Warning! This is an â€œextravagantâ€ post. If that might offend you, skip to the Wagyu Osso Buco Milanese a la Marketman at PHP138 per serving (previous post) instead. In the supreme service of Market Manilaâ€™s loyal readers, Marketman (with big smirk on his face) finally broke down and bought a single, hefty, stunning and ripe custard apple last Saturday so he could photograph, taste and write it upâ€¦ After chilling it for a few hours, I ate the entire custard apple for dessert after the osso buco. At PHP600 plus per kilo, it has to be one of the most expensive fruits available on a very limited basis in Manila. I picked one of the smaller yet plumper specimens but even that reached about 500 grams and that meant PHP300+ for one piece. I used to eat this fairly often when I worked in Melbourne, Australia (custard apples are grown in the more tropical Northern territories of Australia) and found them somewhat pricey there but not extravagant.
A relative of our atis, the custard apples of Australia are hybrids from the Atemeoya family and this Pink Mammoth variety can grow up to 3 kilos in weight! The Australian specimens are super special because they are filled with this incredible creamy pulp that is sweet and delicious. In the large fruit that I ate, there were a total of just 12 seeds, the rest of it was the yummy stuff around the seeds. They are in season from March to September, with June being the peak. Our atis tends to be chock full of seeds with a whole lot of mouth scraping going on to get the meat surrounding the seeds. A related post that is interesting as well is Karenâ€™s at Pilgrims Pots and Pans on anonas. Just to compare the custard apple with our own locally grown atis, I bought about Â½ kilo of ripe atis for about PHP60 at the market and tried one shortly after eating the custard apple. Our atis had a more distinct flavor but lost out on the creaminess, sweetness and the ratio of pulp to seed. But at 1/5th the price, I think I would have the local atis most of the time and every once in a while, have a mental short circuit and get a custard apple for a fleeting moment of blissâ€¦ Readers who live in Australia (the third largest group after the U.S. and the Philippines), are you lucky to have these or what?!?