Passion fruit has an exotic reputation.

Passion fruit has an exotic vibe.

Sometimes I see passion fruit at the farmers market but am turned off by the high price for this exotic tropical fruit that comes in a small package. But when you get a bag load from a friend, that’s a different story.

Recently I was lucky to get a bag of this precious fruit from my blogger friend, Brenda of Bites & Bourbon, whose dad has a passion fruit tree. How lucky for her because each fruit yields just a little juice and flesh, so you need a lot if you plan to use it for a recipe.

This fruit is so appropriately named because people love it with a passion because of its unique look of the inside flesh and, of course, the sweet nectar. Growing up in Hawaii where the fruit is called “lilikoi,” passion fruit is blended with guava or mango to make drinks or (my favorite) made into a cake. Traveling, I’ve found passion fruit in ice cream in South America (where it’s called maracuya) or as topping on cheesecake.

Passion fruit custard cakes fresh out of the oven.

Passion fruit custard cakes fresh out of the oven.

I took Brenda’s advice, which was to turn some of the fruit into a syrup using this recipe here. Then I drizzle it on my yogurt and granola. I even leave the black seeds in the syrup because I like that little crunch.

But since I do like passion fruit in desserts like it’s often used in Hawaii, I used the fruit to make custard cakes using a recipe I’ve adapted before  and originally featured oranges. I just subbed out the orange juice with passion fruit nectar. (I also reduced the sugar amount because passion fruit is much sweeter than citrus.) It was a very sophisticated way to enjoy this fruit.

The inside flesh has a brilliant yellow-orange color with black seeds that are also edible.

The inside flesh has a brilliant yellow-orange color with black seeds that are also edible.

Passion fruit is called lilikoi in Hawaii and maracuya in South America.

Passion fruit is called lilikoi in Hawaii and maracuya in South America.

My finished dessert of passion fruit custard cakes.

My finished dessert of passion fruit custard cakes.

Here’s the recipe for the custard cakes if you have fresh passion fruit and want to give it a try:

Passion Fruit Custard Cakes
(makes 5 to 6 servings) 

Ingredients:
Unsalted butter, room temperature, for custard cups
3 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 T all-purpose flour
2-3 t grated lemon zest (1 lemon)
1/4 cup fresh passion fruit juice (about 4 to 6 fruits, remove black seeds)
1 cup milk
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Set a kettle of water to boil. Butter six 6-ounce custard cups and place in a dish towel-lined baking dish or roasting pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until light; whisk in flour. Gradually whisk in passion fruit juice, then milk, vanilla extract and zest.
3. With an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Add to lemon batter and fold in gently with a whisk (batter will be quite liquid).
4. Divide batter among prepared custard cups; place baking dish in oven and fill with boiling water to reach halfway up sides of cups. Bake until puffed and lightly browned (but pudding is still visible in bottom), 20 to 25 minutes. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

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4 Responses to Cooking with Appropriately Named Passion Fruit

  1. Brenda Ton says:

    Oh my god, the custard cakes look incredible. You have outdone yourself. Thanks for sharing it; I’ll have to make some for my family. Happy you were able to enjoy it :).

    • Ben Ben says:

      I had to do something other than just topping my yogurt with them. The recipe is really easy to make. But funny they’re called custard “cakes” but it’s really more a pudding underneath that top layer of cake. Thanks again for the incredible passion fruits!

  2. Carolyn Jung says:

    Those cakes look so light and fluffy. I love passion fruit in ice cream and smoothies whenever I’m in Hawaii. How nice that you can enjoy a taste of the tropics in your Bay Area home — without needing a plane ticket. 😉

  3. Row says:

    Wow, these custard cakes look amazing! I haven’t noticed any passion fruits in the grocery stores around here (surprise, surprise), but maybe I can get my hands on some passion fruit nectar. Thanks for the recipe! 🙂