Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Liliko'i (Passion Fruit) Bars

{Things I love}

peeling oranges close to your body so that you smell fresh and zesty all day.

new blog lovin': cooking after five.

everything à la mode.

passion fruit.

when something doesn't come out as expected, but is perfect nonetheless... case in point, these ooey gooey liliko'i bars.

I've loved passion fruit for some time now, but for the life of me, I haven't been able to get my hands on any! I've scoured specialty markets, ethnic markets, farmer's markets. Nowhere. Not one to be found. When I was in Hawaii, although it wasn't passion fruit season, passion fruit things were everywhere - in sodas, candies and more. 

Anyways, I was strolling around Wholesome Choice with my sister one day after a nice gym session and there it was, glowing in the frozen foods section: Goya passionfruit puree. Win win win. I had no idea what I was going to do with it at the time, but I had to get my grubby paws on it nonetheless. 

My sister loves lemon bars so I had the idea of making passion fruit bars. What a lovely idea that was! It's your basic combination of buttery shortbread and sweet-tart-silky curd with a healthy dose of powdered sugar. I used a basic lemon bar recipe and just switched out the lemon juice for passion fruit puree.

At first, I thought I really screwed up these bars. Like the idiot that I am, having trouble with getting the bars out of the pan, I inverted the bars onto a cutting board without the slightest thought that sticky curd would stick to a cutting board... yeah, I really wasn't thinking. But curd being curd, I just scraped it off and did my best to re-spread it onto the shortbread base. I let it set a little in the freezer, then topped it off with some powdered sugar. Crisis averted.

The curd was very... curd-y, if that helps to explain it at all. I thought it would stiffen up some more, but it was still too liquidy for me to possibly cut clean squares. Even the shortbread base was a bit too delicate when I first tried to cut it. In the end, all of this was a lesson in patience for me. After letting the bars rest in the fridge for a good day, they turned out perfect. I used a hot knife to re-cut clean edges, topped them with a bit more powdered sugar and they were like sunshine you could tuck in your pocket!

Oh, and another thing I love. When friends (aka D) love what I love to do:

Liliko'i/ Passionfruit Bars
Yields: 9 squares
Adapted from here.

For the shortbread base:
10 tbsn. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsn. powdered sugar
2 tbsn. sugar
1 1/4 cups flour

For the lemon curd topping:
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup passion fruit puree
4 tbsn. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsn. powdered sugar, for dusting

To make the base, place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 F. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the sugars, then add the butter and cream until light and fluffy. Add half of the flour, mix to combine, then add the rest and combine until mostly incorporated (it will still look a bit crumbly). Pat the dough into a greased 8x8" pan and use a fork to prick it all over. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the top is pale golden but not brown. Set aside.

To make the passionfruit curd topping, set up a strainer on top of a bowl; set aside. in a heavy saucepan, beat the egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Stir in the passionfruit puree, butter and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes until thickened and resembles a hollandaise sauce. It should thickly coat the back of a wooden spoon but still be liquid enough to pour - a candy thermometer should read 196 degrees. Do not allow it to boil or else it will curdle. Once thickened, pour the mixture through the strainer to remove any coarse residues. Lower the temperature of the oven to 300 F. Pour the passionfruit curd over the shortbread base and bake for 10 minutes. Once baked, cool the bars until completely cooled, then refrigerate the bars for 30 minutes or longer before cutting it into bars. Once cut, dust some powdered sugar on top and enjoy!


  1. Oh nooooooooo ;p. You beat me to it!! I totally had the same experience except that I called like 3 stores to look for fresh passionfruit and then finally found the frozen at the big hispanic grocery store a mile from where I live. I used 1 pack in my passionfruit curd tarts, but the other was to go to passionfruit bars in the lemon style like these. These look AH-MAZING though, and I'll also do well to remember your advice about their delicacy as I would totally manhandle them 8).

  2. @ Xiaolu: haha, you are too funny! Right after I bought the puree, I saw your post and since I had extra I was really looking at your recipe!! It's so gorgeous and looks delicious... hopefully I can get to it when I have time :)

  3. "Like sunshine you could tuck in your pocket" - I love it! These bars look delicious.

  4. The way you've described it sounds incredible! "buttery shortbread and sweet-tart-silky curd"
    I'd love to try it

  5. Lilikoi is king. When we lived in Hawaii we had it growing in our backyard. While I was growing up in Brazil we had it on the side of the road, and now I can't find it anywhere here in in california. so sad.

  6. I love that you said that about peeling oranges... I can't stop smelling my hands afterwards... This looks so unctuous and wonderful :)

  7. Wow, this is really perfect, I've had a package of frozen passion fruit puree that I bought on a whim in my freezer forever, now I know what to do with it!

  8. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I live in Hawaii, and yes, lilikoi (passion fruit) is as easy as picking them from my yard! Made my own puree, and this recipe was simply incredible! This is by far, one of the best lilikoi bar recipes I've made! Had no problem lifting it from the pan, after refrigerating it overnight.



  9. Sounds amazing and I want to make these, but the final recipe doesn't say anything about refrigerating the curd overnight. Do I just pour the curd over shortbread, as soon as it is strained, and then refrigerate for 30 minutes, or do I NOT pour, but refrigerate curd overnight and then spoon on the next day? I am not sure if the actual recipe was revised to prevent the curd from sticking.