Passionfruit and Apple Witches' Froth
Nature is a curious thing. Consider the passionfruit, for instance. The mystically beautiful flowers of the passionfruit vine transform into an odd-looking fruit with a firm shell and leathery skin. And yet, inside the pith and lining is a mouthful of sweet and fragrant pulp, tangy juice and mass of crunchy, edible seeds.
In i for icarus, Canberra poet, Danielle Stewart gives a delicious description of passionfruit: 'Small bombs, skin bruised like love, bite-sized breasts made to opened like embalmed hearts... sour like false kisses, wrinkled like old love, but ripe... like desire's words'. Yes!
I adore the flavour of passionfruit, so always have a few on my fruit platter and also keep a tray or two of frozen passionfruit pulp in the freezer. I love to combine passionfruit with other fruits, such as my Basil, Lemon and Passionfruit Ice Cream (the flavour of which was quite sublime); and the heavenly Peach and Passionfruit Jam (which my dear friends, The Dog and MB swear is the best jam they've ever tasted, and I must say I agree!). In upcoming snippets, I will publish more of my favourite passionfruit recipes and do hope you will enjoy them.
With Australian passionfruit in plentiful supply and Aussie apples at their beautiful best, I would like to share with you this recipe for Witches' Froth, a dish that my mother sometimes made when I was little (with apple). I was always so fascinated by its whimsical name. In Europe, Witches' Froth is known as Hexencreme or Boszorkányhab (in Hungarian) and is sometimes baked with breadcrumbs and hazelnuts or almonds. In this version adapted from The Ultimate Fat Free Dessert Cookbook, we use raw egg whites, so please bear in mind food safety.
What's your favourite passionfruit dish? Do you grow them, like Tahna, who has shared her photos with us? If you do, I am already feeling slightly envious... in a good way.
PASSIONFRUIT AND APPLE WITCHES' FROTH
2 large or 3 medium cooking apples
100mls unsweetened apple juice
the pulp and juice of 3 passionfruit
3 egg whites*
1 small red Delicious apple, for garnish
a sprinkle of lemon juice
Peel and core the apples and then cut them into pieces. Place the apple pieces into a saucepan with the apple juice and bring to the boil. Pop a lid on the saucepan, lower the heat and cook gently until the apple is tender. Mash or puree the apple until it is smooth and add the passionfruit pulp and juice. Set aside.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the apple and passionfruit mixture to the egg white and fold in the mixture gently using a soft spatula. Spoon the froth into serving dishes, and chill thoroughly before serving.
To garnish, cut very thin slices from a small red Delicious apple and sprinkle with lemon juice to keep the apple from browning. Arrange the apple slices on top of the Witches' Froth and serve on the day of making.
* As with all dishes that use raw eggs (tiramisu, mousse etc), ensure your eggs are fresh, the shells are not cracked, broken or dirty and the eggs have been refrigerated (at 5 degrees C or below) and handled correctly. It is advisable not to serve foods made with raw eggs to pregnant ladies, young children, elderly people and anyone with an illness.
Just a few facts about the passionfruit industry in Australia: there are several varieties grown in Australia, the most popular are Purples and Panamas. Passionfruit grows in Australia all year, so is regularly available at greengrocers and markets. Australia produces approximately 3,000 tonnes of passionfruit annually, with the majority of the fruit grown in Queensland.
The best way to eat a passionfruit is to eat the pulp straight from the shell. However, passionfruit pulp adds delicious tang to fruit salad, ice cream and sorbet; and makes an excellent topping for Australian icons such as pavlova and sponge cake. And the juice is particularly good for marinating meats.
When buying passionfruit, choose fruit that is heavy for its size with a smooth deep purple, yellow or red skin (depending on the variety). Avoid fruit that is excessively wrinkled, blemished or dry-looking. Store passionfruit in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For year-round supplies, snap freeze the pulp in ice-cube trays and store cubes in plastic bags. Cubes of frozen passionfruit pulp make a yummy addition to fruit punch or juice. Contrary to the old wive's tale, a ripe passionfruit doesn't have to be wrinkled!
Thank you to IMPACT Communications for working with me on the promotion of passionfruit.
And now for the step by step instructions to the recipe.
Thank you to Tahna Jackson for the lovely images of passionfruit flowers and the vines growing in her garden. Twitter colleague and fellow food enthusiast, Tahna lives in Longreach in Queensland... home of the stockman's hall of fame and the Qantas Museum. Tahna grows passionfruit vines over her poultry house. These vines were only planted six months ago to provide shade for the new 'chook house' for all Tahna's breeds of poultry. Her Husband looks forward to the first crop of fruit as he loves passionfruit in rice cream. Tahna also uses them passionfruit on her infamous pavlovas (contact Tahna via Twitter: @LongreachQTahn). And, incidentally, there's more information about passionfruit at the RIRDC web site.
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