Blossoms of the Passiflora edulis are beautiful and compelling in appearance and so is the flavor of the fruit.
The common name, passion flower, was applied by Jesuit missionaries in South America because they found symbolic connotations in the thorny vines, the distinctive cruciform on the blossoms, and characteristics of the fruit that helped simplify telling the story of the passion and death of Jesus Christ.
There is said to be no connection between worldly passions and the sultry, sensuous properties and flavor of the fruit.
A ripe passion fruit looks like a fairly small wrinkled brown ball with a purple tinge. Cut into the thin rind and you will be reminded of the interior of a pomegranate with small dark seeds and their pulpy connectors. The fruit flavor is fascinatingly complex. There is a first impression of citrus, mingled with suggestions of strawberry and pineapple.
If the skin is smooth, the passion fruit is not ripe. Allow fruit to ripen on the counter until it is dark and wrinkled.
To open a passion fruit, slice off the top and scoop out the contents. If this is an unfamiliar fruit, add a few dollops of honey or your favorite orange liquor. Savor and understand the complex and unusual flavor and you will think of dozens of ways to enjoy this elixir.
To make passion fruit puree or essence, pass the fruit through a fairly fine sieve.
For passion fruit juice, place seeds and pulp in a cheesecloth; turn and squeeze until all the juice is extracted. You might be shocked at the small quantity of juice produced (possibly less than one tablespoon per piece of fruit), but the juice is thick and strong, and when carefully used, a little bit will go a long way to flavor desserts or a deliciously complex seviche. The spent seeds will contribute additional interest and flavor.
Use passion fruit juice and a generous sprinkle of seeds for almost unbelievably delicious and very adult snow cones that might finish your nicest dinner party. Use this link for more about snow cones.
Combine passion fruit pulp with the seeds and bite-sized cubes of a fresh and perfectly ripe pineapple. Taste before adding sugar or honey, you might not need additional sweetener. In Mexico, lime juice and chilies would be used as flavor accents.
Whether you fine passion fruit in the market or wild passion fruit, or maypops, in the woods; make an acquaintance with this beautifully complicated taste adventure.