Joined: Feb 18, 2007
From: A Little North Of Boston
|Posted: 2007-02-19 3:38 pm  Permalink|
I just finished making 2 batches of Passion Fruit Syrup using a couple brands of "Passion Fruit Nectar." I must state that I have *never* had passion fruit syrup of any kind, but I knew I wanted some for Tiki drinks. I proceeded with the thought that if it tastes good then it is good. So don't consider me an expert on passion fruit syrup.
The first I tried was Looza Passion Fruit Nectar, which comes in a tall, 1-liter bottle. This is a product of Belgium, and the ingredients are: water, concentrated passion fruit juice and sugar. It's 25% juice. I got it at a local specialty food store for $2.98. You can see a bottle here.
I actually purchased this several weeks ago, and by last night it had settled. That is, the bottom 1/3 was a sediment of sorts, while that top 2/3 looked kinda like a slightly dark but clear juice. I figured that the bottom "sediment" was all the passion fruit juice while the top was the added sugar water, so I carefully siphoned off the top half leaving the sediment portion.
Then I shook the sediment side, and tasted the two. I made the right choice - the top juice was quite artificial-tasting, while the sediment portion over-flowed with taste and tasted much less artificial. I really should have siphoned off ALL of the juice portion, leaving just the potent sediment. Oh well, live and learn. I did throw out the "juice" half, though it might have made for a fruity sugar syrup. Yeah, I should have saved it.
I heated this slightly in a pan, and added 2 cups of Domino table sugar. I then raised the flame to simmer it to reduce it. I made a big mistake in this process - I let the flame go for a moment, and came back to find it boiling. The most it could have gone was a minute but it seemed to be enough to caramelize the sugar a bit. But I simmered it for a while and reduced it, and it yielded 16 oz. I then added 2 oz of Flor De Cana Extra Dry 4-year-old rum as a preservative - that's what I had handy and it's going into rum drinks anyway.
The end result was very very good - given that I've never had passion fruit syrup before. It barely tasted artificial, thanks in part to it's original juice and the use of table sugar. It is very sweet, at about 1:1 sugar-to-juice. I can imagine that making it from actual passion fruits would be better, but I'm very happy with the end result.
Lessons learned: siphon off all the juice portion leaving just the sediment. If I'd done this I never would have needed to reduce it, and I think I would have removed almost all of the artificial taste of this juice. Also, I should have used an organic cane sugar, which probably also would have reduced the artificial taste. I definitely should have reduced the juice before adding the sugar. Lastly, I probably should have used Cruzan light rum as a preservative, since that would have been a better match than the Flor De Cana Extra Dry.
Next up I tried Ceres Passion Fruit, a product of South Africa which comes in a 1-liter waxed carton. This contains 100% Fruit Juice, and the ingredients are: passion fruit juice, apple and/or pear juice. I got mine at my local Shaw's Supermarket for $3.29 I think. I did see this in one of the local organic/natural food stores - but I can't remember if it was Trader Joe's or Whole Foods Markets. You can see a picture of it here.
I shook and tasted this before continuing, comparing it to the Looza. While it was much less artificial-tasting there was something else going on. It was a touch tart, and I could distinctly taste the other juices in this. It was not as "passiony" as the Looza sediment portion, but this was not a surprise after siphoning the Looza. All in all it's a bit of a trade-off with these two - the Looza had a stronger passion fruit taste, but was somewhat artificial, while the Ceres tasted more natural but the other juices made it a little odd.
I washed and rinsed the Looza bottle and poured the Ceres into it, hoping that it would settle like the Looza. 24 hours later it did not look like it was going to settle any time soon, though a week might have done it. I didn't want to wait since I wanted a good comparison, so I proceeded making the Ceres-based passion fruit syrup.
The entire liter went into a pot, and I simmmered until it was reduced by one-half. I occasionally emptied the pot into a Pyrex measuring cup, and finally lost patience at 17 oz. I then added 2 cups of Domino Organic Sugar, labeled as Cane Sugar. I mixed that in until it was completely dissolved. It yielded 23 oz, and I added 2 oz of the Flor De Cana as a preservative.
Cooled on a spoon I tasted it, and those other juices were still noticable. It was also very very good, but just a touch odd because of those other juices.
In the end, the mix made with the Looza was *slightly* better. Either was definitely acceptable. But a mix of the Looza without my mistakes would be a clear winner. Though if I had only Ceres available I would transfer it to a glass bottle and wait to see if it would settle and leave the passion fruit distinct from the other juices. If the Ceres settled like the Looza then I thnk it would be too close to call.
So, here's my recipe for making Passion Fruit Syrup:
1 Liter Looza Passion Fruit Nectar
1.5 cups organic cane sugar
Let the Looza settle for a while, until the sediment is quite distinct from the clear juice. Siphon off as much of the clear juice as possible. Heat the passion fruit "sediment" portion very slightly, and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool, and add 2 oz of vodka or light rum as a preservative. Total cost is about $5 for 16 oz.
[ This Message was edited by: Scottes 2007-02-19 15:42 ]