Pawpaw tasting

Cooking with Pawpaws. Kentucky State University extension bulletin. Jones, S.C., and D.R. Layne. 1997.

The Edible Pawpaw: A Collection of Delicious and Nutritious Recipes. Available for a small fee from the The Ohio Pawpaw Growers Association. 2008.

KSU Recipes

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Pawpaw Pie a

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1½ c. pawpaw pulp (peeled and seeded)

Place all ingredients into stew pan and stir together. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake until the crust is done.

Pawpaw Pie b

  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. flour or cornstarch
  • 2 eggs (reserve whites for meringue)
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 c. pawpaw pulp

Combine sugar and flour. Add egg yolks and milk. When well mixed add pawpaw pulp. Cook until thick and pour into baked pie crust. Cover with meringue and brown in moderate oven.

Pawpaw Cream Pie i

  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. flour or ¼ c. cornstarch
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. light cream
  • 1 c. pureed pawpaw pulp
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 baked 9-inch pastry shell

Combine sugar and flour or cornstarch. Add the beaten egg yolks, milk, and cream. Mix well and add pawpaw pulp. Cook and stir constantly over low heat until thickened. Cool.

Make a meringue by beating the egg whites stiff with 3 Tbsp. sugar and a pinch of salt. Pour custard into a baked pastry shell and cover with meringue. Bake in a moderate oven (350o F) for 12 minutes or until meringue is browned. Serves 6 to 8.

Pawpaw Pie or Parfait c

  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 c. strained pawpaw pulp
  • ¼ c. sugar

In a saucepan, mix together brown sugar, gelatin, and salt. Stir in milk and slightly beaten egg yolks. Heat and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from fire and stir in pawpaw pulp. Chill until it mounds slightly when spooned (20 to 30 minutes in refrigerator). Shortly before the mixture is sufficiently set, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks; then gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold the partly set pawpaw mixture thoroughly into egg whites. Pour into a 9-inch graham cracker crust or into parfait glasses and chill until firm. “Then lock the door to keep the neighbors out.”

Pawpaw Chiffon Pie i

  • 1½ Tbsp. gelatin
  • ¼ c. cold water
  • ½ c. sugar, brown or white
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • ½ c. milk
  • 1 c. pureed pawpaw pulp
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ c. white sugar
  • 1 c. heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 baked 9-inch pastry shell

Soften gelatin in cold water. Combine the ½ c. sugar with the salt, egg yolks, and milk in the top of a double boiler. Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly, until mixture coats a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin and pawpaw puree. Chill until a spoonful holds its shape (about half an hour). Beat the egg whites stiff with ¼ c. of white sugar. Fold egg whites and half of the whipped cream into the filling. Pour into the baked pastry shell. Spread remaining whipped cream on top of pie. Serves 6 to 8.

Note: Graham cracker crust may be used instead of the pastry shell.

Pawpaw Custard Pie d

  • 1 c. 2% milk
  • 1 c. cream
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 1 c. pureed pawpaw pulp

Mixing the ingredients as you add them, beat together the milk, cream, eggs, sugar, and pawpaw. Pour the custard into a pie shell and bake at 450o F for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325o F and bake an additional 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center of the pie comes out clean.

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Pawpaw Custard d

Combine custard ingredients as in Pawpaw Custard Pie, above. Pour custard into 8 custard cups. Line the bottom of a baking pan with a dish cloth, then place the custard cups in the pan. Add boiling water to the pan until it’s about 2/3 of the way up the side of the cups. Bake at 325o F for 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven just before the custard is set in the center. A knife inserted near the edge of the custard should come out clean.

Pawpaw Custard e

  • 1 c. pawpaw pulp
  • 2 oz. grated coconut
  • 1¼ c. half and half
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 dash salt
  • 2 oz. sugar (superfine preferred)
  • zest of orange (optional), serrated

Mix pawpaw pulp with coconut. Layer on bottom of buttered ovenproof casserole dish. Heat half and half mixed with the vanilla until bubbles form. Beat eggs with salt and sugar and still beating, pour on the half and half very slowly so as not to curdle the eggs. Add the orange rind if using. Pour over fruit and place in a pan of hot water. Bake in a moderate oven (375o F) for 30 minutes or until custard is set. Turn out if possible when cool to show off the fruit layer.

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Pawpaw Cookies with Black Walnuts d

  • ¾ c. pureed pawpaw pulp
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ c. butter
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ c. black walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350o F and grease one large cookie sheet. Peel and seed fresh pawpaws and process in a food processor until fine. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg. Add the flour mixture and then add the pawpaw pulp. Chop half the nuts (reserve 16 pieces) and blend them in. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet and press a piece of black walnut onto the top of each cookie. Bake 12 minutes or until brown across the top. Makes about 16 cookies.

Pawpaw Cookies b

  • 1½ c. pawpaw pulp
  • ¾ c. shortening
  • 11/3 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 c. sifted flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ginger
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Cream the shortening and sugar thoroughly. Add beaten egg and pawpaw. Stir in the dry ingredients, which have been sifted together, and mix well. Form into small balls and place on cookie sheet. Press into round flat shape with the bottom of a glass that has been lightly greased. Bake in a moderate oven about 15 minutes.

Pawpaw Cookies f

  • ½ c. raisins
  • ½ c. diced dates
  • 1 c. water
  • ½ c. margarine
  • 1 c. oatmeal
  • 1 c. self-rising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ c. pawpaw pulp
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ c. walnut pieces

Mix together raisins, dates, and water. Boil 3 minutes. Add margarine. Blend oatmeal, flour, eggs, baking soda, and nuts. Add cooled cooked mixture and pawpaws. Mix and refrigerate overnight. Spoon dough onto cookie sheet and bake at 350o F for 10 minutes. Store cookies in refrigerator.

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  Cakes and Quick Breads

Pawpaw Cake b

  • ¼ c. shortening
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1¼ c. sifted flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. mashed pawpaw pulp
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Cream shortening and sugar. Add well beaten egg and mashed pawpaw. Sift together flour, soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture. Add vanilla and pour in an 8 inch square pan or two round layer cake pans. Bake at 375o F for 50 minutes. When cool, frost with cream cheese thinned with milk, or with any simple white frosting. Decorate with pawpaw slices.

Pawpaw Cake i

  • 1¾ c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ c. shortening
  • 1½ c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ c. pureed pawpaw pulp
  • ½ c. chopped pecans or hickory nuts
  • 3 egg whites, beaten stiff

Sift first four dry ingredients together. Combine milk and lemon juice and set aside to sour. Cream shortening, add sugar gradually, and beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Then add dry ingredients alternately with pawpaw puree and soured milk. Fold in the beaten egg whites and the chopped nuts. Pour into two lightly greased and floured 9-inch layer-cake pans. Bake in a moderate oven (350o F) 35 to 40 minutes. Frost with:

Lemon Butter Frosting

  • ½ c. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • grated lemon rind
  • 1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. cream (approximately)

Cream the butter until fluffy, using an electric mixer. Blend in the lemon juice and a small amount of grated lemon rind. Add the confectioners’ sugar gradually along with enough cream to make a frosting of the right spreading consistency. Run the beaters long enough to make the frosting very fluffy. Garnish the top of the frosted cake with a grating of lemon rind.

Spiced Pawpaw Fruit Cake i

  • 3½ c. flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 11/3 c. shortening
  • 11/3 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c. pawpaw puree
  • 1 c. raisins
  • 1½ c. chopped nuts
  • 3 c. candied fruits

Sift flour with baking powder, salt, baking soda, and spices. Cream shortening and gradually blend in sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add flour mixture alternately with pawpaw puree. Mix raisins, nuts, and fruit, and stir into batter. Turn into 2 greased and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Bake in a slow oven (300o F) for about 2 hours. Keep a shallow pan of hot water underneath cake throughout baking time. Store cooled cakes in a tightly closed container. Makes about 5½ pounds of fruit cake.

Pawpaw Bread d

  • 1 c. melted butter
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c. pawpaw pulp
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 c. pecan pieces plus 16 pecan halves

Preheat oven to 375o F. Grease two 9x4x2-inch loaf pans. Beat together butter, sugar, and eggs. Add and beat in the pawpaw pulp and lemon juice. Sift the flour and baking powder together, and stir them into the batter. Stir in the pecans and scrape the batter into the loaf pans. Garnish each loaf with 8 pecan halves, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The top corners of the loaf will burn, but that adds flavor and character.

Pawpaw Bread i

      • 1 c. pawpaw puree
      • 1/3 c. shortening
      • 2/3 c. sugar
      • 2 eggs
      • 1¾ c. flour
      • 2 tsp. baking powder
      • ¼ tsp. baking soda
      • ¾ tsp. salt

Cream shortening, add sugar gradually, and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pawpaw puree. Sift together remaining dry ingredients and add in four portions, beating smooth each time. Pour batter into a greased, floured loaf pan (8x4x3-inches) and bake in a moderate oven (350o F) for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean. Cool on rack before slicing. Serve slices buttered or with cream cheese. Makes 1 loaf.

Note: To vary this recipe, add 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, ½ c. chopped pecans, and ½ c. candied orange peel.

Pawpaw Muffins d

      • 1 lb. very ripe pawpaws
      • non-stick vegetable spray
      • 1½ c. all-purpose flour
      • ½ c. white cornmeal
      • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
      • 1 egg
      • 1/3 c. 100% pure sweet sorghum
      • ¼ c. oil
      • 1 c. 2% milk
      • ½ c. hickory nut or pecan pieces
      • ½ c. raisins

Wash and peel pawpaws, and press them through a food mill. Measure out 1 c. of pulp. Preheat oven to 400o F. Using non-stick vegetable spray, grease 18 medium (2½ inch or 1/3 cup) muffin cups. If desired, sprinkle a little cornmeal into the bottom of each muffin cup. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder. Crack the egg into the center of the dry ingredients, and whisk the egg until it is well mixed. Add and whisk in the sorghum, oil, and milk, stirring until they are almost mixed. Using a rubber scraper, stir in the nuts and raisins. With the nuts barely mixed in, and the flour just incorporated, pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The muffins should be crusty on the top and brown on the bottom. Cool 3 minutes on a wire rack, then lift the muffins from the pan onto the wire rack to finish cooling.

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Ice Cream

Pawpaw Ice Cream i

      • 1 qt. cold milk
      • 6 eggs
      • ½ tsp. salt
      • 1½ c. sugar
      • 1 c. pureed pawpaw pulp, or more to taste
      • juice of 1 lemon
      • 1 qt. heavy cream
      • 2 Tbsp. vanilla

Scald 3 c. of the milk in the top of a double boiler. Beat eggs well; add salt, sugar, and the remaining cup of milk. Stir egg mixture slowly into the hot milk and cook over a small amount of simmering hot water, stirring constantly, until mixture just coats a clean metal spoon. To prevent curdling, do not have the water boiling vigorously, and take care not to overcook. Stop cooking as soon as the custard coats the spoon and remove from heat at once. Cool pan of custard in another pan containing cold water, then chill thoroughly in refrigerator.

Combine pawpaw puree with the lemon juice and add to the chilled custard along with the cream and vanilla. Pour mixture into a chilled 1-gallon ice cream freezer canister and fit dasher into place. Freeze and ripen according to directions accompanying ice cream freezer, or as follows:

Fill the freezer tub around the canister with finely cracked ice and salt, using 1 part ice cream salt to 8 parts of ice, or about 1 qt. of salt for a gallon-sized ice cream freezer. Fill the freezer half full of ice before adding the first layer of salt, then alternate layers of ice and salt until the tub is filled. Freeze until the ice cream stiffens (about 20 minutes with an electric ice cream freezer). Then repack the freezer tub with ice, or remove the ice cream and place it in an ice cream mold, and let the ice cream ripen for several hours before serving.

To repack the freezer, remove the dasher, plug up the hole in the lid of the ice cream canister, drain out the salt water through the hole in the side of the ice cream freezer, and add fresh ice and salt to fill the freezer tub. Put cracked ice, but no salt, over the top of the canister, too. Cover the whole freezer with blankets or newspapers and let it stand in a cool place for several hours.

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Pawpaw Pudding d

      • 2 c. sugar
      • 1½ c. bread flour
      • 1 tsp. baking powder
      • ½ tsp. cinnamon
      • 3 eggs
      • 2 c. pawpaw pulp
      • 1½ c. milk
      • ½ c. melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350o F, and grease a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. In the center of a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: sugar, flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Into a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add and whisk the eggs. Whisk until fully mixed. Whisk and mix in the other wet ingredients: pulp, milk, and butter. Pour and scrape the batter into the baking dish and bake 50 minutes. To test for doneness, slide a toothpick into the center of the pudding, and it should come out clean. Like custard, if you jiggle the pan, the center should be set.

Serving: Cut the pudding into squares, and serve it with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, hard sauce, or crème anglaise.

PawPaw Jam k

Yield: 9-10 half pint containers

Critical Process, Measures: Boiling Water Bath for 10 minutes, Equilibrium pH <3.80


Quantity/Unit              Ingredient                              Prep Notes

6 Cups                         PawPaw Puree                     peeled, chopped, ground, dried, etc.

4 Cups                         Sugar                                    White, granulated

1.75 oz (1 packet)       Pectin                                      Dried packets

2 tsp                            Citric Acid                              Powdered


Preparation Processing

Wash and peel pawpaws, inspecting for any bruises, and quarter fruit while removing seeds.  Mash or blend fruit pulp until it forms a puree. Heat pawpaw puree to a simmer on the stove top, slowly stirring in sugar.  Continue to heat for 8 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.  Stir in the pectin and citric acid, bring to a boil, and turn off the heat.  Pour into pre-sterilized jars that are warmed in the oven set to 200F.  Wipe rims, remove air bubbles, apply lids, and place in a boiling water bath (>200°F) for 10 minutes for ½ pint jars. Remove from bath and allow to cool on table for 1 hour before storing.


Packaging and Storage Processing

Process: Boiling Water Canning (BWC), water temp >200°F.

Package: ½ pint glass jars

Fill procedure: Cooked product must be above 140F before jarring for Boiling Water Canning

Measurements and Records: Simmer temperature before adding Pectin/Citric Acid, Fill Temperature for first and last jar, Water temperature of BWC, pH after filling.

Quality Checks: Check cap for adequate seals by observing concave lids after a minimum 1 hour cooling time.

Fully processed product is shelf stable (stored at room temperature).

Pawpaw Jell-O b

      • 2 c. pawpaw pulp
      • 1 package lemon Jell-O (6 oz.)

Make Jell-O according to instructions on package. Refrigerate until thickened to a syrupy consistency. Stir in pawpaw pulp. Refrigerate.

Pawpaw Milkshake g

Add pawpaw pulp to your favorite vanilla milkshake recipe. One or two tablespoons of pawpaw pulp should suffice for two servings of milkshake. Pawpaw can be conveniently stored for this purpose by freezing spoonfuls of pulp on a cookie sheet, then storing them in a plastic bag after they have frozen solid.

Pawpaw Zabaglione h

      • 6 egg yolks
      • ¼ c. sugar
      • ¼ c. passion fruit liqueur
      • 1 c. pureed pawpaw pulp
      • 1 c. whipping cream

Over a simmering double boiler, combine egg yolks and sugar. Meanwhile, heat the liqueur until warm (too much heat will cause it to ignite). Add the warmed liqueur to the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Allow to cool and fold in the pawpaw puree. Whip cream into stiff peaks and fold it into the pawpaw and egg yolk mixture. Serve chilled.

Pawpaw-Pineapple Sherbet i

      • 1½ c. crushed pineapple
      • 1½ c. pureed pawpaw pulp
      • 6 Tbsp. lemon juice
      • ½ c. orange juice
      • ¾ c. confectioner’s sugar
      • 2 egg whites
      • ¼ tsp. salt

Combine the fruits, juices, and sugar, and freeze in refrigerator trays until nearly firm. Beat egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry, and combine with the frozen fruit mixture. Beat sherbet until it is light and fluffy. Return to trays and freeze firm. Serves six.

Pawpaw Punch j

      • 1 *pawpaw
      • 1½ pints cold water
      • 1 strip lime peel
      • 1 pinch of salt
      • sugar to taste

*This recipe was written for soursop, but may be suitable for pawpaw as well. Wash and peel pawpaw, then mash in a bowl with lime peel. Gradually stir in 1 pint water. Mix well and strain. Add another ½ pint water, mix, and strain again to be sure all the flavor is extracted. Add salt and sugar. Chill before serving.

Note: pawpaw extract may also be suitable as a flavoring to be added to ice cream or other recipes.

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Feedback Request

Several contributors (listed below) have sent us recipes for cooking with pawpaws. We are grateful for their generosity in sharing the recipes with us. All recipes have been subjected to minor editing. Please send comments on your successes or failures with these recipes, or any new pawpaw recipes, to Dr. Kirk Pomper at Kentucky State University, 129 Atwood Research, Frankfort, KY 40601-2355; or send e-mail to

Note: Pawpaw pulp can be fermented for production of beer, wine, and brandy. We have no recipes for alcoholic beverages yet. If you have one you are proud of, and if you are willing to share it, please send us a copy. We receive numerous requests for these types of recipes.

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Recipe Contributors

a. Nancy Edwards, County Extension Agent for Home Economics, Univ. of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

b. Euell Gibbons, who credits “Mountain Measures, a collection of recipes compiled by the Junior League of Charleston, West Virginia”

c. Mark F. Sohn, of Pikeville, KY, from Mountain Country Cooking, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1996†

d. Fran Gordenker (in Detroit Free Press, Detroit, MI, date unknown)

e. Joyce Faber, of Urbana, IL

f. Lester Beachey, of Dover, DE

g. Chef Michael Luksa, Yellow Brick Bank Restaurant, Shepherdstown, WV

h. Marilyn Kluger, from The Wild Flavor, published by Jeremy P. Tarcher, Los Angeles, and distributed by Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1973†

i. E. Phyllis Clark, from West Indian Cookery, published by Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd., Edinburgh, 1945

j. Bob Lynch, Corbin, Kentucky

† Copyrighted material printed with permission.

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