I do love them, but can't get my hands on the things nearly as often as I would like.
Tropical and tangy, a little of the fresh fruit goes a long way.
Generally, white and creamy foods (whipped cream, for instance) pair especially well with the sharp fresh passion fruit scooped right from the rind. Creams seem to tame some of that sharpness.
Yes, there are some things you should never try to improve upon. Perfectly ripe peaches right off the tree can be one of those things. You have to admit cooking perfect peaches can be downright wrong.
So why would I ever mess with a perfect, fresh passion fruit?
For one thing, I can go to an orchard and pick those perfect peaches off a tree. However, it's much less plausible that I've gone out in the recent past and picked perfectly ripe passion fruit off a vine (or off the ground).
Sorry, but since I'm not in passion fruit territory the opportunity has not presented itself.
That said, those I am able to snap up at the store are more than likely not going to be at their maximum potential (though a little time on a windowsill or in a paper bag can do them good).
Although perhaps unable to reach the epitome of flavor where I am, passion fruits with the best possible potential can be sought. First, if they're the purple variety, deep purple is good (as in NOT blue-grey or brown), and maybe with a tinge of magenta. The skin does not necessarily have to be perfectly smooth, and in fact wrinkles can be a good thing.
Fruits that feel heavy for their size are also good. Try holding one in each hand to compare weights.
If there's something inside that rattles around when the fruit is lightly shaken, you don't want it. The juice and pulp are likely dried out and what's left inside is probably just a gummy mass of seeds.
Turning passion fruit into a curd (like the more familiar lemon or lime curd) does tame the flavor, but it also serves the dual purpose of making it more rich and extending the flavor a bit
How to use it?...
between layers of a cake
as part of a trifle
maybe with a vanilla pot de crème/coeur à la crème/plain yogurt
on a fruit salad (strawberries, raspberries, lime zest, maybe some coconut and/or mango)
served with scones
on toast (who doesn't want passion fruit with their toast in the morning?)
with dark or white chocolate mousse
as a macaron filling
Passion Fruit Curd
makes about 3 cups (720 ml)
7 fresh, ripe passion fruit
8 T (113 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c (200 g) sugar
1/4 t (2 g) salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 T (30 ml) lime juice
Cut four of the passion fruits in half and scoop the pulp and seeds into a blender. Blend about 20 seconds or so to free the juice from the pulp and seeds. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl, stirring the mixture and pressing the bits of seeds and pulp with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Cut the last three passion fruit and scoop the seeds and pulp into the bowl with the just strained juice. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter about 10 seconds until creamed. Add the sugar and salt and beat again until light and fluffy. Add both of the eggs as well as the egg yolk and beat again until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl and re-beating if necessary. Pour in the bowl of reserved passion fruit juice and seeds, along with the lime juice. Give everything a quick mix and scrape the contents of the bowl into a medium saucepan.
Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly. At first things will look a little strange, but once the butter melts and everything starts coming together nicely you know it'll turn out ok.
Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture becomes creamy and thickens- at least thick enough to easily coat the back of a spoon (this will take at least 5 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat and pour the passion fruit curd into a bowl or jars to cool.
Once cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.