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.

Coconut Matcha Ice Cream

Coconut Matcha Ice Cream with fresh plums and blueberries

Its been fairly hot and humid (I know that’s relative) the past few days here in Southern California. So there’s been a lot of ice cream making going on. This time around I made Coconut Matcha Ice Cream and played with combining matcha and another one of my favorite flavors, ube. This is pretty straight forward, I used 1 can of full fat coconut milk, ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk, a teaspoon of vanilla extract for the base and added 2 heaping tablespoons of finely ground matcha powder. I whisked it all together until the matcha powder was incorporated and most of the larger clumps had been worked out. Then I chilled the base for a couple of hours before I churned in the machine for 25 minutes. Yield 1 pt/16oz of ice cream

Now for me the real fun came with different ideas for how to serve the ice cream. So I decided to make ice cream sandwiches. I’ve been on an ube (a vibrantly purple Filipino sweet potato that’s all the rage in these parts) kick for a while. So I hit up my local Red Ribbon (a Filipino bakery chain) and picked up some ube mamon, which is a Chinese style sponge cake. I sliced the ube mamon in half, then I formed 2 scoops of the coconut matcha ice cream into a disk and coated the sides with crushed Froot Loops and coated the sides of the ice cream disk and placed the disk onto the one of the slices of ube mamon and then topped that with the other slice. This is what the final one looked like (there were a few fails which are up on my Instagram)

Spongy ube mamon from Red Ribbon Bakeshop is paired with coconut matcha ice cream that’s been coated with crushed Froot Loops.

Stay tuned, figs are coming into season and our trees have tons of fruit….

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