I apologize for my month-long absence! I have been traveling, and truly enjoying not looking at a computer more than for a few moments once or twice a week. Over Christmas and New Year I was on Maui with my mother (see photos above). Then I came home to NYC for four days, during which I went to eight meetings and four rehearsals. Even by New York standards, that is a whole lot to pack into 4 days. Then, I went to Chile with my husband and a bunch of my favourite people to do a huge show involving puppet spectacle and a full orchestra.
The truth is that usually, when you tour somewhere fabulous to do a show, you spend all of your time inside a dark theater rehearsing, fixing puppets and performing. As you can see from the above photos, this tour to Chile was different! We had time to swim in the lake, go exploring, have tea, get in the sun….and the show was STILL awesome, by the way. Finally, my husband and I traveled around middle Chile for about a week.
There is no way to point this out without gloating, so I’m just going to embrace it. I just managed to avoid a full month of New York winter!!! Life is good!
While I was on Maui, I became obsessed with eating Lilikoi (passionfruit). In retrospect, I cannot understand why I did not eat more of it when I lived there. One more regret to add to the heap of regrets about my years spent in tropical paradise. Why did I spend all of my highschool years doing theater in a darkened room? Why did I stop going to the beach just because of my big white thighs? Why didn’t I get my daddy to teach me how to sail? Why did I not eat fresh lilikoi as much as humanly possible?
In Chile, Passionfruit is called Maracuya and it is a standard flavour at the many artisanal ice cream shops. You can also sometimes get fresh passionfruit juice with Pisco. Pisco, a brandy made of muscat grapes, is Chile’s national drink and it is delicious. More on this when my home city thaws out.
I have never seen passionfruit in New York, but a quick internet search reveals that they can sometimes be found in Chinese, Caribbean, Latin and super expensive gourmet markets. apparently, the Goya brand frozen pulp is easier to find and cheaper. I’ll be looking into the pulp option. Having grown up eating tropical fruit on a tropical island, I am consistently horrified by the cost and quality of tropical fruit on the mainland.
If you are lucky enough to live in a place where passionfruit grows, please eat as many of them as you can. A ripe passionfruit will perfume your entire kitchen with the most intoxicating smell. The outside is a tough thick skin that encloses an orange pulp full of black seeds. You eat the sweet tart pulp, seeds and all. Look for the little, wrinkly, ugly, sweet ones.
I made this pie for my mother. I wanted to make something inspired by these tiny sloppy gluten-free guava and cream cheese tarts, but my mother cannot eat gluten or dairy. I used my only dairy and gluten-free crust recipe and luckily the coconut flavour is perfect with the lilikoi. I cannot believe how good this cashew cream stuff is. We had some leftover, which we froze and took on a road trip to Hana along with some fresh local strawberries. After a couple of hours of thawing the cashew cream was a perfect cold whipped topping to dip the berries into. Think of it as cool whip only waaaaaay better.
PASSIONFRUIT CREAM PIE WITH A COCONUT CRUST (VEGAN AND GLUTEN-FREE)
- 2/3 cup unsweetened finely shredded dried coconut
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and still warm
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup brown or white rice flour
- 3 Tablespoons potato starch
- 2 Tablespoon tapioca flour
- Place a heavy baking sheet in the lower third of the oven and pre-heat to 425 degrees.
- Toast the coconut in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until it starts to change color. When it starts to turn color, turn the heat way down (or off if you are using cast iron) and continue cooking and stirring until it is golden. Transfer toasted coconut to a medium bowl.
- Add the sugar, melted coconut oil, vanilla, and salt to the coconut and mix well.
- Add the brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch and mix until combined.
- Turn out dough into a tart pan and press it evenly into the sides, and across the bottom, so that there are no cracks. Place tart pan onto the baking sheet in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Let the crust cool completely before filling it.
Cashew Cream and Lilikoi Topping
- 2 cup cashews, soaked overnight and then drained
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 6 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6-8 ripe, fresh lilikoi
- Process or blend all the ingredients, except the lilikoi until smooth & creamy. Pour the cashew cream into the crust and freeze for 2 hours or more.
- About 30 minutes before serving, take the tart out of the freezer. Cut the lilikoi fruits in half and scoop the seeds and flesh out onto the tart.
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