Earthy Delights Recipe

Pawpaw Mousse

Pawpaw Mousse
Fresh pawpaws are only in season for a short time, roughly late August to mid September. Since many components of pawpaw flavor are highly volatile, the best pawpaw recipes involve little or no cooking. With pawpaw season in full swing, we finally had the perfect opportunity to make something we’ve been thinking about for a while – pawpaw mousse! The creamy texture and tropical fruit flavors of ripe pawpaws are just right in a light & airy mousse. If you’ve never made mousse before, it may seem like intimidating process, but nothing could be easier. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be making mousse like a pro in no time.

1 lb fresh ripe pawpaws (about two or three)
3 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsp powdered sugar, divided
Pinch cream of tartar (optional)



Step One: Start with Ripe Pawpaws


Ripe pawpaws are pretty ugly. Once off the tree, their smooth pale green skin begins to darken and soften like an overripe banana. That’s OK, though – it means that they’re at their peak of flavor.


Step Two: Slice, seed and scoop


Split the pawpaws roughly down the middle with a sharp knife to reveal the pale creamy flesh and dark seeds inside. Pick out the seeds (don’t eat them – they can be mildly poisonous, as can the skin) and discard. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon as you would an avocado. Be sure to scrape every morsel of delicious flesh from the inside of the skin!


Step Three: Puree the pawpaw pulp


Place the pawpaw pulp into a food processor blender and process for several minutes until very smooth and creamy. Remove the pureed pulp to a large mixing bowl and set aside.


In the top half of a double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar until light colored and creamy. Place over the barely simmering double boiler and continue to whisk until the mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Take care to keep the heat low and whisk continually so the egg/sugar mixture does not “scramble”. Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat and continue to whisk for another minute or two. Set aside to cool completely, then mix into the pureed pawpaw pulp.


Step Four: Whip the egg whites & cream


In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites, 1 Tbsp of the powdered sugar and cream of tartar (if using) with a hand mixer on medium speed. When the egg white mixture begins to thicken and become frothy, increase the speed to medium high and continue to beat the mixture until soft peaks form (see picture). Do not overbeat! Set aside.


Now, in another clean bowl, beat the cream and remaining Tbsp of powdered sugar using a hand mixer. As with the egg whites, beat the mixture on medium until it begins to thicken, then increase the speed to medium high and beat until it reaches the soft peak stage. Set aside.


Step Five: Fold it all together


Now for the fun part! This where things really start coming together. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the pawpaw/egg yolk mixture.


          About “folding”


Folding is a simple, but critically important process that every good cook should take the time to understand & master. Using a spatula, simply gently scoop from the bottom and lift over the top repeatedly until the two mixtures are thoroughly incorporated together. This is the most crucial step in achieving a light and delicately textured mousse. Mixing too vigorously will cause the air trapped in the beaten egg whites (or whipped cream) to escape and the resulting mousse will be heavy & dense.


Once the pawpaw and egg white mixtures are thoroughly blended, repeat the process with the whipped cream, remembering to fold very gently, but completely.


Is It Mousse Yet?


Carefully spoon the mixture into whatever cups or glasses you’d like to serve it in – or do what I did and create a makeshift pastry bag.


Take a 1 gallon plastic Ziploc bag, open it up and spread it over a bowl. Fill the bag with the mousse and close it tightly, then snip off one corner with a pair of scissors – voila! – a pastry bag. Put the tip of the bag near the bottom of your serving dish or glass and gently squeeze.


Once you’ve piped or spooned the mousse into your dishes, refrigerate for at least an hour.


Garnish with fresh mint (and extra whipped cream, if desired.