Granadilla/Sweet Calabash/Passiflora ligularis

Aaaah, granadillas! I always adored Granadillas and the exotic flowers too. Of all the tropical fruits I love, none remind me so forcibly of home as Granadilla. My mom used to make Granadilla Mousse all the time back when I was a kid. I’ve been looking all over for them (at Latin American and Asian markets) but haven’t ever seen them here but would like my Grandkids to have a taste of my childhood. Granadillas are delicious and fruity, the taste sooo good. But be very careful, because eating to many could cause a dangerous fruit explosion in your head. It is however, probably worth it because of the deliciousness. If you are really lucky (unlike me!) enough to find fresh Granadillas, you ought to eat them. They are so crazy delicious!

Passiflora ligularis, commonly known as the Sweet granadilla or Grenadia is a plant species in the Passiflora genus. The epithet ligularis comes from the plant’s ligulate corollae. It is native to the Andes Mountains between Bolivia, Venezuela and Colombia. It grows as far south as northern Argentina and as far north as Mexico. Outside of its native range it grows in the tropical mountains of Africa and Australia (where they are known as passionfruit), and is now common in local markets of Papua New Guinea, where it is known as ‘sugar fruit’. When ripe, their skins wrinkle and the pulp can be scooped out, with or without the seeds, and used to balance sweet flavors in desserts and bakes. They’re really low in calories (16 calories per fruit), and a good source of vitamins. When eaten with the seeds, they’re an excellent source of fiber and the powdered peel is said to relieve asthma.

It is highly recommended to people who like to keep fit because of its low caloric values; besides it is good for constipation due to the fact that the fruit is rich in fibers. This tropical fruit is said to be named not for the passionate propensity it promotes but because particular parts of the plant’s flowers resemble different symbols of Christ’s crucifixion, such as the crown of thorns. It lives at altitudes ranging from 1700 to 2600 meters above sea level. They have abundant, simple leaves and greenish-white flowers.

The fruit is orange to yellow colored with small light markings. It has a round shape with a tip ending in the stem. The fruit is between 6.5 and 8 cm long and between 5.1 and 7 cm in diameter. The outer shell is hard and slippery, and has soft padding on the interior to protect the seeds. The seeds, which are hard and black, are surrounded by a gelatinous sphere of transparent pulp. The pulp is the edible part of the fruit and has a soft sweet taste. It is very aromatic and contains vitamins A, C, and K, phosphorus, iron, and calcium.The main producers are Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa, and Kenya. The main importers are the United States, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, and Spain.

Sweet Calabash Fruit Mousse


2 envelopes unsweetened gelatin
¼ cup water
1 ½ cups Sweet calabash concentrate or frozen pulp, unsweetened
1 tbs lime juice
1 + 2/3 cups heavy whipping cream (or 14 oz can of condensed milk)
6 egg whites
½ tsp tartar cream
2 cups sugar
2-3 Sweet calabash fruits, pulp and seeds – optional
Garnishes – Fresh Sweet Calabash pulp from – 6 Sweet calabash fruits, whipped cream.

Combine the calabash fruit juice, sugar (use only 1 cup of sugar if using condensed milk instead of cream or 1 ½ cup if using half condensed milk and half cream), and lime juice in a sauce pan and heat until the sugar dissolves, remove and let it cool down completely. Sprinkle the unsweetened gelatin over ¼ cup water in glass heatproof bowl, let soften for about 5 minutes. Place the heatproof bowl over a simmering pot of water and stir until it dissolves, then stir in the passion fruit juice. Place the passion fruit and gelatin mixture in a bowl of cold water and let it cool down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Use an electric mixer to whip the cream until peaks form, and then use a spoon to mix in the passion fruit juice mixture (if using condensed milk just mix it with the passion fruit juice or if using half condensed milk and half cream then whip the cream and then stir in the Sweet calabash fruit juice and condensed milk). Combine the egg whites and tartar cream in a large whipping bowl and mix until stiff peaks form. Whisk 1/3 of the egg whites with the  calabash fruit and whipped cream mix. Next use a spatula to gently fold in the remaining stiff egg whites. Gently mix in the fresh passion fruit pulp and seeds if using. Place the mousse in large or small individual molds, cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours, overnight is ideal. Serve with whipped cream and a spoon of fresh calabash fruit pulp on top.

Almond Cupcakes with Sweet calabash Fruit Icing

Makes 18-20 small cupcakes

Passion fruit puree
120g Sweet calabash fruit pulp and seeds (from approx. 3 fruits)
2 tbsp castor sugar
6 tbsp water

60g butter, melted
80g castor sugar
3 large eggs
130g Sweet calabash fruit puree
50g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
120g ground almond

Passion fruit icing
100-125g icing sugar, sifted
60g Sweet calabash fruit pulp and seeds

To prepare Sweet calabash fruit puree
Combine Sweet calabash fruit pulp, seeds, sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat up till all sugar is melted. Let the mixture cool down a little before puree in a food processor. Sieve puree through a fine sieve to get rid of the seeds. Weigh the puree again. You should have about 130g. Add water to top up if necessary.

To prepare cupcakes

Preheat oven at 175 degC. Line cupcake moulds with liners. Sift cake flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add in ground almond and use a hand whisk to mix well. Ground almond can be lumpy sometimes so make sure you mix well to break the lumps.
Using paddle attachment of mixer, beat sugar and eggs at high speed till light and pale. Add in passion fruit puree and melted butter.

Fill liners to 80% (for 3.25 oz souffle cups and larger ) – 90% full (for small cupcakes). Note these cupcakes doesn’t rise much. Bake cupcakes for 22 mins (small)-25 mins(large). Let cupcakes stand in mould for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack. This recipe is actually pretty nice when consumed warm. Otherwise, let cool completely before icing.
Optional To dress up cupcakes, let Sweet calabash fruit icing (recipe below) stand for 10-15 minutes to thicken a little. Pour one tsp of passion fruit icing on cupcakes.

To prepare Sweet Calabash fruit icing
Combine Sweet calabash fruit pulp, seeds and sifted icing sugar in a bowl. Stir using a hand whisk over a pot of simmering water till icing is of pouring consistency. Do not overheat icing as you will melt too much of icing sugar which results in a non-crusting icing when poured on cupcakes later.

About zoom50

“It’s amazing how people can get so excited about a rocket to the moon and not give a damn about smog, oil leaks, the devastation of the environment with pesticides, hunger, disease”
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One Response to Granadilla/Sweet Calabash/Passiflora ligularis

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