Passion Fruit or Passiflora edulis is native to South America but is commercially grown in South Africa, California, Florida and Kenya, among other places. The fruits are round to oval and dark purple or yellow when mature. The interior is filled with many seeds coated in an intensely scented juice.

There are two types of passion fruit: the bright yellow variety, known as Golden Passionfruit or Maracuya, is larger and has a pithy skin and the smaller, dark purple passion fruit, which is more commonly available. They should feel heavy for their size and, if used immediately, should be wrinkled and not smooth. If they are smooth, ripen them at room temperature for a few days and store any ripe ones in the refrigerator.

Use passion fruit in cakes, muffins, cookies, shortbreads, cheesecakes, tarts and as fillings in meringues and cakes. The pulp can be sieved to produce juice which can be made into passion fruit curd as a filling for cakes or used in tarts similar to Tarte au Citron. The diluted juice can be made into syrup to pour over a sponge cake. The seeds can be left in for added texture or removed.

In season: November - March

By Fiona Burrell, co-author of Leiths Baking Bible from the world-famous Leiths School of Food and Wine