Full of distinctive sweet, tangy nectar and vibrant in colour, passionfruit are one of the culinary highlights of summer.
My friends Mike and Marz kindly gave me a bucket load of passionfruit from their vine at home; a huge behemoth of sprawling green tendrils and lush leaves that covers the entire back of the house from ground to roof.
Their wild vertical jungle is actually comprised of two passionfruit plants – the widely known purple passionfruit and the more uncommon banana passionfruit, which is orange-gold in colour with striking scarlet pulp.
As if the fruit isn’t enough, passionfruit also bear some of the most stunning and intricate flowers in the plant kingdom.
Just look at them… Nature’s engineering at its most extraordinary.
To celebrate my giant passionfruit windfall, I enjoyed a bunch in fresh watermelon and mint juice but the bulk were used to make a large batch of velvety passionfruit curd.
I’ve since used the curd to make a gorgeous summer cheesecake, so watch this space!
For those who are time-poor or just not very methodical / a wee bit haphazard (*ahem* …sheepishly raises a hand), sterilising jars before filling them sounds like a finicky and overly-cautious exercise. Especially if whatever you’re filing them with is too delicious to stick around for very long.
It’s entirely your call – I’m the first to admit this was only the second time I’ve ever done it – but I recommend it if you’re making a large batch and / or giving it away to friends. You don’t want any of this luscious, homemade gorgeousness getting binned because remnants have gone off.
There are plenty of variations out there but the general method is a combination of high heat from boiling water and the oven.
Wash your glass jars and lids in hot, soapy water, then rinse well and pop everything into a deep stock pot. Cover with water and bring to the boil over high heat, then cover and boil for 5 minutes.
Using metal tongs, remove the jars and lids from the boiling water and place upside down on tray. Place in a pre-heated 110°C (230°F) oven and heat for 15 minutes until dry.
adapted from the recipe at sbs.com.au/food by merle parrish
(makes about 2 ½ cups)
1 cup fresh passionfruit pulp
125 g unsalted butter, chopped
¾ cup caster sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg yolks
juice and reams of rind from 1 lemon
Whisk the passionfruit pulp to loosen the seeds and juice.
In a large heatproof bowl, add the butter, sugar, passionfruit, lemon rind and juice. Place the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch.
Regularly stir the mixture until the butter has melted and you have a smooth consistency.
Add the eggs and yolks to the bowl and use a wire whisk to gently incorporate into the butter.
The original recipe says to keep stirring for 20 – 25 minutes, until the mixture has thickened; however, my curd took significantly less time to come together (possibly because the minimum gas setting isn’t as low as other stoves) so you really need to pay attention to the reduction process.
Test by dipping a spoon into the curd, and running a fingertip through the mixture on the back of the spoon. It’s ready when the line keeps its shape rather than running back together.
Once you’re happy with the consistency, remove the pieces of lemon rind and pour the curd into warm sterilised jars. Seal tightly and leave to cool.
Keep in the fridge for up to 8 weeks (but I doubt it will last that long!).