Outside it is a dreary, rainy day in Boston. Here in my kitchen, though, it's downright tropical. Sure, it's a balmy 75 degrees because my oven's been on. But really the island atmosphere comes from these passion fruit shortbread bars, which burst with the taste of summer and sunshine.
I got my hands on some frozen passion fruit puree (Goya brand) the last time I was at the local hispanic grocery, and I've been looking for the perfect recipe to showcase the bright, fragrant flavor of passion fruit ever since. Then I had a lemon bar the other day and got inspired: perhaps I could make a similar dessert with passion fruit?
The results were even better than I expected! The bars are tart, sweet, aromatic, sticky, and so, so delicious. And they boldly kick the ass of any pedestrian lemon bar.
Passion Fruit Shortbread Bars
Step 1: Make shortbread crust (adapted from Martha Stewart's Raspberry Crumb Bars)
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan. Line with parchment paper, and lightly butter the parchment as well. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together 5.5 ounces ground almonds, 1.5 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon salt. Cut in 8 oz. butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. using your fingers, squeeze the mixture together to create pea-size crumbs with a few larger clumps.
Transfer crumb mixture to prepared baking pan. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper. Using the back of a large spoon, press dough evenly into pan, lifting the parchment occasionally to ensure it doesn't stick. With a wine bottle or small rolling pin, roll along the length of the pan to smooth dough. Dough should be firmly packed, with no holes or cracks. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until lightly golden all over, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool.
Step 2: Make passionfruit filling (adapted from use real butter)
Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Whisk or beat 6 large eggs until frothy. Whisk in 2 cups sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time. Then beat in the 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsps flour and 1.5 tsp. baking powder until well-mixed. Pour 2/3 cup passion fruit purée and whisk or beat until thoroughly combined.
Pour the filling over the crust in the baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top of the bars are golden brown and the center is firm. Cool completely and refrigerate for 3+ hours before slicing. Serve with a dusting of confectioner's sugar.