Paw paws might sound like they’re an exotic fruit, but they actually grow in abundance right here in Pennsylvania! These fruits, which sort of resemble unripened mangoes, have a sweet flavor and a custard-like texture, a bit like bananas, mangoes and cantaloupes. Generally harvested in the fall, ripened paw paws are a delicious treat.
Though not as commercially common as other PA fruits, like apples and stone fruit (paw paws are a fragile fruit which ferments quickly when stored incorrectly), they’re experiencing a bit of a food trend moment right now, as interest in native fruit grows: We’ve seen paw paw sorbetto at Capogiro and paw paw ice cream at The Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia, and paw paws brewed up into a Belgian blonde ale by Millworks in Harrisburg.
If a neighbor you know is growing a paw paw tree, or you come across some at the farmers market, try this incredible paw paw stuffing recipe, courtesy of Adam Diltz, chef/owner of Elwood Restaurant, a BYOB in Fishtown slated to open in Winter 2019 that will celebrate the rich culinary traditions of Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania region.
Chef Diltz says about paw paws:
My favorite way to eat paw paws is fresh out of the hand. Having some in the freezer is a great idea, especially since the season is so short. While it’s natural to use them in dessert applications, try this savory recipe for a paw paw stuffing, basically a bread pudding that goes great with a meat like duck.
Try a batch of this stuffing during the holiday season, and let us know your favorite ways to use Pennsylvania paw paws!
Paw Paw Stuffing
|Prep Time||Cook Time||Total Time|
|15 min||40 min||55 min|
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 cup onions, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 cups bread, diced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 cups local paw paw flesh
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a pot over medium heat, sweat the garlic, onions, celery and thyme in the butter. Add the white wine and reduce by half.
- Add the bread and mix together.
- In a separate large bowl, mix the egg, paw paw puree, and chicken stock (an immersion blender is perfect, but a whisk will do fine). Combine the bread mixture with the paw paw mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and bake at 350° for about 40 minutes.
- Photo and recipe: Adam Diltz