Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is a homely, lumpy-looking fruit with a fabulous taste and texture that seem absolutely tropical. But although they taste tropical, pawpaws are actually native to North America.
If you’re eager to taste pawpaw but missed the foraging season for it, you can order some from Integration Acres.
Some years the wild pawpaw crop is bountiful, other years it is scant. Alas, it was the latter in my usual pawpaw stomping grounds.
But apparently it was bountiful elsewhere, because I scored a couple of fruits at an NYC event this week. The event was part of the Lopate & Locavore series, and I got to meet up with foraging buddies Ellen and Janice there (thank you, Janice, for the tix!).
As part of the event, forager Tama Matsuoka Wong was selling and signing copies of her new book, Foraged Flavor. And if you got a copy of this very interesting book, you also got to take home some fresh pawpaws. Score!
Pawpaws seeds are big, but there aren’t too many of them and they are easy to remove. After scooping the pulp out of the skins with a spoon and removing the seeds, I nibbled some of the delicious pulp fresh. But I turned most of it into a custard that will be breakfast for the next several days.
(Okay, only for two days because I already ate one of the ramekins of custard for a snack today. Hey, I had to make sure it was good before I posted the recipe, right?)
Here’s the recipe:
1 cup pawpaw pulp (skins and seeds removed)
1 cup milk or half and half (I used milk because that’s what I had, but half and half would be really, really good)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Puree all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor (I used an immersion blender because of the easier clean up).
Pour the mixture into 1 cup ramekins leaving 1/2 inch between the top of the food and the rim of the ramekin (the custard will puff up as it cooks).
Place the ramekins on a baking dish. Pour enough water into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40-60 minutes until the custard has set in the center but is still a little jiggly.
Let cool completely before covering with plastic wrap and transferring to the refrigerator. To serve, drizzle a little extra honey on top, or…
I had a little extra pawpaw pulp leftover, so I put a couple of spoonfuls of that on top of the pawpaw custard. Yum.
Next foraging tour and feast this Sunday!
Leda’s Food Preservation info