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June/July 2006
A Simple Sweet Summer Treat
Recipe by Louisa Shafia

This is a simple dessert that is aesthetically beautiful, and incorporates a few distinct yet complementary flavors. It requires no cooking and is ideal for summer, when passion fruit, the centerpiece of the dish, is in season. This dessert is elegant and light by itself, but if you want something a little heavier, you can use it to dress up ice cream or cake.

A little about passion fruit: they are native to South America, from southern Brazil through Paraguay to northern Argentina. They made their way to mainland U.S. via Hawaii, where they were first planted in the 1880s to enhance home gardens with their stunningly beautiful flowers. Though there are several different varieties, the one most commonly found in stores is the purple passion fruit, commercially cultivated in Florida. Purple passion fruit is in season from late May through early July. If you really fall in love with them, you can take a trip to San Francisco in the fall, where a yellow variety of passion fruit can be found growing wild around the city.

Not every market in New York carries passion fruits, but two places where I’ve found them are the Manhattan Fruit Exchange inside Chelsea Market (79 9 Avenue at 15 Street), and Integral Yoga Natural Foods (229 W. 13 Street, between 7 and 8 Avenues).

Once cut open, the fruits have a wonderful perfumed aroma, and a dramatic interior of purple membranes with yellow flesh and grey seeds. For a special occasion, save the passion fruit rinds after you have scooped out the flesh, and use the rinds as cups to serve the finished dessert.

Passion Fruit and Orange with Shaved Chocolate

5 Passion Fruits
5 Oranges
2 oz. Semisweet Chocolate (1⁄2 of a standard 3.5 ounce bar)
3 T. Brandy, Rum or Bourbon
4 T. Sugar
1⁄4 Bunch Fresh Mint Leaves, picked, cleaned and dried

1. Carefully slice the passion fruits in half crosswise and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Over a bowl, cut the oranges into supremes. To make supremes, slice the skin and the pith away from the fruit so you can clearly see the membrane surrounding each section of the orange. Slice the flesh next to the membrane on either side of each section. You should end up with slices that are completely free of seeds, skin or membrane. As you work, let the extra juices from the oranges fall into the bowl with the supremes.

3. When you are done slicing the oranges, use a spoon to remove the slices from the juice and add them to the passion fruit, but leave the juice in the bowl. Add the liquor and sugar to the orange juice and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

4. Pour the sugar and juice over the passion fruit and oranges and toss. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

5. Using a mandoline or a peeler, shave the chocolate into a bowl. Remove the passion fruit from the refrigerator and sprinkle with the chocolate shavings. Stir gently to incorporate the chocolate into the fruit.

6. To serve, spoon the fruit and juices into parfait glasses and sprinkle with extra chocolate and a few mint leaves.

Serves 8.

Louisa Shafia is a cooking instructor, private chef and caterer with her company, Lucid Food catering. To learn more, visit



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