Mamey sapote

Many will understand this football-shaped fruit featuring its barklike surface and think, “That’s not edible,” but they're missing out. Try to appear beyond its scratchy exterior for that creamy, rich fruit stored inside. This tropical fruit common in Mexico as well as the West Indies appears to be an avocado, but a smooth and sweet raspberry-colored center. Some think its flavor is almondlike, others may very well be reminded of an deeper, more-intense version of papaya. Whether you’ve had it fresh maybe in frozen treats or milkshake versions, this croissant bread pudding recipe is often a way to add spice to a vintage favorite. Mamey sapote is at season in Southwest Florida and is also among several other lush tropical fruit varieties grown here. It’s also lower fat, doesn't have fats and is also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C and B group vitamins as well as potassium, manganese and copper.

Mamey bread pudding with vanilla cream sauce

Servings: 6

8 ounces croissant bread (6-8 croissants), cubed in 1-inch pieces
2 cups half and half
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup mamey sapote pulp (about 2 fresh mamey sapote)
1 pinch kosher salt

• Heat the oven to 350 F.

• Arrange croissant pieces on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

• Set aside to cool, and leave the oven hot.

• Heat the half and half, heavy cream, mamey sapote pulp, vanilla and salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally without letting it boil.

• When the cream mixture reaches a fast simmer, turn off the heat and allow to cool.

• Whisk in the eggs and the sugar together in a large mixing bowl until the mixture lightens in color.

• Slowly add the hot cream mixture to the eggs and sugar.

• Strain into a large bowl and make sure to remove the vanilla bean.

• Reserve any mamey fruit (if desired).

• Toss the bread cubes in the mixture and allow to absorb until soaked through.

• Coat baking dish with vegetable oil spray.

• Fold mixture into coated pan.

• Arrange the pan in another filled with water, to form a water bath and cover.

• Bake for roughly 30 minutes, then remove cover and allow the bread pudding to brown.

• Serve warm or chilled with vanilla ice cream.