We have a huge granadilla bush in our small back courtyard. It loves its sunny spot and the old-fashioned septic tank it grows above. Each year our plant gives us a bounty of crinkly papery cases – that hold the sweetest, tartest fruit. I think they’re best eaten straight from the tree – if you don’t mind the pips. As kids we used to crunch our way through them, ending up with black flecked teeth all summer. Or we slurped ices at the beach – rushing off at the first call from the ice-cream man: “Grennnadillla lollieees, shaaap and sweeet, jus’ like mee.”
The Granadilla (aka Passion-Fruit courtesy of its Latin name rather than its properties), is native to the Andes mountains and found throughout Mexico and Central America. How it made its way to South Africa isn’t documented – but it must have been via the shipping routes from the Americas to China. camparigirl and I also discovered it growing wild on the island of San Pedro in the Galapagos. The plant was completely unspoiled by fertilizers or hormones and the fruit was huge and golden. It tasted like must have at the beginning of time, with a rich pungent aroma that filled our small and continually flooding room. We didn’t mind a bit.
The pile of ripe fruit was growing daily and I didn’t want to waste it. An article on Lemon Curd in an English cooking magazine sparked my imagination and I set sofanieces and -nephew the challenge of making something delicious with the fruit. They were around for their usual Friday sleepover and eagerly joined their uncle in putting together a Granadilla Curd plus a couple of bottles of Granadilla Cordial.
My brother made the recipe up as he went along – which resulted in the one you see below. It yielded a big batch – the glass bottle above – plus another half-sized one that we gave to our friends Gavin and Rudi.
Before you start you need to scoop the fruit from the skins. And then separate the juice from the pips by pressing it through a medium gauge sieve. It takes a while – but you want the curd to be smooth and silky and not bitty and crunchy. So put some music on and give into the rhythm. Alternately you can buy the fruit in cans – just check that it isn’t too tart.
- 6 large eggs (we like to use free range or organic, room temperature)
- 120g butter (unsalted)
- 1 cup of sugar (we used caster but regular is fine too)
- 1 generous cup of passion fruit pulp (well strained)
- Heat the juice, butter and sugar in a heavy based pot or a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water, until the sugar has dissolved and it reaches boiling point.
- Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly (3-4 minutes).
- Beat the eggs until fluffy then, whisking continuously, quickly add them to the hot juice. The speed and whisking is essential – you don’t want them to curdle.
- Place the combined liquid back onto the heat and whisk steadily again – until the mixture thickens.
- Allow it to cool in the pot – this will thicken it even more.
- Decant into a sterilised jar (boiled in hot water on the stove or in a microwave – lid as well) And store in the fridge.
The result was wonderfully mouth puckering and sweet – perfect for dolloping into crepes, mixing into icing, drizzling over ice-cream or just eating as it is from the jar. Should keep for about a month in the fridge – if it lasts that long.
(All Photos taken and styled by Hannah. Kitchen helpers were Riley and Jasper)