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The super-short pawpaw season is upon us, and if you’re lucky enough to find America’s forgotten fruit at a farmers market or in the wild, make the most of it! I had the good fortune to secure a handful from my sister’s neighbor.

Similar in taste to a mango-y banana, this unique fruit with a custardy texture often is eaten out of hand. But it also lends itself to any dessert that uses bananas, such as pudding, custard, ice cream and bread.

I used toasted walnuts in this recipe, but pecans also would work beautifully. It took about five medium-sized pawpaws to get 1 cup of pulp. The smaller the fruit, the harder it is to separate the pulp from the seeds. Rather than pick them out one at a time, I found it easier to place everything in a bowl, mash it with a potato masher and then remove the seeds. You also could halve the pawpaws with a knife and squish them through a colander into a bowl.

Pawpaw pulp keeps six months in the freezer but only a day or so in the fridge.

Pawpaw Bread

PG tested

1 cup butter, melted

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup pawpaw pulp

1/2 tablespoon lime or lemon juice

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Dash salt

1 cup toasted walnuts

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Grease a 9-by-4-inch loaf pan.

Beat butter, sugar and eggs. Add and beat in pawpaw pulp and juice. Sift baking powder, salt and flour together and stir into batter. Stir in nuts and pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 1 loaf.

— Adapted from ourstate.com

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