Custard Apple

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

custard apple a name widely applied to various annonaceous fruits, and referring to their creamy pulp, which does taste something like custard. Nothing called custard apple is related to the true apple. The fruits most likely to be intended by the term are cherimoya, sugar-apple (alias sweetsop), bullock’s heart, and (in the USA) pond apple. Of these, bullock’s heart is the fruit with the best claim to the name.

There is, however, an African fruit to which the name wild custard apple is properly given. This belongs to Annona senegalensis, which grows throughout tropical Africa. The fruit is oval/round and 2.5–10 cm (1–4") in length. The fleshy pulp is orange or yellow, with a scent of pineapple, and full of seeds. It is considered by some to be the finest of the fruits indigenous to Africa.