Hawaiian Passion Fruit Chiffon Pie aka Lilikoi Chiffon Pie.
This is pie perfection as far as I am concerned. Light, flaky crust filled with an almost lighter than air tart passion fruit chiffon filling, and a sweet marshmallowy frosting and topped with fresh passion fruit seeds. If Hawaii was a pie, this would be it. (This is a long post, but there is important information in it for pie baking success).
I counted and this passion fruit chiffon pie is the 5th pie I have ever made. Besides testing the recipe of course. But 5th flavor of pie. I made an apple pie once before starting a blog, a boozy pumpkin pie, a persimmon pear pie, a coconut cream pie and now this one.
I have made a few galettes, or free form pies, but I don’t count those since those are easier to make. For being someone who claims to not like pie, I am getting better at making them. And eating them.
This passion fruit chiffon pie isn’t my original idea. It comes from Hamura Saimin in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii. A little hole in the wall mom and pop Hawaiian Saimin restaurant.
They are known for two things: Saimin and this pie. Hamura Saimin is a “No-frills, counter-serve space for saimin (a classic Hawaiian noodle soup) & lilikoi chiffon pie.” I LOVE Hawaiian saimin. So you go for the saimin, stay for the pie.
At Hamura Saimin the menu is pretty simple, counter style community seating and everyone there is like family. And if you don’t know who you are sitting next to by the end of the meal everyone is calling each other “cousin” or “cuz”. Because that is the Aloha way. This is a must stop on our ” Places to eat at on Kauai” list. Their saimin is amazing, the pie even more amazing. You caneven order a whole pie to go as well as ordering slices to eat while there.
I adore all things passion fruit. Their pie was so light and airy, that sweet-tart tang of the passion fruit and lightly sweetened creamy topping that resembles meringue. Some say Hamura Saimin uses cool-whip, but it didn’t seem like cool-whip to me, I decided to go with a meringue topping instead for my version.
The Hamura Saimin lilikoi chiffon pie had the lightest, flakiest crust I had ever seen. I am not a pie crust expert but ever since making The Bravetart’s pie crust for my coconut pie I have become a fan and I knew it would work perfectly for this pie.
Make your pie crust ahead of time and freeze it overnight or you can even save time by using a storebought pie. Since the filling is no-bake the longest part of making this pie is the chilling to set the filling.
How do you make passion fruit chiffon pie?
This pie has three components – pie crust, passion fruit filling, meringue topping. The majority of the pie making time is chilling the dough.
The pie filling requires, eggs, sugar, passion fruit juice and puree, gelatin, some lemon zest and optional passion fruit seeds.
Hamura Saimin’s version does not have the passion fruit seeds in it, so they are completely optional. I like them so I add them into the filling as well as spooned over the top.
Just LOOK at how flaky that pie crust is? Stella’s recipe is perfection and so easy to make. Even for a relative pie-crust newbie like myself.
I love vintage Hawaiian cookbooks. I always try to find some on my vacations to the islands. When we went to Maui in 2015 we had the most amazing banana, mango, guava and passion fruit breads from road-side stands on the way to Hana, from the Maui swap meet and farmers markets.
I was on the hunt for those recipes to recreate at home. We went to the Talk Story bookstore in Hanapepe. The westernmost book store in the United States. I headed straight for the cookbooks.
I flipped through a few looking for the bread recipes, not even thinking about pie recipes. I bought a few that I found and packed them in my suitcase to bring home to add to my collection.
I spied the passion fruit chiffon pie recipes and knew I wanted to make it. Its just like Hamura’s pie!
The recipe calls for passion fruit juice. The Hamura Saimin lilikoi pie is a pale buttery yellow and I had fresh purple passion fruits. ( Yellow are more common on the islands, I can only find purple here in Las Vegas). I also had passion fruit juice from Aunty Lilikoi that is more orange in color.
I decided to adapt the recipe a little and use both the pulp with seeds and the juice. Passion fruit puree can also be used. For the topping I made a 7 minute frosting that is super easy to make and is a marshmallow-like meringue frosting. It balances out the tart passionfruit chiffon so well.
I love the look of the passion fruit seeds in the pie and I also drizzled one passion fruit’s worth of seeds and pulp over the top to give it more visual appeal. I love how this pie came out, both looks wise and taste. I might just become a pie master after all!!
A few notes about this Hawaiian Passion Fruit Chiffon Pie ( Lilikoi Chiffon Pie) recipe first:
- If this is your first time making pie make sure you have plenty of time to do so. Recipe prep, cook and additional times are always approximate since everyone cooks and bakes at a different pace.
- The pie crust can be made first then frozen. This is a no-bake pie so you want the crust fully baked ahead of making the rest of the pie
- If you use all fresh passion fruits, there is a neat trick to separate the seeds from the rest of the pulp and juice – add to a blender and whiz on low for just a few seconds. Then strain. This separates the juice way faster than by scraping with a spatula through a sieve.
- This pie has egg whites folded into the filling, but they are not baked. If you want to be on the safer side, use pasteurized eggs.
- I use a 7 minute meringue topping for the pie which the sweetness balances out the tartness of the filling. Want to save even more time? Use any whipped topping you like – whipped cream, frozen whipped topping, etc. Even ice cream would be good
- The pie is best served the day after it is made since it needs a minimum of 4 hours to chill. I make at night, chill overnight then enjoy the next day. Pie for breakfast anyone?
- This pie keeps really well in the freezer. Thaw in refrigerator before serving.
- 1 Pre-baked 9” round pie crust - I use this recipe from The Bravetart on Serious Eats
- You can use a store-bought pie crust or make your own recipe. Time to make this pie depends on if you use a pre-baked pie crust or make one the day of making the pie. The pie is best served the next day so chilling overnight will yield a longer prep time.
For the Filling:
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup fresh passionfruit pulp ( including seeds-optional)
- 1/2 cup passion fruit juice/puree* ( either fresh or thawed from frozen)
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided (200 g)
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp granulated gelatin
- 4 Tbsp cold water
- 1 tsp lemon zest ( I used meyer lemon)
For the meringue topping:
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 g)
- 2 egg whites
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Make your pie crust if using the recipe I linked from Serious Eats or your own, or use a store bought crust. You can make the pie crust a day ahead of time and freeze it.
For the pie filling:
Set a pan of water over medium high heat and bring to a steady simmer. Make sure the water level is low enough that a bowl set on top wont touch it. Lower the heat slightly and keep simmering.
In a small bowl add the 4 tablespoons of cold water and sprinkle the gelatin over to soften.
In a bowl that will fit over the pan of simmering water, whisk the egg yolks until thickened and lighter in color, add in passion fruit pulp and juice ( or puree), zest, 1/2 cup of sugar and salt. Set over the pan of simmering water and whisk until thickened. About 8-10 minutes. Make sure to stir constantly so the egg doesn’t scramble. Add in the softened gelatin and stir until melted. Remove from heat and cool until thickened and slightly congealed on top.
Whip the egg whites until foamy, slowly add in the remaining sugar and then whip until stiff peaks are formed and the meringue is glossy. Fold into the passion fruit mixture and stir until fully combined. Fill the pie crust with the mixture and chill at least 4 hours up to overnight.
To make the frosting:
Using the same double boiler method as the pie filling, set a pan of simmering water over the stove. In a bowl that fits the pan but won't be touching the water, whisk the frosting ingredients except for the vanilla for one minute using a hand mixer. Set the bowl over the simmering water and continue to mix on high for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla extract. Let cool slightly then spread on the top of the chilled pie. Garnish with passion fruit pulp over the top and serve.
Passion Fruit can be found at specialty markets or in the tropical food sections of most well stocked grocery stores. Same with passion fruit juice and frozen puree. I use Aunty Lilikoi passion fruit juice. I order from them online. I prefer it since it is a thicker juice that is 100% passion fruit and not thinned out with water or other fruit juices and no added sweeteners. Its nice and tart. You can find frozen passion fruit puree at any well stocked Mexican or Latin grocery store or international market. Thaw fully before using.
Including the seeds in the pie and as garnish is optional.
Aloha and happy PI day!! Hope you try my version of the recipe for Hamura Saimin’s passion fruit chiffon pie. If you do let me know! I always love hearing when readers make my recipes.