Pawpaws- the soft, sweet, caramelly, custard-like, tropical fruit found across the decidedly non-tropical tasting fruit. The caramel hints inspired me to use the pawpaw, along with coconut milk, to give a common caramel sauce a tropical touch. It can be drizzled over vegan ice cream, pie or desserts, flavor lattes, smoothies or hot chocolate or substitute maple syrup on pancakes or waffles.
Unfortunately, the pawpaw has a pretty short shelf-life. turning from a dull lime green to a mushy, purplish-black in a manner of days. In order to preserve them, I use two techniques- the first is to remove the seeds and skins, puree, and then freeze. The second is to use them- ASAP (try these Vegan Pawpaw Blueberry Muffins!). This caramel sauce was another attempt of mine to make the autumn pawpaw last all year round- the sugar-incased pawpaw sauce that should stay good in the fridge for months to come.
The process is fairly simple- first puree your pawpaw into a smooth, viscous state. Caramelize the sugar by mixing it with water, and allowing it to boil, letting it bubble until the color has darkened. Don’t mix it- this will cause the sugar to crystalize by incorporating air. Instead, occasionally gently swish the liquid in the pot to let the sugar caramelize evenly, without allowing air in. Mix in the pawpaw, and heat again. Lastly, turn off the heat and add coconut cream to the mix. This will take the sweet syrup to a level creaminess that the sugar and pawpaw alone could not provide. Plus, it adds to the tropical taste of the caramel sauce.
Store in the fridge- this will turn the caramel sauce to a solid state. You can return it to a liquid texture by microwaving it for around 30 seconds.
Tropical Pawpaw Caramel Sauce
- 180 grams (about ¾ of a cup) of pawpaw, with skin and seeds removed, pureed in a blender or food processer until smooth.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup of water
- ½ cup of coconut cream, taking care to use only the solids off the top and not allow any of the water
1. Stir the water and sugar together in a medium sauce pan, before heating on medium-high on the stove. Allow to cook without stirring, picking up the pot and gently swishing the liquid around every now and then. Continue, allowing the sugar to bubble, until it has turned a light amber color.
2. Take off the heat and add the pureed pawpaw, using a silicone spatula to mix in. When you first add the fruit, the difference in heat will cause the sugar mixture to bubble up- continue stirring until the bubbles have subsided, and the pawpaw is well integrated into the sugar.
3. Return the pawpaw caramel to the stove, and cook while longer, stirring until it has darkened slightly- not as long as before, perhaps 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add the coconut caramel, stirring continuously until it is smooth and all the coconut chunks have dissolved.
4. Pour the caramel sauce into jars and allow to cool before storing in the fridge. It will harden in the fridge, so when you want to use it, microwave for around 30 seconds to return it to a liquid state.