I love tropical flavors in desserts. While coconut and banana are quite common in desserts, flavors like guava and passion fruit are much less common. These fruits have a shorter season and tend to be a bit more fragile, which makes importing them a bit trickier, so you’re less likely to see them in your local markets. Fortunately, if you happen to stop by some international markets, you’ll not only find tropical fruits that are more easily available but a variety of frozen tropical fruits and concentrated juices that you can work into your recipes even when the fruits aren’t in season. In short, tropical desserts can be made easily all year round if you know where to look!
I absolutely adore these Passion Fruit Coconut Muffins and I suspect that you will, too. They have a dense, soft crumb and are loaded with lots of shredded coconut in every bite. The sweet-tart, tropical flavor of passion fruit dominates the muffins, making you feel like you should be having your breakfast at some beachside cafe instead of in your kitchen. They use a lot of fresh passion fruit juice, which you can make yourself if you stock up on passion fruits at the market. The puree/juice is tart and floral, with a subtle underlying sweetness that is brought out when you add sugar.
The muffins themselves are very easy to make once you have the passion fruit juice on hand to work with, as everything is mixed up in one bowl. Melted butter is stirred in after all the other ingredients, tenderizing the batter. I topped my muffins with a little bit of coarse sugar, but they would also be nice with a glaze of passion fruit juice and confectioners’ sugar. If you prefer to play up the coconut, add a teaspoon or two of shredded coconut to the top of each muffin before baking. These muffins keep well in an airtight container for a couple of days after baking, but are ready to eat as soon as they have cooled.
Passion Fruit Coconut Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup passion fruit puree*
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut, pref. sweetened
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
coarse sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in passion fruit puree/juice, egg and vanilla. Whisk until the ingredients start to come together, then add in coconut. Mix until batter is uniform and no streaks of flour remain visible. Pour in melted butter and stir until batter is smooth and all of the butter has been incorporated.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with 1/2 teaspoon or so of course sugar.
Bake for 17-19 minutes, until muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.
*For my purposes, fresh passion fruit puree and fresh passion fruit juice should be the same thing: the liquid from a fresh passion fruit. If you are using a concentrate, make sure it doesn’t include any additional sweeteners!