Friday, March 06, 2009

Doing the Maths

There's something about the fragrance of passion fruit that really makes me delirious. And it's one of the few foods which, in my opinion, taste just as heavenly as they smell. The morbid and heavily Christian Spanish, on discovering the fruit in South America, gave it the name passion fruit as the flower reminded them of the passion of Christ. Well, you figure it out. I'm not interested.

I promised to bring a dessert to our Danish neighbours' home the other night, as they kindly invited me up for dinner and to watch a couple of documentaries they were involved in (conservation of turtles and whale sharks in Southeast Asia).

I took them a passion fruit Quatres Quarts ("four fourths") which I'm told is rather like the English pound cake. I'm not great at baking (I leave that to my daughter) but I seem to have a knack with this easy basic cake, made as follows (this one's for you, Lene):

3 eggs
plain flour, sugar and butter
1 1/2 teaspoons sifted baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2-1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons passion fruit pulp (or other flavouring such as grated lemon zest)

Weigh the eggs (mine usually total around 180 g) and set aside. Weigh an equal amount of flour, sugar and butter. Blend the sugar and butter until smooth (I do this in my food processor fitted with a plastic blade, since I don't have a proper cake mixer), beat in the eggs, salt and vanilla, then pulse several times to mix in the passion fruit. Put in a greased cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper and bake at around 180 degrees C until cooked, around 45-50 minutes, depending on how wide your tin is. Turn out and cool on a rack. Eat with gentle sighs and start planning where to plant your own passion fruit vine.

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