Sunday, July 10, 2011

Passion Fruit Ice Cream

Passion fruit ice cream with lychees
I traveled the world as a child thanks to my father's overseas job and his love of exploring the world. During our travels, my dad would try all sorts of foods, including fruit. He and I both loved passion fruit. Several years ago he planted some passion fruit vines at his home in Salem, Oregon. Not exactly tropical weather that they usually grow in.

Passion fruit flower and some unripe fruit
The flowers of the vine are really beautiful with pretty purple and white tendril-like petals. My father also grew some inside his house, where he has atriums, in the hopes that he would get some fruit. But he never did.

A few years ago he went to visit his sister's family in Australia. He had emigrated to Canada from England and his sister's family chose Australia. Back in the late 50's/early 60's, both Canada and Australia were looking for people to immigrate from the motherland. Australia would actually pay for your move, thus my uncle's choice. Dad had chosen to go to Canada because he knew people there already to help him find a job. Canada wanted new blood, but didn't offer to pay for the moves.



My aunt and uncle settled in Rosebud, a beach community like our Santa Cruz. It's about 50 miles outside of Melbourne. My uncle prospered as a mason, building many homes for himself and others. They mostly build with brick in Oz.

When dad went to visit he ate some fresh passion fruit and kept the seeds. He figured that if he wants to grow them, best to get seeds from fruit versus seeds from a packet. He got some vines started and then brought me a cutting to plant in my back yard. Dad thought that my California weather might mean better success with getting fruit.

That was about four years ago. The vine has taken to my back fence just fine, but the last four years it never even flowered. I had pretty much given up all hope. Then a few days before Fathers Day, I found a fruit. At first I was confused because the vines actually climb and tangle a bit with my lemon tree. I thought it might be a disfigured lemon. But I soon realized it was attached to the vine. I had a passion fruit!  Then I found a couple more! I had never seen a flower on the vine until I called dad for Fathers Day to tell him the news.

Since then I have not seen any more flowers. So I think the three fruits are the only ones I'm getting this year. One year at a time. But we are also almost a month later and the fruits are still green. Ripen already!


I am obsessed, though, with passion fruit flavoring. I finally made it out to the larger Whole Foods in Roseville. The Arden one doesn't carry as much and I had found out online that the Roseville one carried Purfect Puree of Napa Valley. The passion fruit puree is not cheap - about $11. I'll be using it for some fun recipes in the months to come.

For this ice cream I used the Silk PureCoconut because I only had skim milk in the frig and I wanted a bit more richness. And coconut and passion fruit make perfect sense. For even richer ice cream, use canned coconut milk.

Passion Fruit Ice Cream

3 egg yolks (beaten),
1/2 pint coconut milk,
1 pint double/heavy cream,
4 oz sugar,
3/4 cup passion fruit puree
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan, mix the egg yolks with the coconut milk, salt and the sugar. Place over a medium heat to 175 degrees. DO NOT LET IT BOIL.
Transfer the mixture into a chilled bowl to cool. When cool place in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours, remembering to stir the mixture from time to time.
When cool, stir into the mixture the cream and passion fruit puree.
Transfer the complete mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
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