The passion fruit vine has switching into high gear. I am collecting about 15 passionfruit a day at the moment. I’ve been spending lazy, dreamy days thinking up recipes that will benefit from the tangy, sharpness of the fruit. Perhaps I could update Mum’s Lemon Mousse recipe from the seventies:
I’m sitting on the third from top step of the staircase. It’s long and straight with only a light grey shadow on the wall next to me where I wrote: “Phil was here”. Phil is my sister and the unlucky recipient of the ensuing punishment. I’d been send to bed at the usual time but it feels unfair on three counts. First: Its summer in Yorkshire and although late in the evening, it’s still daylight outside. My thin cotton curtains, printed with yellow daisies, do a poor job of keeping the light out.
Second: The laughter and voices of the adults attending one of Mum’s dinner parties below, drift up the stairs. It is alluring because it’s too loud to ignore their hilarity and too soft for me to make out any actual words. Over the course of the last few minutes (feels like hours) I have drifted, so slowly, you probably couldn’t see me move. First I crawled on hands and knees from my bedroom to the stairs. Now quietly, quietly I bum-shuffle down first one, then two and now three stairs. By the end of the evening I will be two thirds of the way down and both Mum and Dad will do a fine job of pretending they don’t see me there. They know the third, and most important reason: Mum’s Lemon Mousse (its re-incarnation as passion fruit mousse is many years in the future).
Mum’s mousse (and she will go on to make it on high days and holidays for years to come, cheating by using lemon jelly powder when its just family) is a triumph in freedom from concern about ingredients. Worries about children and raw eggs are all terrors of the future. Living on a farm means that the ‘green-top’ milk is almost certainly unpasteurised. All I know is that the mousse is a thing of wonder and beauty. Sweet, tart, so light I can barely feel it on my lips. The palest of creamy yellow. My mouth waters and I imagine how I will use the broad flat serving spoon with the knobbly handle to slurp up airy mouthfuls before anyone else wakes in the morning.
Forty odd years later I find that Mum is remarkably willing to give up the recipe for such an ambrosial dessert and, even more surprising and delicious, the recipe can easily be modified for passion fruit. Here goes: