A simple pudding you can make with paw paw fruit. It tastes a bit like mango crossed with banana. If you can make a basic stovetop pudding, you can make this.
It's a special treat ever year to see a box of paw paws show up. Last year I remember there were at least 10 different species; some with orange flesh, some with white, some with yellow. The flavors all differ a little too depending on their type, they could be extra sweet, a little tannic, and various combinations in between.
Since the flesh of the paw paw surrounds a bunch of large black seeds, they should be pureed after processing. I take the flesh and buzz it in a food processor. If you are really on a mission you could pass it through a tamis sieve, but for home cooking it's not really necessary. After the flesh is pureed, you can do whatever you like with it, it also freezes like a dream. What can you do with paw paw puree you ask? Plenty.
Since their flavor is comparable to a banana crossed with mango (albeit slightly less sweet) they can easily be substituted in recipes that call for similar fruit. Paw paw bread, made like banana bread would be fun now that I think of it. I think my go-to is mixing paw paw with creamy, rich things.
A while ago I posted a recipe for paw-paw cheesecake, which is a favorite. The paw paw pudding recipe I developed gives the cheesecake a serious run for it's money though.
When working with paw paws, keep in mind they have a delicate flavor, simple preparations are the best for them. I would also avoid excess spices except maybe a bit of ginger or honey if it's a tannic variety. A bit of lemon too will give them a lift and help their flavor to shine. Caramel is a great partner too, but I would avoid chocolate with paw paw desserts.
Essentially this is just a pastry cream (fancy name for pudding) flavored with paw paw puree, a simple recipe that you could elaborate upon, or just eat topped with whipped cream as I have presented it here. The beauty of it's simplicity is that once you've mastered the simple pastry cream, you can use it in other more elaborate dishes. It could be piped into profiteroles, inside of an eclair or doughnut, or you could use it in any recipe that calls for a vanilla pudding as a filling or garnish.
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 cup paw paw pulp
- 1 egg and 3 egg yolks
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Dash of fresh lemon juice to taste
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar plus more to garnish
- Fresh mint leaves to garnish optional
- 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Tiny pinch kosher salt, about ⅛ tsp
- Mix the eggs, yolks, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla well, then add to the half in half in a saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until you can feel the mixture thicken noticeably. Take it off the heat and whisk to break up lumps, adding the butter at the same time. The mixture should get very thick, if it clumps a bit, pass it through a strainer or beat with a whisk. Off the heat, mix in the paw paw puree, then transfer to a bowl to cool, placing plastic wrap on the surface to prevent it from forming a skin. Refrigerate the pudding until needed.
Finishing and Serving
- To serve the pudding, whip the cream and tablespoon of powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Spoon the pudding into four 1 cup ramekins, leaving ½ inch of headspace on top for the whip cream. Cover the pudding with the whip cream and smooth the top with a pastry spatula. Sift on some powdered sugar, garnish each with a mint leaf if using, and serve.
Sir, forgive me, I'm somewhat of a beginner. In your recipe for pawpaw pudding, you list butter in the ingredients. However, the recipe doesn't say where to use it. I'm assuming you melt it in the milk?
May I say, thank you so much for taking the time to make such a wonderful website! I'm so excited to find so many unusual and (to me) exciting recipes!
No apologies necessary Donna, thanks for catching that. This recipe was actually just printed in coast to coast magazine this fall, with the typo included. Alas, I'm human, and don't have a team of copy editors to help me out here. The butter is whisked in at the end of cooking before straining to smooth out the texture. The butter helps to thicken the pudding as it cools, just like a typical pastry cream. This stuff is also very good piped inside of eclairs.
Help! I tried the paw paw pudding last night for the first time and I'm left with just a sweet liquid - no pudding-like consistency. I cook on an electric stove top. As I was wisking the milk/egg mixture, it never really thickened. I thought that might happen in the refrigerator. The fruit dissolved and as I say, its just a sweet liquid. I had melted the butter - it was not hot when I added it to the pan. Is there anything I can do to salvage this?
It’s likely undercooked. Was the egg whipped to volume (at least doubled in size?) You could warm it back up and add a little gelatin, or just freeze it, stirring occasionally as it freezes until it sets and eat like IC. Let me know what you figure out, it hasn’t happened to anyone else, but I have a little paw paw and I need to retest for my book anyway in the next few weeks.
Thanks for your reply. Yes, the egg was whipped to volume. How hot should I heat it? I assume that will diminish the paw paw flavor, too.
Deborah K Thompson
Could it be that you didn't know to "The butter is whisked in at the end of cooking before straining to smooth out the texture. The butter helps to thicken the pudding as it cools, just like a typical pastry cream."?
Ummm- am i missing something? How much paw paw pulp? The quantity isn't listed.
Thanks, somehow the quantity got clipped when I updated this page to use the recipe widget. I put it back in from an older autosave. 1 cup.
Could tapioca be instead of flour or cornstarch? If so about how much would you use?
Sorry I can't speak to cooking with tapioca.
I printed out the recipe some time ago, and have made this pudding before. While the flavor was excellent, I had great trouble getting it to set up. I tried again today (and we'll see what it's like when it comes out of the refrigerator). Today I came back to your website to see if there were any helpful comments and discovered (too late to do anything about it) that the recipe has been substantially changed. The most important change was the substitution of cornstarch for flour as the thickener, which I guess means you decided that cornstarch was a more effective thickener. Can you please comment on the thickening issue? Thanks.
Connie, yes, I may change things here and there. I am constantly trying to improve things. If I changed something, there was a reason.