Durian is a delicacy native to Southeast Asia, where it’s revered as the “king of fruits.” Its thick spike-covered husk may look intimidating, but crack it open and get past the pungent aroma, and you’ll find sweet, creamy flesh reminiscent of the most luxurious of custards. Durian tastes decadent on its own, and in Malaysian, Thai, Singaporean, and Indonesian cuisines, it features in a wide variety of savory and sweet dishes.
Durian has a striking smell and taste that, depending on who you ask, may call to mind fruity, milky, musky, and sulfurous notes. Though the ingredient’s pungency makes it rather divisive (it’s banned in many hotels and public transit systems throughout Southeast Asia), the bold and nuanced aroma is exactly what makes durian so highly prized. Balanced with the sweetness of condensed milk and fragrance of vanilla, the fruit’s singular flavor and naturally creamy texture shine in this easy no-churn ice cream.
Look for whole durian or packages of durian flesh (sometimes labeled “durian pulp”) in the produce section of your local Asian supermarket, or order the pulp frozen online here.
Featured in: "How to Choose and Cut a Durian, According to a Grower," by Megan Zhang.
- 1 cup durian flesh (fresh or thawed, frozen)
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk, chilled
- ¾ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1¾ cups heavy cream