At this point in quarantine, there’s not a lot to brighten your mood, but on a trip to the farmers market this past weekend, I was thrilled to find at least one thing to do just that: passion fruit. Usually at its peak in the autumn, passion fruit have arrived in the markets early this year and are such a welcome sight amid all the stone fruit and melons, which are hitting their summer novelty peak.
To celebrate, I made the only thing with passion fruit that sounded worthy of their enchanting flavor: sorbet. I mix their seedy, sunny pulp with syrup and orange and lime juices, then pack the churned slush into the passion fruit’s spent shells. The whimsy of the cute little cup offers a respite from all that overwhelms us.
Buy a few extra passion fruit, because some can be filled with less pulp than others even though they are the same size. The orange and lime juices help round out passion fruit’s distinctive tang. If you want to make this but don’t have access to fresh passion fruit, substitute ¾ cup frozen passion fruit puree for the fresh pulp and pack the sorbet in a plastic container as you would any ice cream. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, see the granita variation that follows.
Passion Fruit Sorbet
Time: 15 minutes, plus 4½ hours freezing time
6 large, wrinkled passion fruit
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup filtered water
Juice of 1 large orange
Juice of 2 limes
1. Halve the passion fruit across their equators and, working over a bowl, use a small spoon to scrape out all their pulp; reserve the empty shells on a plate. Measure out ¾ cup of the pulp in a liquid measuring cup; keep any remaining pulp for another use, such as in lemonade or as a topping for yogurt and granola.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the passion fruit pulp, orange juice and lime juice. Let the syrup cool to room temperature in the pan, about 30 minutes.
3. Using an immersion or stand blender, pulse the passion fruit syrup a few times to break up the seeds and then pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. If you want some seeds in the sorbet for aesthetics and crunch, add 1 teaspoon of the broken seeds from the strainer back to the syrup; otherwise, discard all the seeds. Pour the syrup into a resealable container and chill at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
4. Stir the syrup and then pour it into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon the sorbet into the reserved passion fruit shells and smooth the tops flat or mound up slightly; store any remaining sorbet in a resealable container in the freezer.
5. Place the filled hulls on the plate in the freezer and chill until firm, at least 2 hours. Enjoy straight from the freezer with a spoon.
Passion Fruit Granita
In Step 4, pour the mixture into a shallow glass dish and freeze for 4 hours, scraping the mixture every 30 minutes with the tines of a fork, until it forms fluffy crystals like shaved ice. Spoon the granita into the reserved passion fruit shells and freeze until ready to serve.
Make ahead: You can make the passion fruit syrup base up to 1 week before you plan to churn the sorbet. The churned sorbet will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
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