of the bowl.
Custard apple has a sweet, slippery, custardy taste that I find absolutely delicious. When I first got here I had one and I wasn't terribly impressed, but maybe it wasn't a good one because two years later when I tried one again, I absolutely loved it! The weird thing is that while I don't usually like cold fruit, I love these when they're a little bit chilled.
These don't need to be made into anything. I love them just plain, as they are. They also went very nicely with my morning muesli and yogurt!
I did make a custard apple and passion fruit cheesecake, using this recipe, which comes complete with tips for using custard apples in cooking! I modified it a bit because I didn't have gingernut biscuits or macadamia nuts (I used digestive biscuits and almonds) and I didn't have ricotta cheese (I used Laughing Cow - not my first choice but it was what was available, and tasted ok!) but it was still pretty tasty!
So, if you ever get a chance to try one of these funny looking fruits, DO IT! They might look weird, but I was very sad when the season was over because they are DELICIOUS!