Passionfruit Bars

by - 13:25

Passionfruit 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.

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.

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