This dessert was inspired by the very popular Mallomar-like treat sold during the winter months in Israel, called Krembo (in Hebrew, “cream in it”). Krembo is originally from Denmark, but Israel is now the world’s leading manufacturer. Every winter, 50 million Krembo units, an average of nine Krembos per Israeli, are consumed there. (And you can find them at Kosher Mart in Rockville during winter here, as well.)
While the Mallomar filling is gelatin-based, the Krembo employs an Italian meringue. Both have a cookie bottom, with the marshmallow-mousse piped on top of the cookie and then coated with chocolate.
Consider my version deconstructed, with a spring-ish touch of passion fruit. The Italian meringue becomes a frozen passion fruit mousse with white chocolate shavings on top, which makes it a bit decadent and offers a contrast in textures to go along with the balance of sweet and tangy. Serve it with a (Passover) cookie on the side for the full deconstructed effect.
Italian meringue is fairly simple to make. It can be done without the aid of a candy thermometer; after all, the purpose of this dessert is not to achieve a perfect meringue but a beautiful frozen mousse. I also appreciate the Italian meringue method not only for sentimental value of growing up on Krembo but also for the added heat in processing the egg whites. I do not like to consume raw eggs, even if it’s only their whites. (If you have greater concerns, look for pasteurized eggs.)
The mousse is quick and easy to make. It also freezes fairly quickly. You can make and freeze it. You’ll have leftover yolks, of course, which can be used to make pastry cream or ice cream.
Most passion fruit species are native to South America (Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina) but are now grown in many frost-free zones worldwide.
Passion fruit and other exotic fruits just started showing up in supermarkets now.Even at the height of its season, passion fruit isn’t easy to find and is sold at a premium. The more wrinkled the outer shell of the passion fruit, the riper the fruit is inside. Fresh isn’t a must for the sake of this recipe as the pulp is super authentic without the seeds. The pulp of the passion fruit is watery, similar to thick nectar.
You could just buy one or two and supplement with the more readily available frozen pulp. I find Goya brand frozen pulp at the many Latino markets, such as Americana, in the Washington area.
Thanks to Fun in Fairfax, French Twist DC, the owner of Capitol Supermarket and Jonathan Madnick (my husband) for helping me compile the following list of grocers that carry the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe (among many in the Washington area).
Americana Grocery few locations
European Foods Portuguese, Brazilian & South American foods Arlington
BestWay Supermarket few locations both in Virginia and Maryland
Mega Mart few locations
Americana Grocery few locations
Capitol Supermarket International market
If you find frozen passion fruit pulp in your local Latin market please let us know in comment section.
Frozen Passion Fruit Mousse
Makes a generous 8 servings
This is a lovely dessert for Passover — or for any time of year. If you garnish with the white chocolate shavings, this dessert will be dairy; otherwise, it is pareve without them.
Mango or guava pulp can be used instead of passion fruit.
MAKE AHEAD: The mousse can be frozen a few days in advance. It can be served frozen, or let it defrost slightly, for 10 minutes on top of the counter, before serving.
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup freshor frozen passion fruit pulp, defrosted (see headnote)
4 ounces white chocolate, shaved with a potato peeler, for garnish (optional; see headnote)
Have 8 individual dessert ramekins or cups at hand.
Prep the syrup and egg whites simultaneously. The meringue process should take about 7 minutes.
Combine the sugar (to taste; I prefer the lesser amount because I like desserts that are not super-sweet) and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon-whisk attachment or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low to start and then increase to medium-high speed.
Do not stir the sugar-water mixture; hold the saucepan handle and gently swirl to make sure the sugar has dissolved. Once the mixture comes to a boil to form a thin syrup, immediately reduce the heat to medium-low or low.
Once the egg whites reach the soft-peak stage, reduce the speed to medium. Gradually add the hot sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream. Then increase the speed to high; beat for approximately 1 minute; the mixture should have a sheen. Reduce the speed to medium-low; gradually add the passion fruit pulp until well incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat for a few seconds.
Scoop a 4 generous tablespoons into each ramekin or cup, gently rapping each dish on the counter so the mousse settles. Cool to room temperature, then cover the top of each one with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 days in advance.
If desired, sprinkle the white chocolate shavings over each portion just before serving.