© 2014 Can Caramelo

Chirimoya Alegre

Chirimoya alegre (or “happy custard apple”) is a typical Chilean dessert which mainly consists of chunks of chirimoya and fresh orange juice. The chirimoya has a crocodilish aspect from the outside (but smoother) and a creamy white and sweet flesh. It grows in the altitudes of the Andes and its name comes from the Quechua “chirimuya” which means cold seeds. Nowadays Spain is the greatest producer of chirimoyas worldwide.

In Chile (where I lived for six month a few years ago), the chirimoyas are bigger and have less seeds than in Spain, an important issue, as I actually eat much less chirimoya than I’d like to just because peeling all the seeds out is a nasty and time-consuming job (the other day I counted them, it was a small chirimoya and it had 51 seeds).

Chirimoya alegre al sol
I’ve read that the “alegre” in the chirimoya alegre stems from the famous Sinatra quote who once said that “orange is the happiest color”. There are variations with meringue on top, raisins or cinnamon, but in my opinion the juicy sweet and sour orange and the creamy sweet chirimoya are a perfect couple and every added ingredient runs the risk of being a fifth wheel. Well, there is one ingredient I do like to add sometimes, a little piece of ginger, blended with the orange juice. The ginger is great for waking you up in the morning, for boosting the immune system and its spiciness adds a little extra kick.

chirimoya alregre y naranja
My version of the chirimoya alegre is a two layer smoothie, with the creamy sweet chirimoya flesh on the bottom and the (gingered) orange juice on top. I love to eat it with a spoon, varying the proportions of white and orange, creamy-sweet and spicy-sour-sweet with every spoonful, watching how the colors swirl into each other.


  • 1 chirimoya
  • juice from 2 oranges
  • ginger to taste (optional)

Cut the chirimoya open and be patient removing the seeds and the skin. You can mash the chirimoya with a fork or blend it with a little bit of orange juice, enough to make the blender work (if you don’t add any juice, the chirimoya will soon stick to the sides and the blades won’t have anything to blend). Put it into your smoothie glass. Squeeze the oranges or peel them and put them into the blender (this way you conserve all the fiber and you can add the ginger directly if you use it). If you squeeze the oranges and want to add the ginger, you can grate it and add it directly (if you like to have little pieces) or squeeze the grated ginger with your hands into the orange juice. Pour the orange juice on top of the chirimoya and be happy!


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