I distinctly remember the first time I tasted passion fruit. I was about 6 years old and we were visiting family in Trinidad. Even at this age, I was absolutely wowed by the flavor of this exotic and exciting fruit. I exclaimed, "What kind of juice is this?" I had already fallen in love with this wonderful new taste. Although the fruit is grown in Guyana as well, I had only been accustomed to eating a sumatoo, a similar fruit found in Guyana, but much more subtle in flavor. The sumatoo like the passion fruit, is also grown on a vine and is related to a berry. The sweet seeds of the fruit are eaten directly from the soft orange exterior shell. As the flavor is mellow, it is not usually used to make juice or desserts. In contrast, the deep, tart, rich flavor of the passion fruit lends itself to the creation of exotic desserts and drinks. One of the best ways to enjoy it is simply in a juice. This way you can enjoy the pure flavor of the fruit enhanced only with the addition of water and some sugar.
In Haiti, we are lucky to find passion fruit growing here all over the island. It is called Grenadia here. The summer is the main season although we can find the fruit at other times during the year. For about 3 months we will be able to find the "Grenadia" fruit being sold in baskets from fruit vendors everywhere. When the season is good and the fruit is in abundance, I buy several dozens and freeze the pulp. This way, we can enjoy delicious fresh juice as well as passion fruit ice cream, mousse and other lovely desserts even when it is no longer in season.
A refreshing glass of passion fruit juice simply served over ice
Today I made a passion fruit curd. It came out really nicely and I will be using it probably as a filling with a Genoise cake. The flavor is tropical with notes of guava, pineapple and a tone of citrus. The curd can also be used to make a tart or pie, as a filling for meringue like a pavlova or even simply as a tartine on crackers or with short bread cookies. I think that I will also use it as a topping over vanilla ice cream…it is just delightful. Store in a glass container and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
PASSION FRUIT CURD
3/4 cup pure passion fruit pulp with seeds
1 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water made into a slurry
4 tbsp butter
In a blender or with an emulsion blender, blend the passion fruit pulp with sugar. Sieve to separate the seeds and pour into a medium sized saucepan.
Cook on medium heat stirring constantly. Add the butter and salt and cook for about 8-10 minutes. As an indicator of readiness, the back of a spoon should remain coated and a line can be drawn down the middle separating the coating. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a bowl, crack the 4 eggs and beat well.
Add about 2 tablespoons warm passion fruit liquid into the beaten eggs. Beat well to incorporate as we do not want scrambled eggs here.
Add 1/2 cup more of warm liquid to the eggs continue beating.
Pour the egg mixture into the pot with the remaining passion fruit mixture. Mix well.
Add the cornstarch slurry and return to the stovetop to cook on low to medium heat for a few minutes or until the mixture thickens.
Sieve the warm curd to remove any solids which may have accumulated.
Pour into a ceramic bowl and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. This will prevent a " skin" from forming over the curd.
If not using immediately, the curd can be conserved in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups of passion fruit curd.
Passion Fruit Curd