Q: I have tried numerous recipes for passionfruit pulp and they are either too sweet or too thin, and also the seeds float to the top. Ideally, I would like it to turn out like store bought, not too sweet and nice and thick. - Thanks, Dianne
A: Fresh passionfruit pulp must be one of the best foods ever to have been created. I love the tangy sweetness of it, the aromatic character and the delicious taste which goes well with so many things. I've made salsa from it with lightly toasted chopped walnuts and shredded celery and apple to spoon over roast pork or steamed thick chunks of cod or hapuka. It's fabulous folded through mascarpone whipped with cream and a little icing sugar to fill a rolled pavlova or to dollop on top of meringues. It's marvellous shaken with golden rum, unrefined caster sugar and a dash of lime and then muddled over ice with a lemonade topping.
The passionfruit pulp you buy in jars in the supermarket always amazes me though because the seeds never float to the top, the sauce is always nicely thick and not too blobby, and for the life of me I have no idea how they do it. I assume, rightly or wrongly, that they must cook the fresh pulp with some extra water, possibly some citric acid for sharpness, sugar and some sort of thickener that holds everything in suspension. Perhaps it's wise to read the label next time.
There's nothing wrong with this, I suppose, if it produces a great tasting and delicious pulp which means you can access these fabulous fruit all year round.
I'd suggest that if you're after the store-bought style then simmer a cup of pulp with to a cup of caster sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit itself) and cup water. Dissolve two teaspoons of cornflour in 2 tablespoons of cold water and then mix in some of the hot pulp. Return to the pan and slowly heat up, making sure the cornflour doesn't form a leaden lump, and simmer for a minute stirring constantly. This will keep in the fridge for a week in a sealed jar or tub.
Another way to make a tasty syrup is to cook a cup of pulp with half a cup of water and a cup of caster sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, stirring often. Taste for sourness - adding lime juice if needed, then pass through a fine sieve while still hot. It will be seedless but delicious, and will keep for a week in the fridge, and can be squirted over ice cream or sweet muffins, mixed into icing sugar to make frosting or drizzled into a vodka tonic with some diced strawberries or mango and fresh mint leaves - or simply made into a Pash-a-lini as we do at the Providores by putting 2 tablespoons in a champagne flute and topping with sparkling wine.
However, if I had access to plentiful fresh passionfruit as you do in NZ, then I'd simply pulp it and freeze it in ice cube trays. Once frozen I'd tip them into ziplock-bags and keep them stored away for the future.
You can never have too many passionfruit as far as I'm concerned. I remember as a child growing up in Whanganui, we had the most fruitful vine down the side of the garage and every morning when they were in season I'd take one or two with me to school and eat them by biting them open and sucking out the pulp. The bitterness of the skin never bothered me, and it, combined with the sweet and sour taste of the fruit, is one of my strongest school-day memories. And sweet and sour and bitter have remained as my strongest defining culinary characteristics when composing a dish.
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