It must be dragon fruit season. I found an abundant supply of them in Chinatown this week, and I grabbed three of them with the intention of making ice cream. These happened to have red pulp, or rather more like a deep magenta, which makes for a more interesting ice cream color than their white counterpart. Dragon fruit is of the genus Hylocereus, and they’re actually cacti. What’s really cool about them is they bloom at night.
Clearly, they are extremely exotic looking. I can’t resist buying them whenever I find them. Their taste is hard to describe; I’ve read people saying that they taste somewhere between a kiwi and a pear or melon. I’d say more on the kiwi side, especially with all the tiny black seeds in the fruit. I also love to photograph them. But the best is making them into a dessert.
3 ripe dragon fruit
2 13.5 oz cans of coconut milk
6 egg yolks
2 tsp salt
5 T agave nectar (substitute good quality honey)
Cut the dragon fruit in half, and scoop the fruit out into a food processor work bowl. (The pulp comes out very easy) Process until the fruit is well pureed.
Meantime, place the coconut milk, egg yolks and salt in a large sauce pan, and heat over medium heat until just boiling. Off heat and add the dragon fruit puree and agave nectar. When the mixture cools to room temperature, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for several hours, or better, overnight.
When ready to make ice cream, transfer the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker canister and proceed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
(I also purveyed three ripe yellow Mexican mangoes from the Chinese market. I pureed them and added them to half of the dragon fruit puree right before emptying it into a second ice cream maker. So I ended up with two different batches of ice cream.)
A whimsical way to present the ice cream is to use the halved dragon fruit skins, which make striking little “bowls” (see image below), or you can use your favorite stemware or dessert bowl to serve the ice cream, as we did here on the left, using a colorful margarita glass.
This, of course, made us instantly realize that this particular ice cream, with its exotic tropical taste and creamy texture, would lend itself very well to being blended with your favorite tequila or liquor of choice for a unique new way to enjoy a drink.