Once more, with passion.


(Passionfruit custard with candied ginger boterkoek)

A few days ago, I was given a bag of passionfruit, freshly picked from a friend’s backyard. Edible gifts like these are my favourite thing to receive. I often ‘pay it forward’ by baking with these gifts which are then given away to other people.

These passionfruit were especially good – large, heavy fruit with shiny skins and a really sweet, sharp aroma that lifted into the air when you cut into one. I’m not a fan of eating passionfruit ‘neat’ – something about it’s acidity does not agree with me unfortunately. Combined with dairy products or baked in cakes and cookies however, it becomes a pleasant, perfumed flavour that I would happily enjoy any day.

I love pairing passionfruit with white chocolate ganache, vanilla ice-cream, pineapple bavarois, coconut pannacotta or even served simply as a passionfruit curd tart (caramelise each individual slice with some icing sugar and a blowtorch, for that extra special touch). Passionfruit also goes well with floral flavours like violet and lavender, citrus fruits such as yuzu, mandarin, lemon and lime, and spices like star anise and tonka bean. Serve with nasturtium petals or borage, if you can source any.


(Passionfruit custard with sake and lavender)

With the passionfruit I was given, I decided to make a custard. Something about the silky, soothing nature of custards really appeals to me at the moment. If my life were an ad, there would be bluebirds chirping in the background and butterflies fluttering at the edges of my vision as I savour each spoonful.


Granted, this custard is more of a set cream, but it has the texture and lazy flow of a custard, and eats like one, so I’m sticking with the name. This custard is insanely good with ginger boterkoek, or for something a little more fancy, it can also be dressed up with tapioca pearls, sake bubbles and twice-baked lavender shortbread.


(For those moments where you need a little peace and quiet..)

Passionfruit Custard :

415g pouring cream (35% fat)
50g European-style yogurt
185g skim milk
120g passionfruit juice (strained pulp from approximately 6 large passionfruit)
70g caster sugar
2 1/2 leaves gold-strength gelatine, soaked in iced water until soft and pliable

Warm the cream, yogurt, milk, passionfruit juice and sugar in a pan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine, and add it to the cream mixture. Whisk this gently until dissolved, then strain the mixture into a bowl. Allow to cool before pouring it into your desired containers. Allow the custards to chill overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Candied Ginger Boterkoek :
(Boterkoek is a Dutch buttery shortcake. You can alter the flavourings to suit your preferences. This recipe is from Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra)

150g caster sugar
250g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of 1/4 lemon
200g butter, softened
1 egg yolk
a little beaten egg, for glazing
100g stem (preserved) ginger, drained and chopped
75g fine dessicated coconut

55g blanched whole almonds
55g skinned hazelnuts

Mix the caster sugar, flour, salt and lemon zest together in a large bowl. Add the softened butter and egg yolk and knead until everything is well mixed in. Knead in the ginger and coconut. Shape the dough into a ball and put it in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator overnight.

Next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and leave to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 180’C. Grease a 24 cm/9 inch round tin and dust with flour.

Knead the dough very briefly, then shape it into a large disc and put it in the tin. Use your hand to flatten it as evenly as possible to fit the tin. Brush with beaten egg. If you are using almonds or hazelnuts, press them into the surface. Otherwise, score a plaid pattern onto the surface with a fork.

Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Boterkoek should never be hard of crisp, so this should be baked only until just done. It will be soft when it comes out of the oven. Leave to cool until lukewarm in the tin, then carefully turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container in a cool place so that the butter doesn’t go rancid. It will keep for at least 1 week but is at its best after 24 hours.

Twice-baked lavender shortbread :
(based on a recipe from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich)

170g unsalted butter, melted and still warm
5 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
190g plain flour
1 1/4 teaspoons dried lavender buds

Line a 7 x 10 inch pan with baking paper.

In a bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, lavender and salt. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. Spread the dough evenly in the pan. Let it rest overnight on the kitchen counter (don’t refrigerate).

Preheat the oven to 150’C. Bake the shortbread for 45 mins, then remove the pan from the oven. While the shortbread is still warm, use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the shortbread into the desired shapes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then lift the cut pieces onto a baking lined tray, positioning them slightly apart so that they bake evenly. Return the shortbread pieces to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a rack.

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  1. Anh said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 6:05 pm

    wow, Y! The photos and the recipes are perfect! Love this post to bit !

    I’m having some passionfruits in the fridge for pavlova. After reading this, I am changing my mind… slowly…

  2. XiaoYen said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

    How so very lucky of you to live in a place where fruits such as passionfruits can be grown in the backyard. Gosh for me living in San Francisco, since we have mostly fog and cold weather, I think residents here can only grow apples and lemons. That’s about it. I have a few friends who tried to grow peaches and plums but the fruits came out not sweet and small. Your custurd looks awesome. I would have to use frozen passionafruits though.

  3. Meeta said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 6:20 pm

    love passionfruit i’ve been working with it in the kitchen too. but this custard looks incredible refreshing!

  4. Rosa said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

    Passionfruits are so wonderful and taste so out of this world! I love your prettya nd delicious looking creations!



  5. Moya said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

    Thank you for that moment of peace and zen contemplation! It does require a bit of luck and faith to eat a plain passionfruit in the hope of getting one that’s ripe and perfumed instead of a mouthful of pucker but that’s like life, you feel really good when you strike it lucky!

  6. the caked crusader said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 7:34 pm

    your custard is so elegant! Mine is always poured into a bowl filled to capacity!!

  7. mr fox said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

    This has been bookmarked in my ‘to make for my next dinner party’ folder. Love passionfruit, love custard and love nasturtiums my grandmother used to add them to salads and I can never resist nibbling on them when I find a flowering plant.

  8. Sophie said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 8:40 pm

    Waw,Y!! You struck again with 2 fantastic desserts!!

    I am amazed by your culinary dessert making!! What’s here not to loooovvvvveeeee?????

  9. Howard said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

    I love passionfruit and custard so I’m taking note of this recipe so I can make passionsturd. Also, never would of thought passionfruit would go with star anise!

  10. FFichiban said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

    Oooh I want to be one of those ‘other people’!! Hee hee so prettyy! (Yay for bubbles)

  11. shez said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 10:33 pm

    Beautiful. I’ve been waiting to see what your picture was. And oh, the peace and quiet is so much appreciated 🙂

  12. Cannelle Et Vanille said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 12:18 am

    i have been waiting for this one Y. looks absolutely delicious and bright, just like the flavors.

  13. foodwink said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 12:27 am

    Simply spectacular. Thanks for the moment of peace and quiet.

  14. maninas said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 12:37 am

    Gorgeous recipes. And that flower photo is breathtaking!

  15. Manggy said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 1:46 am

    I first tasted passionfruit in San Francisco, where it was served in a vacherin. It was gorgeous and delicious. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to replicate the experience anywhere else when it came to passionfruit – the flavor always seemed off. The flavor combinations you’ve suggested above all sound fab, as this dessert looks. Beautiful.

  16. Carolyn Jung said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 3:30 am

    This is beautiful looking. A light, sprightly dessert that will no doubt put a spring in your step.

  17. matt said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 4:05 am

    WOW, what great uses for passionfruit. that custard looks sensational.

  18. Hannah said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 5:00 am

    Fresh passionfruit is such a treat, it’s very rare to find around here.
    The way you dressed up your custard with tapioca pearls is so elegant, it looks like sweet caviar on top!

  19. cindy said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 7:42 am

    yum, love passion fruit! what a fun gift y! gorgeous!

  20. penny aka jeroxie said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 7:47 am

    Very beautiful. the photos are amazing! And I love the use of lavender.

  21. Juliana said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 9:13 am

    Wow, such a nice dessert, so nice presented! Love passion fruit…although hard to find in the area…

  22. Eva said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 9:34 am

    This is perfection!

  23. Mowie said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 10:32 am

    Gorgeous photos Y! So light, bright and uplifting!

  24. Cakelaw said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 11:07 am

    What a gorgeous selection of desserts. I love passionfruit – you are lucky to receive such nice ones.

  25. Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

    I was reading a boterkoek recipe with dried apricot and now I saw your boterkoek with candied ginger…. It’s a sign for me to make a boterkoek. Beautiful photos, styling and plating. Always in awe with your posts.

  26. Big Boys Oven said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

    looked amazingly chic and trendy elegant, just can’t get my eyes away from it! 🙂

  27. Amanda said,

    March 23, 2010 @ 10:36 pm

    beautiful, as always, Y. Where did you get your lavender? I know Alice Medrich calls for “culinary lavender” – can you get that in Australia?

  28. Trissa said,

    March 24, 2010 @ 7:20 am

    Edible gifts are my favourite too! I love what you’ve done here and am dying to try the passionfruit custard. Oh and, I’ve got a tree of calamansi – if I give you some, will you make me something? hehe… kidding! 🙂

  29. Krista said,

    March 24, 2010 @ 7:31 am

    Such cheering, lovely food! 🙂 The lavender shortbread sounds delightful with the custard – a perfect, light and happy combination. 🙂

  30. Belle@OohLook said,

    March 24, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

    Oh, the custard looks so good! I was watching a Lifestyle Food program where they used the juice from 16 passionfruits for a pudding, and I thought ‘where on earth do you get that many passionfruits?’. Having a tree would help 🙂

  31. Claire said,

    March 24, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

    Oooohhh. That last photo is just beautiful!

  32. Arwen from Hoglet K said,

    March 24, 2010 @ 9:08 pm

    Your custards look like the perfect way to eat homegrown passionfruit.

  33. Angie@Angie's Recipes said,

    March 24, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

    I am fascinated with your desserts! Just elegant!

  34. shaz said,

    March 24, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

    Love how you “play” with your food Y, those tiny tapioca pearls look so beautiful and delicate on the custard/set cream (it sounds mighty fine!). And I really like all the different ways to use one of my favourite fruit (I’ll even eat it neat)

  35. Sweets By Vicky said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 1:21 am

    Oh, I love how this is like a recipe overload post!

    I remember being so enthralled with the flavour of passionfruit that I bought so many to have their pulp frozen. And forgot all about it. But my point is, the flavour is addictive, so refreshing, yet perfectly pleasing. 🙂

  36. Shari said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 3:38 am

    I am passionate about passion fruit. This is a beautiful dessert and your photos are super!

  37. erin said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 9:45 am

    Candied Ginger Boterkoek…mmmm. I always love your pairings!

  38. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 10:36 am

    Your desserts look absolutely delicious. I recently discovered a love of passionfruit after having an amazing souffle flavored with it.

  39. tiina said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 9:02 pm

    So pretty! Those flowers make me think about my Grandma’s garden when I was little.

  40. Hilda said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 11:11 pm

    I love passion fruit, but I do love eating is as is because I love the tart, you know I do. I didn’t know it went well with violet or lavender though, that’s going to have to be a thing to try on the list. Curses: you’re making my list of things to make incredibly long you know. Wish I could eat at the restaurant.

  41. Thip said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 5:17 am

    i love that flower–pretty shot!

  42. veron said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

    Love passion fruit, and I love the smell when I make stuff with it. Your passion fruit custard sounds heavenly!

  43. Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

    Hi, I just like to say Thank you to you for kind sharing of the mochi cake, I have tried using my buttery fingers’s recipe which original from you. We love this mochi cake, next time I gonna to venture into difference flavours. I will follow you..

  44. Jamie said,

    March 27, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

    This is really mouthwatering and beautiful! I have never ever baked with passionfruit but you have put me in the mood. And custard – fabulous! I love it! This dessert so says Spring.

  45. vanillasugar said,

    March 28, 2010 @ 10:15 am

    the custard is just perfect. i know i sound like everyone else, but i love custard and i adore passionfruit.

  46. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said,

    March 28, 2010 @ 7:29 pm

    How did I miss this dessert? You’ve been busy with life no doubt and I only stumbled upon this one. LOL at your life as an ad 😛

  47. anna said,

    March 29, 2010 @ 5:20 am

    This is gorgeous! Passion fruit is so yummy. The flowers are beautiful – what kind of leaves are those? I love the shape.

  48. Y said,

    March 29, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

    Thanks everyone for the lovely comments 🙂

    For those who haven’t baked with passionfruit before, passionfruit sponge is a good place to start. Also shortbread.

    Anna, the leaves are nasturtium leaves. They are peppery, as are the nasturtium petals also used.

  49. Steph (Desserts for Breakfast) said,

    March 31, 2010 @ 6:50 pm

    oh, I wish I lived somewhere where people could grow passionfruit in their backyards! And the tapioca with passion fruit custard is genius–I’m putting this on my immediate “to-try” list.

  50. Sha said,

    April 7, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

    Wonderful recipes that complete each other. A must-try next time I will invite people since the visual result is lovely 🙂

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