I am happy to say that this spring has rekindled my optimism. The grass out front has never been greener, and even the dead patches seem easier to live with. For me, the best part is the fruit. My winter daydreams of pavlova piled high with glistening, oh-so-supple strawberries can finally come true! The farmer’s market stands are groaning under the weight of waxy blueberries, and who could forget the toddlers in Easter colors, smiling with blackberry-smeared teeth? But I confess that, no matter how much I love to stuff myself with fresh fruit, turning them into a dessert requires a little more…pizzazz. Shouldn’t spring entail a little more than Grandma’s blueberry muffins?
Your answer, I hope, is “yes.” At least that’s what I said, and that brings me to the heart of the matter: passion fruit. I cannot think of a better way to start a blog called Flavor Runs Free.* With just a few swift nicks, the fruit splits to show fragrant, yellow pulp neatly packed inside. Whipped into a foamy, warm sabayon, the juice becomes a heavenly sauce to spoon over absolutely EVERYTHING (okay, not everything, but once you try it you’ll excuse my enthusiasm). I find it to be most appealing when drizzled over cream-stuffed profiteroles. For the traditionalists out there, I can also attest that it goes extremely well with strawberries.
*Avid readers and high school students may recognize my title from a risqué depiction of slaves feasting on corn in Toni Morrison’s Beloved: “As soon as one strip of husk was down, the rest obeyed and the ear yielded up to him its shy rows, exposed at last. How loose the silk. How quick the jailed-up flavor ran free.”
Some of you might be asking yourself, “Wait, did she just make corn sound sexy?”
Yes. Yes, she did. –That’s Morrison for you.
Passion Fruit Profiteroles
I used eggs from my chickens, so the sauce might be paler if you use store-bought eggs. Also, try to find the freshest berries to serve with it- I got hold of strawberries that were so juicy and flavorful that a friend asked what they were soaked in!
Adapted from Stephanie Jaworski’s profiteroles, and David Lebovitz’s white wine Sabayon.
Makes about 12 profiteroles using a convection oven.
1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) (57 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (optional)
Passion Fruit Sabayon:
5-6 passion fruit
40 grams sugar
4 large egg yolks
Heavy cream and 1 tsp vanilla extract, whipped into medium-stiff peaks.
(If you like, you can substitute mascarpone for 1/3 of the cream before whipping)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, which I use because it doesn’t curl in the oven or flap around when using a convection fan.
In a bowl sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, beat two eggs lightly.
Place the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, quickly add the flour mixture. Return to heat and stir constantly until the dough forms a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the pan (about a minute or two). Transfer the dough to your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat on low speed for a minute or two to release the steam from the dough. Once the dough is lukewarm, toss in the orange zest if desired and start adding the lightly beaten eggs. Continue to mix until you have a smooth, thick, and sticky paste. Spoon or pipe 12 mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing them a couple of inches apart. Beat together the remaining egg for the glaze. With a pastry brush, gently brush the glaze on the tops of the dough.
Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Bake for a further 20 to 30 minutes, or until the shells are a nice amber color and when split, are dry inside. Turn the oven off and, with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shells dry out for a further 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. (The puffs can be frozen for more than 3 weeks in a tupperware. Defrost the puffs and then reheat in a 300 degree F (177 degree C) oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until crisp.)
Passion Fruit Sabayon:
Scoop out the pulp of the passion fruit and press through a fine sieve to extract as much juice as possible. Discard solids. Pour the juice into a measuring cup and top up with Grand Marnier to make 110 ml. (I used about four tablespoons of liqueur, but it all depends on the size of the fruit.)
In a large, heatproof bowl, whisk together the juice mixture and sugar. Then whisk in the egg yolks.
Set in bowl over a pan of gently boiling water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and whisk vigorously until the mixture becomes frothy and stiff. You can slow down the speed, but if you need to stop whisking it, remove the bowl from the pan for as brief a time as possible.
The sabayon is ready when the mixture is thick and holds its shape when you lift the whisk and let some of the mixture drop back into the bowl.