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We make all our own fruit purees for use in our chocolates and pate de fruit. Fresh fruits are abundant and cheap in Ecuador, and it’s only a short walk over to the local market where the fruits and vegetables overflow in abundance. One of my favorite fruits here is Passion Fruit-instead of paying something upwards of $50 per kilo for a frozen puree, I can go over and buy the fresh fruit, process it myself, and for under $10 have at least 2 to 3 kilos of fresh puree.

It starts with a brief jaunt over to the market. The fruit usually comes in bags of 5 or 6 Passion Fruits already bagged up. I’ll ask for half a dozen bags, which is about as much as I can carry, and head back to the workshop. Passion Fruits begin to get wrinkly when really ripe, and it has more natural sweetness at that point. They’re usually pretty firm when you buy them fresh, so a day or two in the kitchen ripening helps develop the best flavor for the puree.

Once a Passion Fruit is ripe, you cut it in half and scoop out the insides with a spoon. They are full of black seeds and the fruit itself is basically a liquid with some mucilage surrounding the beans. It’s not very sweet and not something you’d eat fresh right out of the pod. Most of the time it’s used for juices or mousse, juice being the most frequent use.

We gather up the juice and seeds in a bucket, then hit it with a large immersion blender for a minute or two. It’s better not to grind it up too long or the seeds get broken into tiny black specks that are hard to remove even with the finest strainer. At this point, the kitchen is redolent with a fruity, tangy smell that is unmistakably delicious. Once it’s been ground up, we strain it through a small tamis to remove all the seeds and are left with a bright orange liquid.

Immediately we freeze the unadulterated pulp, and then pull out what’s needed on a per recipe basis. Some of our items with Passion Fruit are the Pate de Fruits, Passion Fruit Caramels in Milk Chocolate, and Dark Chocolate Passion Fruit Ganache Pralines. But the only way you can learn about how those taste are to stop by the shop! So please, come by when you can. And if you’re lucky, we’ll be making the puree fresh that day-and you too can be transported with the heady smell of fresh Passion Fruit!

Welcome to Destination Ecuador!

Welcome to Destination Ecuador! My family and I have been living in Ecuador for the last four and a half years. We’ve dealt with the worst kinds of red-tape, searched out or ended up making hard-to-find ingredients ourselves, imported equipment for making chocolate confections, learned the import-export business...Continue >>


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