Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tart and Full of Passion...fruit (Lemon Lilikoi Bars)

I've made no secret of my adoration of the Australian magazine Donna Hay. Well as a result of regularly pouring over issues of DH, the equally gorgeous Aussie mag Gourmet Traveller, and the blogs of my pals from down under, I've also developed quite a fascination with passionfruit. That vibrant sunny color, that unmistakable flavor, those gorgeous little seeds...I can't but sigh with longing every time I come across such recipes! Thus began my quest to find fresh passionfruit in my local Washington, D.C. area.

I searched high...and I searched low. The interwebs told me these little treasures might be hiding in Asian supermarkets, so I scoured half a dozen to no avail, suffering many strange looks from their Korean managers during the process. My next lead took me to a handful of Hispanic groceries, where I'd heard they might be undercover as "Maracuya." But again I was met with only disappointment. Unexpectedly it was Whole Foods where I finally found my beloved passionfruits, but at $3 apiece I had to walk away.

Tart Lemon Lilikoi Bars
Fortunately my visits to the Hispanic stores hadn't been completely in vain. Though the photographer in me demanded the pretty seeds only fresh passionfruit could provide, I found quite a lovely substitute in this frozen passionfruit pulp. It's brought the vibrant tangy-sweet flavor I expect from passionfruit to my orange passionfruit curd mini tarts and now to these lemon lilikoi (yet another name for this fruit) bars.

As much as I enjoy passionfruit, I left some lemon juice in this recipe as I really love it's in-your-face tartness. You should of course feel free to use all passionfruit pulp or even all lemon juice instead. As you might've guessed by now, I like my bars on the tart side, so feel free to be a little more generous with the sugar if you've got a bigger sweet tooth than me ;p.

Tart Lemon Lilikoi (Passionfruit) Bars [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Issue 53 and Recipelink
Makes 24 to 32 bars (9 x 13-inch pan)

XIAOLU'S NOTES: I like my lemon bars quite tangy so feel free to add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar to the filling if you prefer yours sweeter. In case you're worried, the bars should turn out thicker than in my photo. That slice is thin because my oven is lopsided :(.

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar, plus extra to garnish
1/4 cup cornstarch
2/3 tsp salt
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cool room temperature and cut into 1-inch pieces

4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar, or more according to personal taste
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt
6 Tbsp all purpose flour, sifted
1/3 cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
2/3 cup passion fruit puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the sides of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, line with parchment paper, then lightly grease parchment.

To make the crust, combine flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, salt, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is pebbly. Press evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes (optional but preferable. Bake until lightly golden, about 18 to 20 minutes. Set aside crust.

To make the filling, place the eggs and yolks in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest and rub them together until fragrant. Now add the sugar mixture, salt, flour, lemon juice, and passionfruit puree to the egg mixture. Whisk until smooth. Pour this filling over the pre-baked crust and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until just set. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm. Sift powdered sugar over the top before slicing and serving.

82 comments:

  1. Lovely! Glad the pulp worked for the recipe. What an adventure for just one ingredient!

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  2. I think it might be a little early in the year for passionfruit? I found some in late summer at a small Asian market here in California.
    The bars look and sound delicious....

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  3. I love lemon bars and am blown away by the addition of passionfruit! I'm in DC area - do you have any leftovers? :)

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  4. Yeah, I bought two for 4 on Whole Foods, the red little ones from Australia. I had to.....but it's an offense to me!! :) I don't understand why they don't import it from Latin America.
    Thanks for the pulp tip!

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  5. Bars that are right up my alley! I love anything that is tart and contains passion fruit. Lovely.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  6. This is something i would LOVE to eat.. all of them. Love passion fruit and you have created a divine dessert with citrus and passion:) I have to make this when I come back. a very perfect photograph. Love it how that little extra light is on that slice.

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  7. oh yum! This looks delicious!

    I didn't realise that passionfruit was so hard to come by in the US! Here (Australia) it's everywhere! My parents grow four different varieties in their backyard (which is TINY!). I feel so lucky right now. :P

    (are you jealous????)

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  8. I was just about to say that my mum has a massive passionfruit vine in her backyard - with lots of passionfruits on it! Yum!

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  9. This is one of my fav one..looks absolutely gorgeous with neat finish.. so so tempted :)

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  10. Silly interwebs and lopsided ovens!

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  11. Looks so delicious ..... I too have been on the search of passion fruit. But guess the pulp works gr8 too.

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  12. Gorgeous Xiaolu! I love the combination of lemon and passionfruit, so deliciously tart and tangy, just how I like it.

    By the way, if you ever need me to post of some Australian food magazines, let me know. Donna Hay and Gourmet Traveller are my favourites too, as well as delicious magazine. Not sure if you've seen that one.

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  13. Lemon and passion fruit bars must be extraordinary. The picture is just gorgeous!

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  14. I've given up trying to find passion fruit at a decent price, I don't think it exists. I do what you do and use frozen passion fruit puree. At least I know I can find it when I need it!

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  15. I've looked high and low for passionfruit also, to no avail. If I ever find it....I'm buying double what it takes to make these and sending half to you! These look amazing!

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  16. ooooooo! i made passionfruit bars two weeks ago too!!! yours look delish. shall bookmark the recipe. :)

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  17. I'll have to find this passion fruit pulp! The flavor of passion fruit is always perfect for summer and definitely takes me back to a tropical scene. Heaven!

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  18. lovely!! I love tart desserts too and good to know the pulp was a good substitute :)

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  19. Just looking at these fabulous bars is making my mouth water! :)

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  20. I'm glad you found something close. It drives me crazy when I see the price of some foods. The bars are beautiful. I can't wait to try them.

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  21. These look so neat and yum Xialou! I can understand where not search for ingredients can take us, food bloggers!And those looks :) I have to try your raspberry ones sometime..these will be later!

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  22. wow love this recipe! passion fruit reminds me of when i used to drink fresh passion fruit iced tea in peru!

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  23. I love anything to do with passionfruit...
    I used to have passionfruit vines in my backyard... sweet smelling flowers, gorgeous pulps but I had to scarifice the vines as it became wild, roots spread everywhere even into neighbours' backyard... in other word ~ it became weed.. :(

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  24. They look delish - I also love me a bit of passion (fruit)

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  25. I so love passion fruit but I hardly find them and you are right about the price!! I too have this tendency to add lemon zest or just a little amount of juice in most of dishes .. like the tartness :)
    This sure does looks like a gorgeous lil bite to me.

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  26. Sips and SpoonfulsMay 11, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    In Tanzania, passion fruit is a speciality that farmers grown towards the end of the year and its sooooooo cheap....M mum makes tons and tons of pulp and freezes it for the rest of the year! I'm going to tell her about these beautiful bars :)

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  27. So funny I was at the Korean Mart on Gallows in fairfax today and saw some but didn't get any they were not ripe. Been searching for Passion Fruit for couple weeks now, and walked away just like you from WF. Love your twist on lemon bars. Love anything tangy!! :)

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  28. Your bars look delicious and tempting !

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  29. I loove this fruit and your recipe!! I am going right now to the market and look if there are some passion fruit so i can make your wonderful recipe!

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  30. Looks great! I bet it tasted great as well. I like lemony, tangy desserts. Sometimes everything chocolate can be overwhelming. Yours look refreshing with the powered sugar on top!

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  31. You are a woman after my own heart. Your passionfruit quest sounds like something I'd be all over. I love a little extra tartness too.

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  32. Wow these look seriously delicious! I love their colour thanks to the lovely citrus. They sound worth all your searching :)

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  33. I'm definitely making these ASAP! I made Lilikoi jam the other day but these squares look amazing!

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  34. I didn't find passion fruits... i have no idea where to find them. That's too bad cause i really want to make your tart!

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  35. I salivate over every page of this gorgeous magazine :)

    and those passionfruit bars sound and look amazing!
    great photo!

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  36. Yum this sounds delicious!

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  37. I just LOVE these. Ps I am obsessed with Donna Hay magazine, too!

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  38. Wonderful bars, so light, delicate and delicious! And beautiful photos too :-)

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  39. Yummm these look great! I love a yummy tart dessert :)

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  40. Beautiful clicks and brilliant recipe.

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  41. Thanks so much, everyone! It seems like I have a new lead in finding passionfruit fresh and affordable around here. Wish me luck! =D

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  42. Oooh, Lovely! Absolutely beautiful, Xiaolu. My mouth is watering now... I could eat your gorgeous tart right now :)

    Beautiful shots as always,

    Aldy.

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  43. oooh! I love lemon bars... and the addition of passion fruit makes it sound extra yummy! Gorgeous picture too!

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  44. Hi Xiaolu, The tarts are looking absolutely delightful. Loved the new combo of ingredients and the recipe is so nicely made and presented. Saving this recipe of urs and wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day….Sonia !!!

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  45. These look so good! I was just browsing lemon bars but these sound far more interesting. Thanks for sharing, just buzzed them too :)

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  46. What an adventure to search for an ingredient us Aussies are too fond of.. Gosh I feel so lucky! At $3 a pop, it's just too damn expensive. Your bars look perfect.

    Isn't DH fantastic? Do you have subscriptions?

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  47. What an interesting recipe, and so sunny looking.

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  48. Those lemon bars look fanfreakingtastic!

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  49. I have never made anything with passionfruit! THis is stunning!

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  50. They look so good! They are really pretty too! :D

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  51. Thanks for the comments everyone. Sorry for the 12 or so that Blogger lost :(.

    I had a backup of a few of them. I really appreciate every one of your comments <3

    Jen said... 40
    Yummm these look great! I love a yummy tart dessert :)

    MAY 11, 2011 3:53 PM
    Almost said... 41
    Beautiful clicks and brilliant recipe.

    MAY 11, 2011 4:10 PM
    Xiaolu said... 42
    Thanks so much, everyone! It seems like I have a new lead in finding passionfruit fresh and affordable around here. Wish me luck! =D

    MAY 11, 2011 8:23 PM
    Al Dente Gourmet said... 43
    Oooh, Lovely! Absolutely beautiful, Xiaolu. My mouth is watering now... I could eat your gorgeous tart right now :)

    Beautiful shots as always,

    Aldy.

    MAY 11, 2011 9:53 PM

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  52. Tehehe, I've just made lemon bars myself! I'm in love with them. & to use passionfruit too, how lovely. I too love a tangy bar :)
    Heidi xo

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  53. These look delicious! I have always loved lemon squares ( tart too!), and have been wanting to make a gluten-free version. Love the addition of passion fruit. We have a lot of Hispanic grocery stores here in San Diego so I'll be on the lookout for the passion fruit purée!

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  54. I just love passionfruit but they can be a little hard to find even here. When I am visiting the Big Island I always try and stock. I recently saw some at Whole Foods that had been imported from New Zealand but they were $3.99 each. I have some in my freezer so I will be trying this soon.

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  55. I am surprised that you can't get passion fruit easily in US.... But I believe the purees work just as beautifully, I very often use frozen fruit purée myself. The tart looks beautiful! Beautiful photo as usual!

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  56. You've combined two of my passions (no pun intended!), sweetie! I absolutely love anything lemon and passion fruit, I have got to try them together this way! Yum!

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  57. Beautiful Xiaolu! As always. You inspire me. Have a lovely week :)

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  58. Thank you for suggesting the frozen pulp- I too have searched endless to find passion fruit, all for naught! This seems much more attainable, and I hadn't thought to look for it in the freezer section... Next grocery trip, I'll have my eyes open!

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  59. hello!

    through this post i've just learned you live in the DC area! that's where i'm from, too (northern VA). and now i'm here, in Australia, fascinated by passion fruit as well.

    so beyond the beauty of your photography and what looks like a sumptuous recipe, this post just felt wonderfully familiar :)

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  60. These look so good! I have linked to this post in today's Delicious Links roundup. Happy Monday!

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  61. Lemon and passion fruit bars sound so lovely and your photos are beautiful as usual! :)

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  62. I love this idea! Great pictures too.

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  63. Mmmm passion fruit & lemon, delicious combination! A few years ago we lived in the very north of Australia and I use to grow passion fruit, they would fall off the vines in abundance, sigh! As luck would have it I actually brought some passion fruit this weekend form our local farm store, so I just might attempt this beautiful recipe!!

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  64. That looks and sounds delicious ! I love the combination of lemon and passionfruit. I hope to be able to find passionfruit pulp in a tin because there's no chance I'll be able to get the fresh fruit here in Singapore. Thanks for the recipe !

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  65. I have never laid hands on a passion fruit although i have drunk its cordial decades ago when Indonesian friends and relatives promoted passion fruit juice enthusiastically. I must one day use them. Your slices are as beautiful as your photography!

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  66. amaizing! i love lemon bars, and with passion fruit... OMG!

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  67. hola. me encantaron! aca no hay maracuya, por que fruta lo puedo reemplazar? muchas gracias

    elizabeth

    ehillar@hotmail.com

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  68. Hi Elizabeth -- you can replace the passionfruit pulp with orange juice, grapefruit juice, mango juice, etc. and you'll get bars flavored with those fruits :). You can also just use all lemon juice and make normal mango bars. Since those fruits aren't all the same sweet/sourness, you may need to adjust the sugar. I'd love to hear if you try one of those and how it works out!

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  69. can you please tell me where you found the frozen passion fruit pulp? I'm looking for passion fruit in the DC area too!

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  70. Hi Violeta! I found the pulp at a Food Star in Arlington http://www.yelp.com/biz/food-star-arlington

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  71. Thanks I'll make it this weekend!

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  72. Awesome! I'd love to hear how it goes and even a photo if you take one =D. Feel free to email or Tweet me if you have any questions.

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  73. These look so amazing! I'm going to take them to a potluck at my school. Many of my classmates, and myself, are vegan though and I was wondering what you recommend to replace the eggs? I've found a couple recipes that use silken tofu, I'm just not sure if that will effect flavor?
    Thank you! :)

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    1. Hi Sarah! I'm so glad you're interested in making these. I admit I've never made them vegan before, but I've heard great things about these vegan lemon bars (using agar) from Veganomicon that you could probably adapt to be passionfruit-flavored: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegan-lemon-bars/ As a bonus, they're no-bake (well the filling is). Please let me know how it turns out!

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    2. Oh and here's a tofu variation http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/vegetarian-recipes/vegan-lemon-bars.php

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  74. Hy, I discover you on Pinterest!!!
    Looks divine this "dolce" !!! I will try to prepare this very soon!!

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I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu