Did you know that eggs really do grow on trees? Not chicken eggs like most would associate with the word, but eggfruit, otherwise known as canistel, could be considered the original plant-based egg. Still relatively unknown beyond tropical climates, these unique teardrop-shaped drupes originated in Central America and have spread to the United States via Florida, Hawaii, and Southern California. Each one is about the size of a fist, glowing with a brilliant sunshine-yellow color inside and out. Cut through the thin skin to reveal a hard pit (or two; be careful with your teeth!) much like that of an avocado, surrounded by creamy, slightly crumbly flesh with a downright uncanny resemblance to hard boiled egg yolks.
Eggfruit do not, however, taste like eggs. The flavor is neutral, ranging from musky squash to candied sweet potato. Though naturally low in fat, their unctuous texture can become cloying after more than a few spoonfuls. If you’ve never had the egg of the land before, it’s certainly a strange experience. There’s nothing else quite like it in the animal or vegetable kingdom.
That said, the temptation to draw comparisons to conventional eggs is irresistible. Such gorgeous golden meat, rich in beta-carotene, is good for more than just boosting eyesight and immunity. Eggfruit are ideal for baking since they retain their dense, thick texture, working quite a bit like- you guessed it- eggs. That means pumpkin pies, cheesecakes, ice cream, and even eggnog are quite delicious with this genuine plant-based swap.
When I got my hands on eggfruit for the first time, I was but a young pup, eating my way through Hawaii. It’s sadly been out of reach since returning to the mainland, but as global distribution continues to improve, I remain hopeful that more people will be fortunate enough to try such unique produce for themselves, too. While my means for cooking out there were limited, it sure didn’t stop me from playing around in the kitchen. After a few strange experiments, I landed on an extraordinary doppelganger for lemon curd.
Smooth, spreadable or spoonable like custard, the rich mixture is an ideal introduction to eggfruit for the uninitiated. You can schmear it over toast, stuff it inside of cupcakes, cookies, or French toast, drizzle it over pound cake, or just eat it with a spoon.
Want to switch it up?
- Just like traditional curd, you can use any other citrus you prefer, such as lime, grapefruit, orange, or a combination of your favorites.
- Add up to 1/2 cup of seedless fruit puree, like strawberry, raspberry, or peach for more fun, seasonal twists.
- If you don’t have a microwave, you can cook the curd over the stove in a medium saucepan. Just stir gently and continuously so it doesn’t stick or burn on the bottom.
If you can, stock up on eggfruit whenever you see them, since they’ll go fast once you taste just how versatile they are. You’ll typically find unripe eggfruit in the store that’s still hard and slightly green. Let it sit on the counter to ripen; it could take as long as 10 – 14 days, so be patient! Unripe eggfruit is incredibly astringent and bitter; not good eats. It should be soft but not mushy, yielding easily to a knife when it’s ready. Then, it can be stored whole for 1 – 2 months in the fridge, or mashed and frozen for 6 – 8 months.
Don’t get caught with egg on your face. Eggfruit is always in good taste.
- 1 Medium Eggfruit
- 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan Butter, Melted
- Zest of 2 Lemons
- 2/3 Cup Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Potato Starch
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- Peel and pit the eggfruit, placing the flesh in your blender. Add all the remaining ingredients and thoroughly puree, pausing to scrape down the sides of the canister as needed.
- Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 100% power for 4 1/2 minutes, uncovered. Whisk vigorously until smooth and microwave again on 100% power for 4 1/2 minutes more. It should be thick and glossy.
- Whisk vigorously for another minute to make sure there are no lumps. Transfer to a glass jar, let cool completely, and store in the fridge. Enjoy chilled.
This recipe was tested on a 1,000-watt microwave; your timing may vary if you have a more powerful or weaker model. Always keep a close eye on the mixture while cooking.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 83mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 22gProtein: 1g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.