After writing about rare exotic fruits—and of course, tasting them in my Quarantine Kitchen—earlier this year, one definitely stood out as my favorite: the passion fruit. Yes, I’m passionate about passion fruit! Since then, I’ve been longingly searching the produce aisles in Flagstaff grocery stores for the intoxicating fruit. I’ve stalked the grocers’ freezer cases for the chance of frozen passionfruit juice—just to cure my longings.
Melissa's Produce Passion fruits to the rescue!
So you can imagine my delight when I was given a second chance to choose some fruit from Melissa’s Produce online store and write more. I knew in my heart that I had to select the dark red fruit known as passionfruit. And yes, yes, I know that some come in golden colors, too, but I’ve never savored that variety.
Table of Contents
What does passion fruit taste like?
So what’s the big deal about passion fruit? Why does it make me go gaga? It’s the unique taste, and what enhances its flavor is the perfumery aroma. The fruit is tart and tangy but also has hints of sweetness. If your passion fruit is too tart, then you haven’t let it ripen enough. See more on ripening below.
In my previous article, Can’t travel? Let these 5 Rare Exotic Fruits Take You Places, I wrote that passionfruit tastes like guava and smells like paradise. You have to taste for yourself! The photo above depicts two of my favorite fruits, passion fruit and peaches.
How to cut passion fruit?
Cutting a passion fruit is not difficult—not like a jackfruit, thank God! First wash the small round fruit. Then hold the fruit over a bowl and using a sharp knife, puncture the fruit with a wide cut. Allow the juice to flow out into the bowl and then put the fruit on a cutting board and continue the cut as to slice the fruit in half. If juice does not run out, the passionfruit might not be perfectly ripe – but no worries.
There’s no pit to deal with like the messy mango or gooey plum. But the passionfruit’s juicy pulp does remind me of a plum. Sorry Professor Plum, Mr. Passionfruit stole my heart. (I once claimed that plums were my favorite fruit.)
How to eat passion fruit?
The fruit tastes best when the thick, waxy skin is shrunken and wrinkly, so I’m trying to let my passionfruit shrivel up now as I write this—if I can wait that long. The shriveled skin is how you can tell if the fruit is ripe. I like to cut them in half with a sharp knife as described above and then just eat them out of their rinds with a teaspoon. Eat the seeds and all because the seeds are full of minerals and vitamins.
What can you do with passion fruit?
My friend Barb told me that you could make passion fruit jam or preserves. The tart fruit is perfect with something sweet like yogurt, sorbet or custards. I fell in love with the passion fruit when I made mousse de maracujá, a custardy mousse and local delicacy of Brazil. I’ll share the recipe a bit later. For another taste of Brazil, check out the Caipirinha Cocktail.
Another way to eat passion fruit—I learned this from my friends Down Under—is dribbled on top of a Pavlova. Pavlova is a dessert that originated in Australia or New Zealand—they’re still fighting over which country invented the delicacy—made with a meringue ___ and topped with whipped cream and fruit. The last time I made one, I brought it to a party where I was to meet New Zealanders, who were going to prep me for my upcoming trip to Kiwi country. It was my first Pavlova and it came out in airy perfection. Unfortunately, the host cut and plated my creation before we could ooh and ahh over the colorful presentation.
How to eat passion fruit? There’s lots of ways, so lets’ take a look at a few of my favorite recipes.
Passion Fruit Recipes
Like I said earlier, my first Pavlova came out of the oven brilliantly and I was so proud to bring the dessert as a tribute to my new friends from New Zealand. But earlier this week, my Pavlova was a different story. The persnickety dessert, named after the ballet star Anna Pavlova, fell flat on center stage. Tonight, I’m climbing back on that horse and trying a different recipe.
I’ve also rounded up some tips for making the perfect Pavlova, which I mentioned before is a meringue dessert. So it should go better this time. I also dug up the recipe I used on my first Pavlova. Here it is:
Passion Fruit Pavlova
4 large egg whites – separate from older, room temperature eggs
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon vanilla
2-3 ripe passion fruits
1 cup chilled whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using electric mixer (I used my stand-up mixer,) beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, one tablespoon at a time and beat until thick and mixture looks like marshmallow crème, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla and cornstarch.
Spoon onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Using spatula, draw the edges up as high as you can make them and smooth the top so that it is flat.
NOTE: If the pavlova batter is soft and runny, and you are can’t shape it into a high pavlova because it keeps sliding like what happened to me on my second attempt, it means that the egg whites were over beaten or the sugar was added too soon. [In my case, I tried to substitute the cornstarch with gluten-free flour because my husband is allergic to cornstarch. That didn’t work.]
Place in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 250 F. Bake the meringues until they are dry on the outside, but the center is still soft, about 1 hour. Cool on rack for 30 minutes.
You can make the meringue shell a day ahead but don’t dress her until you’re ready to serve. Otherwise, the whipping cream softens and flattens your fluffy creation.
Using an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl until peaks form. Carefully dress the top of the Pavlova shell with the whipped cream.
Use a teaspoon to scoop the seeds and juice from the passion fruit halves, and spoon them over the top of the whipped cream.
The sourness of the passionfruit works so well with the sugary sweetness of the meringue.
Spiralizer Fruit Stack with Cactus Pear-Passion Fruit Caramel Sauce
Recipe by Melissa’s Produce Corporate Chef Tom Fraker
For the caramel sauce:
1 Passion Fruit, pulp removed
1 Red Cactus Pear, peeled; diced small
½ cup Heavy Cream
½ stick Unsalted Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 pinch Kosher Salt
For the stack:
1 small Jicama, peeled
1 Red Apple, rinsed
1 Asian Pear, rinsed
2 Kiwi, peeled; diced
1 Melissa’s South African Baby Pineapple, peeled; diced
1 packaged Melissa’s Pomegranate Arils
Spiralizer – I used the ribbon cut blade
To make the sauce
Place all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and mix well. Simmer over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes, stirring often, until it becomes a smooth caramel color. Set aside.
For the stack
Using the Spiralizer, process the jicama and set aside.
Using the Spiralizer, process the apple and Asian pear.
On two plates, place some of the jicama and top with some diced kiwi and pineapple. Top that with some red apple, topped with some kiwi and pineapple.
Top that with some Asian pear, topped with kiwi and pineapple.
Drizzle the stacks with some caramel sauce, garnish with the arils and serve.
Makes 2-4 servings.
Crunchy Passion Fruit Parfaits
Adapted from recipe of Melissa’s Produce Corporate Chefs
3 ripe (wrinkled) passion fruit
2 cups plain low-fat Greek style yogurt
1/4 cup Melissa’s Organic Blue Agave Syrup
1/2 cup granola
1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted salted pistachios
Cut each passion fruit in half and scoop the seeds and pulp into a small bowl.
In another small bowl, stir to combine the yogurt and honey.
Set six small stemmed bowls or glasses on the counter. Divide half of the yogurt mixture between them. Divide two thirds of the passion fruit between the bowls or glassed and top with the granola. Spoon the remaining yogurt on top, then add the remaining passion fruit. Sprinkle on the nuts and serve.
Or for an easier approach, like what I did above, serve in shallow bowls, and rather than layering, use one layer of granola topped with yogurt and surrounded with passion fruit. Then sprinkle with pistachios.
Thanks to Melissa’s Produce for sending me the delicious produce and my favorite passion fruit. I’m in seventh heaven because as now you know, I’m passionate about passion fruit.
We want to know what you are passionate about. Leave a comment below about a person, place or thing.
Read more about passion fruit at Can’t travel? Let these 5 Rare Exotic Fruits Take You Places
As is common in the travel industry, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was provided with fresh produce for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the Arizona travel writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.
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