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Cherimoya, or custard heart (or sweetsop or sugar apple), is a fruit
indigenous to the mountains of Peru. Prehistoric terra cotta vases modeled on the cherimoya have been excavated in Ecuador as well as Peru. The fruit was introduced to Asia very shortly after Europeans first came to the Americas, imported into the Phillipines by the Spanish, and into India, Indonesia, and Malaysia by the Portuguese.
Mark Twain said that the cherimoya was "deliciousness itself".
Cherimoya works well as a base for chilled desserts such as ice cream and sorbet, and has an affinity for peppermint and ginger. On its own, the fruit has a flavor evocative of mango, pineapple, papaya, and vanilla custard. The mashed fruit mixed with cream and nutmeg is a subtle yet rewarding alternative to creme anglaise.
Cherimoyas needed to be handled carefully, and given treatment similar to that of avocados: Be careful not to bruise. Allow to ripen at room temperature, and not in the refrigerator. Eat before the fruit becomes too squishy.