I have, on several occasions, heard of a mysterious fruit called a pawpaw. On each occasion it was referred to as a Southern delicacy: a fruit tree whose papaya-shaped fruit have the consistency of custard inside a tough, thin-skinned pod and a vanilla-banana flavor.
One of my gardening mentors, Benny La Fleur, recently provided me with a pawpaw fruit to try. He grows them on his farm, along with many other wonderful things. As I had heard, it looks tropical: a greenish-yellow pod about 5 inches long with brown flecks. When cut open I found a soft fruit containing many large (an inch or more in length), brown, bean-like seeds. To me, the fruit tasted much like a banana crème pie, and was a welcome complement to our breakfast.
Curious, I decided to poke around and see what more I could learn about this strange, tropical, pawpaw fruit.