Sweet and tangy tropical goodness…

passion fruit bars dusted with powdered sugar

I was the happy beneficiary of some fresh passion fruit from one of my co-workers about a week or so ago. Well, they finally ripened up enough for me to use so I decided to make passion fruit bars. Passion fruit, is a somewhat sour acidic tropical fruit which lends itself very well to this application as well as being turned into curds as discussed in previous post or really anything that you’d use citrus.

There’s two parts to this recipe, first is the shortbread base and then the curd that goes on top. You’ll need to bake and completely and allow to fully cool to room temperature before working on the curd topping. We have quite a few Vietnamese markets here that sell frozen passionfruit juice and its also available at our local Whole Foods. Look for one that doesn’t have sugar added, if you can’t find unsweetened, reduce the sugar in the filling by a couple of tablespoons. If you’re not able to locate passion fruit, use any combination of citrus juice you have available. You’ll need a 9×9 brownie pan to make this recipe. I’d suggest using a metal pan versus glass so the sides of the bars do not brown too much.

Shortbread Base

½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup All Purpose Flour

¼ tsp salt

3 TBS granulated sugar

3 TBS powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325F

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients by hand until it is a sand like texture.

Shortbread dough mixed to a sand like texture

Press into a 9×9 brownie pan that’s been lined with parchment paper and spayed with cooking spray or greased with butter.

Pressing shortbread dough into a brownie pan lined with parchment

Dock the dough a few times to prevent the crust from rising/bubbling up.

docking the shortbread crust.

Bake crust in an oven preheated 325F and bake for 30 minutes or until shortbread turns a light golden brown along the edges.


3 large eggs

½ cup passion fruit juice

1 tsp fresh lemon zest

2 TBS lemon juice

½ tsp baking soda

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

pinch of salt

3 TBS All Purpose flour

Powdered Sugar for dusting

Mix all the ingredients except for the flour together until well mixed. Slowly mix in the flour a tablespoon at a time until mix is free of lumps and the flour has been thoroughly incorporated. Pour filling mixture into the baked and cooled crust. Bake in an oven preheated to 350F for 35-40 minutes or until filling is set.  Dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares to serve.

Mmmm Donuts…

freshly decorated donuts and fritters

A few weeks back, I made peach fritters and teased that I will show you how to make the donuts that are actually the beginning of the fritter process. Raised donut are pretty easy to make and the ingredients are inexpensive. The process takes a few hours, but that’s mostly idle time waiting for the dough to rise and proof a few times. Donuts are also a fun way to get the young’ns in the kitchen to help and have fun decorating their own donut creation. So without further stalling, here is my recipe for Yeast Raised Donuts.

Yeast Donuts Recipe


2 packets instant yeast

4 cups All Purpose Flour

1 ½ cups whole milk

⅓ cup shortening

⅓ cup warm water

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

¼ cup buttermilk powder


In the bowl of a stand mixer, bloom the 2 packets of yeast in warm water and set aside.

yeast getting frothy.

While yeast is blooming, melt the shortening in the milk over low heat then set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix salt, flour and buttermilk powder.  The yeast should be frothy by now. slowly add the milk shortening mixture, beaten eggs to the yeast mixture.

Gradually add the flour and mixing with the paddle attachment until all the flour has been added. Switch to the dough hook and mix for about 5 minutes or until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be quite sticky but that’s ok. Turn the dough out into a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel or grease cling wrap. Let the dough rise until its doubled in size. Pound it back down and let it rise a second time.

Once the dough has risen a second time, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding bench flour if the dough starts to stick. Then roll the dough out to about ½” thick and cut to desired shape and fry at 350F until golden brown. Let drain and cool on a wire rack before decorating.

The decorating

For me, the fun part is the decorating and coming up with interesting taste combinations.

Basic Glaze

Classic donut glaze

2 cups powdered sugar

2 TBS melted butter

Pinch of salt

1 TSP Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup whole milk

In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, butter salt and vanilla extract. Gradually add the milk until you have a fairly loose mixture. This glaze is good for fritters or for basic glazed donuts.

Chocolate Glaze

S’mores donut with easy chocolate glaze

its basically the same recipe as above with the addition of 4 TBS cocoa powder.

Chocolate and Coffee Glaze

chocolate and coffee donut with dark chocolate and coffee topping

2 cups powdered sugar

2 TBS melted butter

Pinch of salt

4 TBS Cold Brew Coffee

1/4 cup milk whole milk

4 TBS Cocoa Powder

In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, butter, salt, cocoa and coffee. Gradually add the milk until you have a fairly loose mixture.

Maple Glaze

Maple glaze with crispy bacon

2 cups powdered sugar

2 TBS melted bacon grease

Pinch of salt

8 TBS premium maple syrup

1/2 cup whole milk

In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, bacon grease, salt, and maple syrup. Gradually add the milk until you have a fairly loose mixture.


You could just keep it simple and toss the donuts in some powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar or plain ol’ white granulated sugar.


I made passionfruit curd and filled some of the donuts with it. Here’s how to make passionfruit (or any) curd:

6 Egg Yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

½ cup Passionfruit juice

3/4 stick chilled butter cut into cubes

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan combine egg yolks, sugar, passionfruit juice, in a heat bottomed sauce pan over low heat, stir constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Run mixture through strainer to remove any large pieces. Then slowly stir in the butter until all the butter has been added and is melted. Cover curd directly with cling wrap to prevent a skin from forming and let cool in the fridge before using.

To use as donut filling, Put curd into a pastry bag fitted with the largest round tip you have. Insert the tip directly into the side of the donut and slowly but firmly squeeze the pastry bag. You should be able to feel the curd filling the donut.





Passion Fruit (aka Lilikoi) Chiffon Pie

Lilikoi Chiffon Pie served with sweetened whipped cream and seasonal fruit

Individual Lilikoi Chiffon Pie served with sweetened whipped cream and seasonal fruit

I was wandering around a local grocery store a few days ago and found fresh passion fruit. My Aunty Ivy made an amazing Lilikoi Chiffon Pie, though I often wonder how she had time to be such a great cook and baker. She was a world class swimmer, she was a lifelong volunteer for Hawaii’s Special Olympics program, a teacher and just an all around good egg. You can read more about my Aunty Ivy here. On a trip back to the Mainland a few years ago, she sent Kim and I home with an entire pie and it served as breakfast on our 10 hour flight back to NJ from HI. Sadly, my Aunty lost her lengthy battle with cancer last year and I don’t have her recipe. I’m pretty sure at one point her recipe was published but I was not able to track it down for this post. With that said, here’s my version of Lilikoi Chiffon Pie.

To start the pie you will need to have a prepared pie crust. I opted for a Graham Cracker Coconut crust. You can make this in a standard 9″ pie plate. You’ll need 1 ½ cups of graham cracker crumbs, 1 stick of butter, ¼ cup of sugar, dash of salt and ¼ cup of finely shredded toasted coconut. In a large bowl combine, sugar, coconut, salt and graham cracker crumbs. Melt the stick of butter and let cool. Add the cooled butter to the crumb mixture and blend together. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and side of the pie plate and bake the crust at 370 for 7 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Let the crust cool on a cooling rack then store in the fridge.

You can still make this recipe even if you do not have access to fresh lilikoi. Whole Foods carries a decent lilikoi juice made by Ceres and ethnic markets may carry frozen lilikoi pulp. I removed the pulp from 8 passion fruits and augmented that with 1 cup of the Ceres Juice, I simmered the mixture until it was reduced by ½. This took about 45 minutes. I blended the mixture down with a stick blender then strained it to remove the seeds and set it aside to cool. I intentionally made more juice than the pie requires because I’m going to make lilikoi curd for a later post.

I bloomed 1 packet of Knox gelatin in ¼ cup of passion fruit juice. You can use plain water or lemon juice as well. While the gelatin is blooming I cooked 4 egg yolks and ½ cup of sugar in a double boiler over water at a slow boil until it had thickened and the sugar was dissolved, this takes about 5-8 minutes. You will need to whisk this constantly so make sure you have every thing prepped before you start this step. Once the mixture thickened I pulled it from the heat and added the gelatin and whisked until the gelatin was thoroughly incorporated. Then I added ½ cup of lilikoi juice and 2TBS of lemon juice and let the mixture sit at room temperature to cool. Once the mixture cools, Whip 4 egg whites, to soft peaks slowly working in ¼ cup of sugar continue to whip to firm peaks. Fold ¼ of the egg whites into the lilikoi mixture until  the egg whites are fully incorporated. Keep adding egg whites and folding in until all the egg whites have been encorporated. Pour mixture into the prepared pie shell and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving Finish pie with sweetened whip cream.


1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

1 stick of melted and cooled unsalted butter

¼ cup toasted and shredded coconut

¼ cup sugar

dash of salt

Chiffon pie filling

4 whole eggs separated with the whites and yolks retained

½ cup sugar

1 packet of unflavored gelatin

¼ cup liquid to bloom gelatin

½ cup lilikoi pulp/nectar/juice

Whip Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla