Summer is heating up around here, and so are all the backyard parties that we’ve been invited to. Annie can’t help but make two or three things to bring to these parties – she loves to cook, dontcha know – and one of her more popular desserts is this Es Teler (pronounced “ice tell-UR”). We posted a teaser about this cool Indonesian dessert last year.
Es teler is a very simple dish to make, as long as you have an Asian grocery nearby. Most of the ingredients to making Es teler are found in the canned fruit aisle. These include two cans of jackfruit, plus a can of young coconut meat, a jar of coconut gel cubes, and a can of attap (nipah palm) fruit.
You will also need a couple of fresh avocados, some crushed ice, and some condensed milk (more on that later).
Step 1: Drain the cans of jackfruit and cut the fruit into strips about 1/4 inch in width. Add the jackfruit strips to a large bowl.
Step 2: Drain the can of young coconut meat (reserving the syrup) and cut the coconut into thin strips of 1/4 inch in width. Add the coconut strips to the bowl with the jackfruit. Add the reserved coconut syrup to the bowl as well.
Step 3: Open the can of attap fruit and add the fruit plus half the syrup to the bowl with the jackfruit and coconut strips.
Step 4: Drain the jar of coconut gel and add the gel cubes to the bowl with the other ingredients.
Step 5: Halve the avocados, remove the pits, and cut them into a 1/2 inch dice. Scoop out the diced avocadoes into the bowl with the other fruit.
Step 6: Gently mix everything to combine.
Cool and Sweet
Step 7: At this point, you have a big bowl of room temperature fruit – not too appetizing, especially on a hot day. Add several cups of crushed ice to the bowl to cool things down a bit.
Step 8: The ice will dilute the sweetness of the fruit. To bring some of that sweetness quotient back to the es teler, add 5 to 8 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk to the bowl. Start with a little condensed milk, stir it in gently, and taste and add more condensed milk until the es teler reaches your desired sweetness.
Condensed Milk: Then and Now
The condensed milk I grew up with always came in a little can. When we used it, we’d have to open the top of the can, spoon out however much we needed, and then replace the top and put the unused can of condensed milk back in the fridge. Every so often, I’d sneak into the fridge and lift a spoonful of condensed milk out of the can for a quick, sweet treat. The thick milk would slowly melt back into a smooth pool, erasing the evidence of my surreptitious tasting.
Lately, we’ve been introduced to this handy squeeze bottle of condensed milk, found in the same aisle as the old cans. The bottles are so much better than the cans. It certainly makes it easier to squeeze out the exact amount needed in a recipe. It also makes it easier to sneak a taste – no need even for a spoon, just squirt a big mouthful of that thick, sticky milk right onto my tongue, snap the lid back into place, and scurry off! (just be sure not to get any on your chin.)
Step 9: Ladle out the es teler into individual cups or bowls, making sure each one gets some of everything.
I can’t say which individual component I like best about es teler. Each fruit contributes its own unique and pleasant character to the whole dessert. All I know is, we never have any leftovers, but we always have requests for the es teler recipe. So, to all you es teler lovers out there, here you go!