Yesterday I made the trek down to Chinatown. But this time was different; I wasn’t on my usual hunt for cheap-yet-delicious dumplings or pastries. I was on the hunt for dragon fruit. I had seen dragon fruit on my many other trips to Chinatown over this summer and decided to finally try some.
Dragon fruit is a strange but beautiful-looking fruit grown in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central and South America, and Israel. The plant is a type of cactus, and the fruit comes in 3 colors: 2 have pink skin, but with different-colored flesh (one white, one red), while the other is yellow color with white flesh.
I’ve could only find the pink skinned fruits but wanted to try both colors of flesh. I correctly guessed that the slightly differently shades of pink skin and prices indicated the difference in flesh color. The white-fleshed fruit has a slightly lighter skin and is a little cheaper.
The white dragon fruit had a very light and subtle flavor. The fruit had almost no sweetness with a dominant grassy flavor. If the fresh grass flavor were any stronger it might be unpleasant, but, as it was, it was kind of refreshing on a hot day. Besides that, I really enjoyed the texture. The small black seeds throughout were like the seeds in a kiwi and gave it a pleasant crunchiness.
The flesh color of the “red”-fleshed fruit is actually an amazingly bright purple with magenta juice (that stained my fingers pink all day!). The flavor is subtle, but is a little sweeter and with a fainter grass flavors than the white- fleshed fruit. The texture also is different from the white: it seems a little softer and the seeds don’t provide the same satisfying crunch.
Dragon Fruit Sorbet
After sampling both fruits I decided that it was time to try out a sorbet. The bright colors and the subtle sweet flavors of the red fleshed fruit just screamed for it.
2 red-fleshed dragon fruits
3/4 cup cold water
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar
Cut the dragon fruit in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
Place the pulp of the dragon fruit in the food processor along with the water, lemon juice, and sugar. Pulse until smooth. Pour into the ice cream maker and churn until frozen. Freeze the sorbet until ready to serve.
For added flair you can use the halves of the dragon fruit skins as bowls when serving; if you do, freeze them first.
The sorbet turned out great. As expected, the color was amazing - though somehow a deeper purple than the flesh itself. The flavor was fresh, a little sweeter than the fruit alone, and the grassy taste was gone. The texture also became more like that of the plain white fruit with a pleasant crunch from the seeds.
As with watermelon sorbet, I think that the blended mixture has a good chance as a cocktail. Here I would recommend Hendricks gin and maybe a flamed lemon peel. The freshness of the Hendricks would complement the freshness of the dragon fruit nicely.