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The only thought that came to mind as I looked at this pointy huge fruit is: "Don't judge a fruit by its skin." When my dad brought it in, I have to admit I was a little hesitant to unwrap it. It's called "durian", and the sight of it would deter you from buying it at the market, but I was assured that its insides are actually tasty and sweet. I grabbed the sharpest knife of the bunch, put on my oven mitts and sliced it open. A word of caution though: it is really painful to handle with bare hands.
The little pockets inside are filled with a veiny custard that is mildly sweet. To empty the pockets, I grabbed a large spoon, inserted it in the side of the pocket and with a circular motion, started pulling the spoon, and all the creamy filling came out. Inside the filling is a large seed to be discarded. So I had a bowl of the creamy custard-like filling, and my mind started wandering through all the possibilities of this unassuming fruit.
To be quite honest, I am not the greatest baker, but that doesn't deter me from attempting everything! I am quite the kamakaze commando in the kitchen. I will try almost anything at least once.
For this opportunity, the first thought was to make into a filling for a crepe or pastry. In fact, it would make a fantastic filling for a stack of pancakes. Yum Yum!
In Lebanon, we make a delicious dessert with blinis stuffed with clotted cream or nuts, called Atayef. It easy and fast, and with two toddlers around me at all times, that has become my motto.
Note: Once the flesh is emptied, put it in a blender or processor, and pulse it a few times to get rid of the veins.
Durian and Pistachio filling
2 cups durian flesh
1 cup pistachios, coarsely ground
1 Tbsp confectioner sugar
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together until well blended, cover and refrigerate until ready to fill the blinis.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp yeast
In a bowl, mix all ingredients with a hand mixer or a whisk until well blended and smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes. In the meantime, on a medium low flame, heat a non-stick skillet for a couple of minutes before starting the blinis. Pour batter in skillet using a measuring cup (to allow for uniformity in size), making individual blinis to the size desired. Once the top dries out, it should be ready to remove. Cook only on one side. Remove with a spatula and repeat process until the batter is finished. The process goes really fast once the skillet temperature is calibrated appropriately.
To fill the blinis, spoon a tablespoon of the filling and place in the center of the blini. Fold in half and press the edges together to close it. You may leave a little part unpressed to show the filling. Sprinkle ground pistachios and serve with a small drizzle of agave nectar.
This dessert can be prepared a couple of hours ahead of time and refrigerated. It does not keep well after that.