Lilikoi Bars.

Since I’m going back to my precious Maui in March (and Molokai this time), I think I’m just going to stay in a tropical state of mind. Any other year I’d be thinking of what I can make with coconut nog, cranberries, pumpkins and ginger and apples. And while I still love all of those things, my mind keeps thinking pog…..passionfruit, orange, guava…..and pineapples….and mangoes….and breadfruit! The other day I drove around and around looking to see if I could find some fresh breadfruit. I went to 4 asian markets and found all kinds of treats like yuzu and culantro–no that is not a typo. I finally ended up in a tiny caribbean market in what I think just might have been south central. No worries though because they had frozen breadfruit! Not my breadfruit of choice, but I can definitely make the ulu-corn chowder I was thinking about. All of the Jamaicans were curiously asking about how I even knew about breadfruit. I told them about Hawaii and they were shocked to learn that Hawaiians know breadfruit. I told them that the largest collection of different breadfruit trees is on Maui in Kahanu Gardens. I drove by Kahanu Gardens after I was full of Coconut Glen’s ice cream, but did not go in. We could see the breadfruit trees and different varieties from the car, but next trip I plan to take a tour.

But sheesh, this isn’t a post about breadfruit. I wanted to talk about lilikoi, aka passionfruit. Here in CA we typically get the purple fruits like these:

lilikoi2

They get all wrinkly on the outside when they are ripe. Then you just split them open and suck out the tart insides, which are filled with edible dark seeds. Passionfruit has a pretty unique flavor and is distinctly tropical. They are available at lots of CA farmer’s markets when they’re in season here and I have seen them at grocery stores like Whole Foods and such too. I bought some from the farmer’s market while on Maui and just ate them as snacks.

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Then the other day I got into my head that I wanted to make something with them. I made a passionfruit cupcake once that was good cupcake but lacking in passionfruit flavor. This time I decided to do bars. It was an experiment, as most non-vegan bars are made of eggs and gelatin. These bars are tofu based and not overly sweet. To add that extra bit of sweetness, just dust them with confectioner’s sugar when they are all cool. I forgot to do that, for my eating pleasure and for my picture, so excuse my naked bars. The lilikoi is subtle in these bars, but you get the flavor. The crust is like shortbread, buttery and really rich with the macadamias. The turmeric is added simply for color. The bars would be a yucky off-white because of the inclusion of the tofu. The lilikoi juice is a light orange and is not enough to give something a bold color without eggs. I originally added an entire tsp of turmeric, but I think 1/2 tsp should do the trick just fine.

Lilikoi Bars

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Ingredients:

Crust:

1 1/3 c unbleached all purpose flour

1/3 c macadamia nuts, chopped

1/3 powdered sugar

¾ c Earth Balance, slightly softened

Filling:

1/3 c lilikoi juice

1 c extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu brand), pureed in food processor until smooth

¼ c unbleached all purpose flour

1 ½ c unbleached cane sugar

½ tsp turmeric

1 ½ tsp baking powder

Pinch of sea salt

Powdered sugar for dusting *optional

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, nuts, & sugar. Mix in the softened Earth Balance until well combined. Press the mixture into a lightly greased 8×8 square dish for thicker bars, or a 9×13 for thin bars.  Bake crust for 12-15 minutes or when it starts looking golden. Remove from oven and let cool while you make the filling.

Combine all ingredients for the filling (except for powdered sugar) and whisk. Make sure the mixture is well blended and pour into the baked crust. Put back in the oven and bake for 30-40 min or until filling seems mostly set. It may jiggle just a bit in the center. After the bars have cooled, dust with powdered sugar.

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