Passionate for passionfruit
Passionfruit were first discovered around 1700 in the jungles of Brazil by a Jesuit priest. They were named the ‘Passion of Christ’ because the plant’s flower resembled religious symbols.
An alternative name for passionfruit, granadilla, literally means ‘little pomegranate’. The interior of the passionfruit, which is full of little black seeds, is vaguely similar to that of the pomegranate.
Botanically, passionfruit are a berry and there are many varieties. Kiwis are most familiar with the purple-skinned passionfruit which has the most concentrated flavour. They are at their sweetest when the skin starts to wrinkle. Store smooth-skinned fruit at room temperature until wrinkled, then refrigerate keeping them as dry as possible.
About six passionfruit provide half a cup of pulp. The fruit are rich in vitamin C and low in calories.
One of the best ways to preserve passionfruit is to combine one cup of pulp and one cup of sugar. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then pour into sterilised jars and seal.
Passionfruit pulp can also be frozen. Mix three tablespoons of sugar with one cup of pulp. Pour into ice cube trays and place in the freezer. When solid, turn out into a plastic bag and seal.
Passionfruit burnt cream
1 cup each: cream, milk
1 teaspoon good vanilla essence
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
3-4 tablespoons passionfruit pulp brown sugar
- Slowly bring the cream and milk to boiling point. Add the vanilla essence.
- Beat the egg yolks and the caster sugar, until light. Strain the milk mixture into the egg yolks. Stir in the passionfruit pulp. Pour the mixture into six small ramekins or four larger ones.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C.
- Place the ramekins in a roasting pan. Three-quarters fill the pan with very hot water. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until just set. Cool and refrigerate. The mixture should be chilled before glazing.
- When required, sprinkle the tops with a full layer of sifted brown sugar. Blow torch the tops or place under a preheated hot grill, until the sugar is just melted.
- Excellent served with fresh fruit on the side.