Have you had durian? No, not a durian smoothie or durian ice cream. Not previously-frozen-then-thawed-out-to-make-you-think-it’s-fresh durian from your local grocery store in the US either. I mean real durian — fresh as nature means it to be.
Anything but raw, fresh, never-been-frozen durian should never be considered a true representative of the king of fruits, if you ask me. I believe it’s the tasteless, mushy, previously-frozen durian that is largely responsible for turning off many who actually could have discovered how great this fruit really is. Even I, who love durian enough to make it my last meal on earth, can’t stand frozen durian half the time. But unless you live in Southeast Asia, good quality fresh durian just isn’t an option.
You just have to come to Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile, here’s one way to make frozen durian more palatable. I personally do not like durian in any form except fresh, and when I use durian in desserts, I tend to go with the applications that allow you to retain as much as possible of the fruit’s original custard-like texture.
I have previously mentioned this durian cake in an earlier post on my favorite things of 2011. Here’s the recipe.
If you’re a fan of durian and Japanese-style cheesecake, I have a feeling you may like this cake as much as I do. I actually devised this recipe based on my pumpkin mascarpone cheesecake. (This one is a little less light and fluffy.)
Those who don’t like durian, feel free to replace durian purée in this recipe with an equal amount of purée of another fruit that has similar texture and moisture content. Mango, peach, pineapple, applesauce come to mind; you may want to strain it first to remove some of the moisture.
- 250g (~one cup) durian pulp at room temperature, puréed
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 114g (~1/2 cup) Greek-style plain yogurt or regular yogurt that has been strained overnight (full-fat sour cream works too)
- 50g (3½ tablespoons) butter, melted
- 2g (1/4 teaspoon) salt
- 65g (~3/4 cup) cake flour
- 140g (~3/4 cup) granulated sugar
- A pinch of cream of tartar or ½ teaspoon of lime or lemon juice
- Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F/162°C.
- Line a 9-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together durian pulp, egg yolks, yogurt, melted butter, salt, and flour just until smooth; set aside.
- In a separate container, beat the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Scoop out approximately one-thirds of the beaten egg whites and fold it into the durian mixture.
- Fold the remaining egg white mixture gently into the durian mixture until no white streaks remain; be careful not to overmix and deflate the egg white mixture.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan; bake until the center springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, about 45-50 minutes.
- Let the cake cool in the pan before unmolding.
- Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar, if desired.