One of the things I discovered when I was in pastry school was passion fruit. Yes I had heard of it, but living in the West I could never get my hands on an actual fresh passion fruit. The best I could do was buy frozen passion fruit puree (at a premium price) through a high-price store when we lived in San Francisco. When we finally made the concrete decision to move here to Taiwan–I was giddy just in the fact knowing I could get my hands on fresh passion fruit. Moving to Taiwan and being able to get passion fruit alone is worth the daily struggles I face each day in a foreign land. Passion fruit is in season now and one block from where we live I can buy these little gems. Iced tea stalls are abundant in Taiwan and they sell wonderful sweet fruit tea. Down the street from where I live there is a woman who combines different fresh fruit with ice tea. I knew she made passion fruit iced tea from the picture of the passion fruit on the front of her stall, and even though I did not know how to say passion fruit in Chinese I bit the bullet, tossed all shame aside and ordered the tea by pointing. Luckily the sweet lady understood enough English and with some creative pantomime gestures between the two of us, we sealed the deal. When I got home, I jumped on the internet and I vowed to learn how to say passion fruit in Chinese as perfect as I could so I could order that wonderful tea all over Taipei.
Passion Fruit Yo Yo’s: Passion Fruit Cookies with Passion Fruit Buttercream
recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveler
180 gm unsalted butter
90 gm Icing sugar
80 ml passion fruit juice (1/3 cup)*
*(to make passion fruit juice place passion fruit pulp in a strainer over a bowl and push the pulp back and forth with a flexible rubber spatula to release the juice from the black seeds which are enclosed in a thin membrane- to make juice).
2 teaspoons lemon zest
225 gm all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)
100 gm cornstarch
pinch of salt
1. Beat butter and sugar in mixer until light and fluffy. Add passion fruit juice, lemon zest and combine. Add flour, cornstarch and salt and combine until dough comes together. Shape dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
2. Preheat oven to 160º C or 325° F. Roll dough into 1/4 inch thick or 8mm thick. Cut out rounds with a 1 1/4 inch round cutter or 3 cm round cutter. Bake for 7-8 minutes until just starting to turn light golden around the edges. Let cookies sit on the sheet pan to cool completely. Place cookie sheet on a wire rack to cool. Once cookies are completely cool sandwich with buttercream.
Passion Fruit Buttercream
90 gm. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 Cups confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp. passion fruit juice (the pulp of one passion fruit pressed through a fine mesh strainer= 1 Tbsp. juice)
1. Whip the butter and sugar until fluffy, add in the passion fruit juice. If filling is too loose add a bit more confectioners sugar until thick.