Texture of a ripe avocado, shaped like a mango, feels like tree bark, tastes like flan…what is it?
It’s a wonderful fruit called Mamey Sapote – and one of my very favorites. It is sweet, creamy, rich and just basically delicious when you find a good one and let it ripen fully. Personally, I think that the flavor is like that of flan, but slowfood.org describes it as “a combination of sweet potato and pumpkin with undertones of almond, chocolate, honey, and vanilla”. Either one sounds pretty good to me.
The part of the Sapote that you eat is the pink-orange flesh – the skin isn’t edible, and while the (fairly huge) seeds can be used for their oil (in cosmetics), they aren’t edible either.
If you're lucky enough to find Mamey Sapotes at the store, look for one that doesn’t have any obvious dents or cuts, and no mushy or depressed spots. Ideally, look for one that is uniformly firm or even a little bit hard. Don’t cut your Sapote, though, until it softens up and gives when you push your thumb into it just like a ripe avocado would.
When it is ripe, wash it well, cut it in half lengthwise (you can’t cut through the seed) and twist it apart like an avocado. At this point it’s up to you what to do – scoop it out or cut it up. I prefer to cut it into about eight wedges, as shown above, then slice the skin off. If you want to try a Sapote but can’t find one where you are, let me know and we’ll see if we can pick one up for you and put it in the mail…