Find out how to make pawpaw passionfruit sorbet using two delicious fruits native to North America: Asimina triloba and Passiflora incarnata.
We’ll get to the details of this amazing pawpaw passionfruit sorbet recipe in a moment, but first we’d like to share some thoughts…
One of the many reasons we love gardening and foraging is because of the new culinary adventures it affords us. In our garden and surrounding forests, each month and season brings forth new and interesting foods, most of which we’d never be able to find at grocery stores.
Chicken of the woods, indigo milk caps, and king stropharia mushrooms; hickory nuts and acorn flour; heirloom watermelons; ground cherries and garden huckleberries; unusual varieties of citrus... By growing and foraging many of the foods we eat, we get exercise, ecological education, and meals unrivaled by any local restaurant.
Two other delicious and native seasonal treats we look forward to in late summer each year: pawpaws and passionfruit.
Pawpaw: America’s forgotten fruit
About a decade ago, one of our friends told us about a native fruit that looked like a mango and tasted like mango-banana-cream. It was supposedly called a “pawpaw” and it was the largest native edible fruit in North America.
What? How could this be true? Surely, we’d have known about this magical fruit or encountered it on a hike. It must be a folk legend, like Big Foot or Lizard Man.
As it turns out, the legend is in fact real. Pawpaws (Asimina triloba) exist, they can be the size of mangoes, and their taste is amazing. What do pawpaws taste like? Mango banana custard – yes, the legend had that part right too.
Once we knew what pawpaw trees looked like, we realized we had in fact seen them in the wild. The trees are abundant in the low lying flood plains at our favorite morel mushroom foraging spots, and we see them blooming in March when we’re out foraging morels.
We don’t go back to those spots in late summer when pawpaws are actually producing fruit since morels are long-since gone. However, now that we know pawpaws grow there, well…
Growing, harvesting, and processing pawpaws
After tasting our first pawpaws years back, we decided we had to incorporate these native wonders into our forest garden. We now have about ten pawpaw trees growing.
The skin of pawpaw fruit is slightly bitter and much thinner than mango skin. To remove the fresh fruit, cut it in half and use the skin as a bowl, scooping out the soft flesh by the spoonful. The large seeds are very easy to separate from the flesh. (Use those seeds to grow more pawpaw trees!)
To take a deeper dive into growing and processing pawpaw fruit, be sure to also read:
Pawpaw passionfruit sorbet: a summer dessert like no other
Other than eating pawpaws fresh, you cam make them into breads, puddings, popsicles, adult beverages, smoothies… experiment as you see fit.
We recently had friends over for dinner and made our pawpaws into an unforgettable summer dessert: pawpaw passionfruit sorbet. We also have an abundance of delicious native passionfruit (Passiflora incarnata) growing in our forest garden, and their fruit begins ripening in late summer at the same time as pawpaws.
We thought the tangy flavor of passionfruit would round out the sweet custardy flavor of pawpaws, thus this pawpaw passionfruit sorbet recipe was born!
We also picked a fresh variegated lemon from one of our citrus trees and made a simple syrup from our makrut lime leaves to add more citrusy punch, but you don’t have to have fresh lemons of makrut lime leaves to make this recipe. We’ll provide common alternatives in the recipe below.
The final sorbet was quite a hit and demands for public publication soon followed. We dare not let our friends (or you) down, so here’s our pawpaw passionfruit sorbet recipe for all to enjoy!
Recipe: Tyrant Farms pawpaw passionfruit sorbet
Pawpaw passionfruit sorbet
Pawpaw passionfruit sorbet is a delicious seasonal dessert made from native fruit: pawpaws (Asimina triloba) and passionfruit (Passiflora incarnata).
- 1.5 cup pawpaw pulp no seeds
- 4 ripe passionfruits (to be made into passionfruit simple syrup)
- 1 lemon
- 3 makrut lime leaves (to be made into makrut lime leaf simple syrup) alternative: 1 heaping teaspoon fresh lemon zest - Meyer lemons or Buddha's hand citron are best for zest
- 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Separate seeds and remove flesh from enough pawpaws to make 1 cup of fruit pulp. Put pulp in fridge to chill.
Remove outer skin from ripe passionfruit and place seeds in saucepan with 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup cane sugar. Cook on medium low heat (not boiling) for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, strain seeds, and place in fridge or ice bath until chilled. *Also note that if your pawpaw pulp is chunky, you can pour your finished passionfruit mixture into the pawpaw pulp and blend it with an emersion blender or food processor before chilling it in the fridge.
To make the makrut lime leaf simple syrup: dice three fresh leaves from a makrut lime tree (also called "kefir" limes, but that's a culturally offensive term). Place in saucepan with 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup cane sugar. Cook on medium low heat for about 15 minutes (not boiling), stirring occasionally, Remove from heat, strain leaves, and place in fridge or ice bath until chilled. If you don't have makrut lime leaves, use a heaping teaspoon of lemon zest to make a simple syrup with 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup cane sugar.
Juice one lemon, then chill in fridge.
Once all ingredients are chilled, stir together in mixing bowl (or stir them all together before chilling). Use food processor or emersion blender to get smooth, uniform consistency.
Add ingredients to Cuisinart sorbet/ice cream maker, and let the sorbet come together for 20-30 minutes, or until ideal sorbet consistency achieved. (Exact time may vary by volume made and type of sorbet maker used.) Serve immediately once the desired consistency has been reached, or store in freezer and serve whenever you're ready.
We hope you love this seasonal sorbet recipe made from native fruit as much as we do!
Related articles you’ll enjoy:
- Recipe: No-bake pawpaw cheesecake with toasted nut crust
- How to grow pawpaw trees
- How to eat and process fresh pawpaw fruit
- How to find, ID, grow, harvest, and eat native maypop passion fruit (Passiflora incarnata)
- Recipe: passion fruit-Meyer lemon sparkling cordial