Tropical Fruit Soup Recipe

Have you ever tasted passion fruit?

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If not, I suggest you do as soon as possible since now is their primary season in many parts of the world. If it’s your first taste of this amazing fruit, you’re in for a real treat. Slice one in half and spoon the seeds and pulp right into your mouth. That explosion of flavor is indescribable; a melange of every other tropical flavor that exists, all in one tidy purple orb.

There’s many different kinds of passion fruit. If you live in Hawaii, you’ll find brilliant-yellow lilikoi which grow prolifically everywhere, and in the southern hemisphere, there’s maricuja, which are large, russet-colored passion fruits. But most of the time you see Passiflora edulis, dark violet fruits, and the best tasting of them all. When sliced open, they reveal crunchy seeds and thick, luscious, fragrant pulp. But just in case you think this fruit was given the name ‘passion’ because of the lovely flavor, the name actually refers to the flower of the vine, which is said to tell the story of the Passion Play with it’s multiple tendrils and stamens.

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Spoon passion fruit over icy-cold slices of blood oranges for an instant, and beautiful, dessert

When buying passion fruit, unless you’re lucky enough to live in a climate where they’re abundant, they’re likely to be pricey (depending on the season.) Fortunately a little goes a long way: the pulp and seeds of one or two fruits will assert it’s powerful flavor into a cake, sorbet, or tropical beverage (with a shot or two of dark rum!)
Buy fruits when they’re inexpensive and freeze the pulp and seeds together. It freezes beautifully.

Don’t be put off by punky-looking fruits. Lots of wrinkles means they’re very ripe and at their peak. (I’ve found perfectly wonderful passion fruits in produce bargain bins, since people pass them over.) Signs of mold, however, usually means they’re too far gone and I’d take a pass on ‘em too.

If you’re making a beverage and wish to use just the pulp, slice your passion fruits in half and spoon the pulp into a non-reactive strainer set over a bowl. Use a flexible rubber spatula to force the pulp through the strainer, then discard the seeds. With a little searching, you can find pure frozen passion fruit pulp if you search though Asian markets or places that specialize in tropical products.

Tropical Fruit Soup with Passion Fruit
4 servings

Use whatever combination of tropical fruits you like or follow my suggestions. This is a fun chance to visit your nearest ethnic market and experiment with any unusual fruit you might find there. Don’t be put off if the soup base tastes strangely spicy by itself. Combined with the tropical fruits, the flavors work. Chill the serving bowls in advance so everything stays refreshingly icy-cold.

The soup base:
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 small cinnamon stick
1 star anise
4 whole cloves
4 black peppercorns
1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Zest of 1 orange
1 piece lemongrass, 2 inches long, sliced (use the white part from the root end)
2 thin slices fresh ginger
2 teaspoons dark rum

The assembly:
6 kumquats, sliced and seeded
1 kiwi, peeled and diced
1 basket strawberries, sliced
2 blood oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/4 pineapple, diced
1 banana
2 passion fruit, pulp and seeds
Sugar, if necessary
Fresh mint to garnish

1. To make the soup base, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Coarsely crush the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and black peppercorns in a mortar, or put them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin or a hammer. Add the spices to the water then add the vanilla bean, orange zest, lemongrass, and ginger. Cover the pan, and steep for 1 hour.
2. Strain the soup base and discard the flavorings. Add the rum and chill thoroughly.
3. Toss all the prepared fruits together in a bowl. Taste for sweetness, and add a sprinkling of sugar if they’re too tart.
4. Divide the fruits into four wide soup bowls and ladle the chilled soup base over them.
5. Tear some mint leaves into tiny pieces and scatter them over the soup. Place a scoop of a favorite tropical fruit sherbet in the center.

15 comments

  • Ahh… passion fruit — brings back memories of living in Australia, going to the market on Saturday and buying small buckets of passion fruit for a dollar. To-day I rarely see them for under $1 each — but still well-worth the price. In the past when I’ve seen them at the supermarket and they are wrinkly, I’ve conned the produce manager into marking them down by telling him that nobody will buy them as they’re almost rotten -well past their prime. I’m curious David, what do you pay for them in France?

  • what a gorgeous knife..

  • Me too Linda! I well remember the good ole days of eating them in Australia by the bucket load! Mum used to end up freezing the pulp in ice cube containers then served them over mangoes when the mangoes were in season…hmmmmm….Now I too live in France and my french man tells me he’s not fussed on the fruit…tells me he gets bored with trying to spit out all the seeds!! Ohhlalaaa

  • David, your passion for the fruit is understanderble. One of the best reasons for visiting south africa (I’m an ex S African)is for freshly squuezed PFJ at breakfast (or Lunch or whenever)in copious quantities
    regards
    Jeremy (mustardmaker)

  • David,

    I really enjoy these essays. They’re perfectly sized for a blog — which I suspect shows great restraint on your part.

  • I paid 1€ ($1.20) for 4 passion fruit at the market…without haggling! They were being sold ‘as is’…
    And that’s how I like them; when they’re nice and ripe and juicy.

    This morning at another market, I paid 2€ for 7 passion fruit…other merchants were selling them for about 7€ per kilo.

    I wish I could get them by the bucket too.

    Kevin: Glad you enjoyed the entry. I love writing about ingredients, like chocolate, fruit, and everything else I can get my hands on.

  • oh this brings back childhood memories for me… growing up in a small town in malaysia, a relative of mine often brought sacks of passion fruit over to our place… we had this cement floor and leaving the juice on would bleached it!

    but of course we would never waste it that way… instead we had lots of fresh passion fruit juice, and passion fruit ice lollies in the freezer all the time… :)

  • The best way I like my ripe passion fruit is it’s pulp squeezed on a velvety yoghurt ( the fatty ones , not the bio 0% fat ones). It’s one of the best desserts I serve after a big heavy dinner. A little biscotti can be a good companion to this treat.

  • The recipe looks amazing! It looks like a sunshine on a plate. Thanks for the buying tips on p fruit.

  • Ooh, memory lane for me too. My mom had vines of the yellow and purple granadillas (as they were called there) on our farm in Zimbabwe. I used to walk down to the vines at the end of the garden with teaspoon in hand, open the fruit and eat them right off the vine while they were still warm.

    Granadilla icing on victoria sponge/pound cake recipe is still one of my favourites and I buy them here in Holland even at their inflated price so I can share the flavours of the tropics with my sons.

  • so expensive here in Europe but when I was in Seychelles
    the locals were laughing at me when I asked how much was the kilo
    they said I just need to help myself… oh heaven!

    sorry it went to ms bardot

  • As I understand it, the name “passion fruit” comes from the resemblance of the passion vine’s flower to the crown of thorns that Jesus had on his head during the crucifixion.
    The Brazilian, Amazonian variety is most commonly referred to as “Maracuia”. When I lived in Portugal and Brazil, we all knew the story of the passion fruit name.

    Look under Passiflora Edulis below:

    http://www.crfg.org/fg/xref/xref-p.html

  • Ah, I’m missing the many passion fruit caipirhinas I enjoyed daily in Rio this past December. Even in Los Angeles they’re not easy to come by, and I’ve got plenty of cachaça waiting to be used… That blood red orange combo is simply gorgeous!

  • I saw your your interview in Discovery Channel last night and got my immediate attention then I logged in to internet to check your blog.

    It is amazing that living that far I am really close to food as you are. I am a Asian-Costarican Chef living in San Jose, Costa Rica and a 100% passionate for food.

    I am writing in this post because I saw the pics of the passion fruit and even the inner fruit is the same as Costarican’s the exterior is quiet different. Is like an old prum. LOL

    Anyway, maybe is because we have them fresh.

    Thanks for taking the time to make this amazing blog

    regards

    Jousin Koo

  • Passion fruit grows well in Southern California. It can be easily grown in a backyard against a sunny wall. Generally disease resistant, we have found that gophers can kill a mature plant and squirrels enjoy the fruit. Plants should be readily available at local nurseries. You may have to place an order ( retail at about $30.00 for nice 5 gallonplants, often with some fruit already developing). LaVerne Nursery in southern California is a grower.(lavernenursery.com…wholesale only). Mostly found is the “Frederick” variety of Passiflora edulis. The fruit is very large but often not fully packed when opened and a little more tart that the P.edulis found in S. Africa, Australia and Hawaii.

    If successful, a single plant can supply 100′s of pieces of fruit in a given season. Does particularly well on a tennis court fence with good sun exposure. But any wall or staked support will do fine. Good luck