Passionfruit recipes to brighten up winter

Whole and halved passion fruits
Sorbets, a cocktail and muffins, all with the vibrant tartness of passion fruit.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
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We’re smack dab in the middle of citrus season, so it may be easy to overlook them, but passion fruit are at their peak right now. I’ve been buying them by the dozens at the farmers market lately and plan to continue that trend for the next few weeks. They bring that distinctive “tart sunshine” flavor even better than most citrus, and I love finding new ways to use the pulp, even though I often just eat it straight from the shells with a spoon, the classic approach.

But if you need inspiration for more recipes that use the wonderfully golden juice, try making sorbet, the next best thing to raw. Sweetened with a little sugar and churned until icy, it’s the perfect thing to make right now and then save for a treat until another heatwave like last week’s comes along. Want even more complexity and tropical brightness? Add mango to the mix.

Want something with a little more body? Whip up this simple mousse that uses meringue and evaporated milk to enrich the sunny pulp. If booze is more your speed, try this cachaça-based cocktail made with passion fruit and coconut cream.

And if you need a baking project to get you through these last few weeks of dark mornings, make my passion fruit-poppy seed muffins, a spin on the classic lemon breakfast treat that packs a more colorful punch than the yellow citrus ever could.


Passion Fruit Sorbet

These passion fruit ices are the perfect treat for when it’s too hot outside to do anything. Buy a few extra passion fruit, because some can be filled with less pulp than others, even though they are the same size.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 15 minutes, plus freezing.

Passion fruit ice served in the fruit's shell.
(Ben Mims / Los Angeles Times)

Mango and Passion Fruit Sorbet

Mango adds an extra layer of tropical brightness to this simple frozen treat. If you can’t find ripe mangoes at the farmers markets, use organic frozen mango.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour, plus freezing.

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Passion Fruit-Poppy Seed Muffins

These muffins are meant to be eaten for breakfast and are, therefore, pretty lean. The glaze on them makes them richer and imparts a powerful passion fruit taste, so if you want a more subtle flavor, omit the extra two tablespoons of passion fruit juice, the powdered sugar and the extra teaspoon of poppy seeds, and instead sprinkle some extra granulated sugar over each muffin cup before baking to get a crunchy top.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 45 minutes.

Passionfruit and Poppy Seed Muffins, whole and halved, in paper wrappers.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Batida de Maracuja

A popular cachaça cocktail, the batida is an iced drink flavored with pureed fruit, often sweet passion fruit, along with coconut milk, condensed milk or other ingredients. It has all the sublime tropical appeal of a piña colada but with a fresher taste.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 10 minutes.

Passion Fruit Mousse

With its cloud-like texture and fresh, bright passion fruit flavor, this dessert is the perfect thing to make ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator for a snack or dessert for guests.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 25 minutes.

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