Also known as egg fruit, the canistel’s unique nickname is a reference to its striking similarity to cooked egg yolk in taste and texture. But don’t be intimidated by its surprising description, canistels are sweet and rich with a delightful melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Origin of Canistel
The canistel is indigenous to Mexico and Central America and is cultivated in parts of Southeast Asia, South America, and in areas with warm climates in the United States. Its scientific name, pouteria campechiana, is derived from its native town of Campeche in Mexico. It’s also known by other names throughout the world, such as chesa, sawo mentega, and zapote amarillo.
Because canistels are tree-ripened, they can be extremely difficult to export so are often only eaten in the localities they are grown in. Luckily, canistel trees are resilient and easily adaptable, allowing more areas to cultivate the unique fruit.
Taste and Texture of Canistel
Canistels are musky and sweet with a mild starchy flavor reminiscent of pumpkin or sweet potatoes. True to its moniker, canistels are reminiscent of boiled egg yolks but sweeter and slightly nutty. Their texture is soft and thick but with a smooth and creamy, almost mousse-like consistency.
How to Choose Ripe Canistels
Ripe canistels should have smooth and shiny skin with an even color that ranges from golden-yellow to bright marigold. When pressed, ripe canistel will give easily but shouldn’t feel too mushy. Additionally, its skin is delicate and thin so can easily be pierced or peeled off.
Canistels are delicious on their own but are also excellent in desserts and baked goods. You can use canistels to make velvety ice cream, shakes, and custard. When blended, canistel develops a thick and silky texture that makes for an incredibly luxurious mouthfeel.
Their naturally sweet flavor and rich texture also make them a wonderful choice for pies and tarts, quick bread, or pancakes. Season them with warming spices to replicate the feel of a pumpkin pie or banana bread.
Canistel is a relatively rarely utilized ingredient so go ahead and experiment – the possibilities are endless.