A rich, butter-like custard highly flavored with almonds, but intermingled with wafts of flavor that call to mind cream cheese, onion sauce, brown sherry and other incongruities. The more you eat of it, the less you feel inclined to stop.
~Alfred Russell Wallace, 19th century Naturalist
So...since I'm totally improvising due to the fact that I have durian (imported from Thailand and very perishable) - not breadfruit, I decided to jump ahead to the beautiful country of Thailand and make durian ice cream - plus it's 95 degrees with matching humidity, so I just can't turn the stove on. A quick word about the smell of durian (aka The King of Fruits). It is reported to have a strong, acrid odor, especially to westerners. I personally didn't find it offensive, although it is unique and does permeate the house. The smell definitely doesn't hint at the sweet fruit that is so well guarded by the spiky armor exterior. The flesh is creamy and custard-like in appearance and texture, and has a lovely sweet, delicate, somewhat nutty flavor, which is imparted to the ice cream. The addition of cream and just a tiny bit of sugar makes it rich and decadent - again hard to compare to anything I've had before. For most westerners, durian ice cream will probably be an acquired taste, but I highly recommend abandoning your western sensibilities, and giving this incredible fruit a try.
Thai cuisine is grounded in the philosophy that food should be lightly prepared and balanced so that all the taste senses should be experienced in a meal: sour, sweet, salty and (optionally) bitter. Thai food tends to be hot as well. Dishes vary by region, geography and climate, and are influenced by neighboring countries such as Burma, the Chinese Province of Yunnan, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. Aside from a huge variety of vegetables and exotic fruits too numerous to list, Thai cuisine uses a diverse array of herbs and spices to season food, including, but not limited to: Thai basil, mint, lemongrass, cilantro, Kaffir lime, shrimp and fish sauces and paste and Thai chili peppers. Rice, noodles and seafood are staples in the Thai diet as well.
Cut open the durian with a very sharp knife
Separate the seeds from the flesh
Blend the flesh in a mixer to break up the fibrous fruit, then force through a sieve
Make the custard
Blend in an ice cream maker until set, then freeze in an airtight container
Durian Ice Cream (Adapted from a recipe on About.com)
1 large durian, cut, pulp and seeds removed and separated
2 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar (or more to taste, although Durian is already quite sweet)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
Cut the durian down the middle and remove the seeds and pulp.
Put the pulp in a blender and puree until smooth.
Press the pureed paste through a fine sieve - you should have about 4+ ounces. Then chill.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract and sugar.
Bring the milk and cream to a near boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low. Pour in the egg mixture, stirring constantly to thicken. Take care not to let the mixture boil, or the milk will curdle. (if bubbles form at the edge, remove from stove).
Allow the custard to cool for at least 4 hours.
Gradually whisk the durian paste into the custard mixture, a tablespoon at time until completely blended.
Add mixture to ice cream maker and blend until set.
Freeze in an airtight container to avoid crystallizing.
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