Passion Fruit Curd

Once upon a time, a friend gave me the mother lode of Meyer lemons from his backyard tree. I made Meyer Lemon Curd that was … delicious beyond measure.

Here is the best news about this recipe. You don’t have to have the mother lode of Meyer lemons or passion fruit (which I’m getting to, promise). You can use any fresh citrus you’d like. You can even mix in the essence of fresh herbs. Or rose water.

It’s one of the most versatile recipes I’ve ever shared. I will offer lots of variations of how to use it – I hope perfectly – for any preference of your own.

Now for a few words about Passion Fruit, also known as Lilikoi, in Hawaii.

This curious, little deep-red ball of sorts is a vine species of passion flower, native to southern Brazil through Paraguay and northern Argentina. It grows in tropical and subtropical areas (including a friend’s garden here in SoCal) and yields a sweet, seedy pulp that sometimes has a bit of tang.

Its flavor is extraordinary and not quite like anything else in the world.

(I’m suddenly reminded of the Passion Fruit Mousse, often at Pampas Brazilian Grill at the Market. Please don’t miss that if it’s there, it’s amazing.)

So just recently a new friend brought me the mother lode of exquisite passion fruit from his family’s garden, where apparently there are thousands of these precious babies on the vines.

I immediately used some to make this Passion Fruit Curd on a Thursday night, as I had company arriving on the weekend. We spread it on toast, cookies, and anything else that did not move. It is outrageously delicious.

If you can find passion fruit at your local farmers market or favorite grocery, choose those that feel heaviest, and have a slightly wrinkled shell. Those that seem lighter and have a smooth exterior are not yet ripe and will yield a less-sweet pulp, although they will ripen on your countertop (do not refrigerate).

See foto below for ripe/not so ripe fruit (top) and one cut open to see pulp (bottom).

One more quick story – I made Passion Fruit Curd for a catered party years ago, served with a fruit and cheese tray for dessert. My friend LuAnn was my assistant and was trying to watch her sweets intake at that hour. She tasted this and said I so hate you right now!! (I said thank you 😉

Try this with passion fruit and be prepared. It has been cited as obscene and should be illegal and I promise, those are compliments in the highest order ;).

Passion Fruit Curd

¾ cup fresh passion fruit pulp, spooned from 4-6 fruit (or more)

½ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cube unsalted butter, cut in pieces

You will need a double boiler for this recipe, or a bowl placed over a saucepan half-filled with slow-rolling boiling water.

A fine mesh strainer placed over a medium bowl is also required. Have this ready before curd is prepared on stovetop.

Begin by filling medium saucepan or bottom pot of double boiler with water, about ½ full. Bring water to a full boil, then lower heat so that the water is still boiling slowly, not rapidly. Best to not have the water touching the bottom of bowl placed above.

In the top of double boiler or the bowl to be placed on top of saucepan, place passion fruit pulp, sugar, and eggs. Place bowl over rolling water, and stir to combine ingredients well.

Add butter pieces gradually, and with whisk, stir constantly. Mixture will begin to thicken, continue to stir. After about 7-8 minutes, mixture ought to be very thick. Turn off heat and remove bowl from bottom pot.

With a rubber spatula, transfer all curd from pot/bowl to fine mesh strainer over medium bowl and press solids to yield strained curd into bowl. Be sure to scrape curd has formed on the under side of strainer as well.

Strain as much as is entirely possible, then either discard solids or reserve them for a future smoothie!

Allow curd to cool completely before transferring to clean jar or glass/ceramic container. Cover tightly and let chill for at least 3 hours before enjoying as a spread for … anything you’d like. 

Yields about 1.5 cups.

Variations:

Each variation will offer a substitute for the ¾ cup of passion fruit pulp:

Lemon-lavender-rose water curd:

Grated zest of 2 fresh lemons + ½ cup fresh lemon juice

1 tsp culinary lavender seeds

Cook with other ingredients in place of passion fruit pulp and follow recipe instructions. Once curd has cooled, add 1 tsp rose water and stir well. Chill as directed.

Pink Grapefruit-basil curd:

Grated zest of 1 fresh grapefruit + ½ cup fresh grapefruit juice

4 large fresh basil leaves 

Cook with other ingredients in place of passion fruit pulp and follow recipe instructions (strain, chill, etc.)

Orange-rosemary curd:

Grated zest of 2 fresh oranges + ½ cup fresh orange juice

2 fresh rosemary stems

Cook with other ingredients in place of passion fruit pulp and follow recipe instructions (strain, chill, etc.). 

Orange-grapefruit curd:

Grated zest of 1 fresh orange + 1 fresh grapefruit + ½ cup fresh mixed orange and grapefruit juice

Cook with other ingredients in place of passion fruit pulp and follow recipe instructions (strain, chill, etc.).

Meyer lemon curd:

Grated zest of 2 fresh Meyer lemons + ½ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice

Cook with other ingredients in place of passion fruit pulp and follow recipe instructions (strain, chill, etc.).

Key lime curd:

Grated zest of 4 fresh Key limes + ½ cup fresh Key lime juice

Cook with other ingredients in place of passion fruit pulp and follow recipe instructions (strain, chill, etc.).

Blood orange curd:

Grated zest of 2 fresh blood oranges + ½ cup fresh blood orange juice

Cook with other ingredients in place of passion fruit pulp and follow recipe instructions (strain, chill, etc.).

Tangerine curd:

Grated zest of 3 fresh tangerines + ½ cup fresh tangerine juice

 Cook with other ingredients in place of passion fruit pulp and follow recipe instructions (strain, chill, etc.).

Diana Scalia

Diana Scalia

Your Chef and Tour Maestra

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