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.
A take on Eton Mess. Gluten-free and gorgeous. You can change out the peaches for other seasonal fruit such as nectarines or kiwifruit.
1 cup cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
4 meringues, crumbled
2 yellow-fleshed peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
6 tablespoons passionfruit pulp
Whip the cream and icing sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in the pulp from the 2-3 passionfruit. Fold in the meringues. Spoon half the mixture into six glasses or serving dishes.
Top with the peaches and additional passionfruit pulp. Top with the remaining cream mixture. Chill for at least an hour.
May be garnished with extra passionfruit pulp and crumbled meringues. Serves 6.
GLAZED PORK SALAD WITH PASSIONFRUIT DRESSING
Don’t have any leftover cooked pork? Then braise or poach cubed pork leg steaks or fillet, until tender. Cool.
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons each: soy sauce, passionfruit pulp
dash chilli sauce eg Tabasco
1 star anise
500g cooked pork, cubed
Dressing: 6 passionfruit
2 teaspoons each: caster sugar, fish sauce
dash chilli sauce
Place the brown sugar, water, soy sauce, passionfruit pulp and chilli sauce into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Strain into a wok or frying pan. Add the star anise. Simmer for 2-3 minutes then add the cooked pork. Simmer, stirring, until the pork is well coated with the glaze and the pan is dry. Cool.
To make the dressing, sieve the passionfruit pulp into a bowl. Whisk in the remaining ingredients.
The pork is great served on a salad of blanched, chilled thinly-cut green beans, fresh mint and coriander leaves. Drizzle with the dressing and top with a little extra passionfruit pulp. Serves 4.
PASSIONFRUIT CREAM CHEESE MUFFINS
The seeds on top are quite crunchy. Sieve if preferred.
2 cups gluten-free self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup each: caster sugar, canola oil
pulp 4 passionfruit
1-2 nectarines, (or apricots or peaches), halved, stoned and diced
50g cream cheese
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a 9-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
Combine the flour, baking powder and caster sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.
Whisk the oil, eggs, milk and 3/4 of the passionfruit pulp, until smooth. Add half the nectarines. Pour into the paper cases.
Cut the cream cheese into 9 pieces. Push into the muffin batter. Top with the remaining nectarine and passionfruit.
Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Makes 9.