This Passionfruit Dark Chocolate Dessert combines a luscious dark chocolate flourless cake layer with a passionfruit curd. Garnished with a bit of fresh passionfruit (aka maracuya), this Peruvian-Inspired dessert recipe is a luxurious and decadent gluten free dessert to share with your loved one for #ValentinesDay!
As I mentioned in the introductory description of the recipe for this Passionfruit Dark Chocolate Dessert, the inspiration for the recipe was a dark chocolate and maracuya bar I had at the Choco Museo in Pisac, Peru.
Having traveled extensively in Peru’s Sacred Valley (Valle Sagrado) and the Andes Mountains (Montagnes des Andes), many of my recipes include either Peruvian ingredients or Peruvian inspiration. I still struggle to find many of the ingredients used in Peruvian cooking, but I’m doing my best to bring the flavors I’ve embraced to the kitchens of home cooks outside this beautiful country!
Disclaimer: I do not pretend to bring you authentic Peruvian recipes; rather I bring you some of the flavors of Peru.
In this spirit, I began playing with the flavors of that chocolate bar I enjoyed at the Choco Museo at least 2 of our 3 month-long trips to Peru. I don’t know that I ever had a chocolate and maracuya dessert in Peru, but WOW, the flavors play so well together.
This Peruvian-inspired Passionfruit and Dark Chocolate Dessert is a special occasion dessert perfect for Valentine’s Day or an elegant small dinner party. While it is not overly complicated or time-consuming , neither is it quick. With Valentine’s Day just a month away, I will say my hubby is looking forward to having it again!
A Few Photos from Pisac, Peru!
How to Make Passionfruit Dark Chocolate Dessert
This Peruvian-inspired dessert has 2 components: A dense dark chocolate flourless cake, and an easy passionfruit curd that is made the same way as the orange curd in my Mexican chocolate trifle (another special occasion dessert!). The curd can be made while the cake bakes, so all told, you’re in for about an hour.
Start by assembling the ingredients…
Passionfruit Dark Chocolate Dessert Ingredients
Passionfruit Dark Chocolate Dessert Steps
- Make the flourless chocolate cake batter – chop the chocolate and butter into pieces (see photos). Boil the water with sugar and salt, then pour over the prepared chocolate and butter. Stir thoroughly until melted and smooth. Cool before adding the whisked eggs and triple sec.
- Pour batter into prepared dishes (trifle bowls, ramekins) – Spray the dishes just to be safe. After placing them in a large enough pan, place on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Pour boiling water CAREFULLY into the pan. Bake until the cakes have risen and the tops are a little puffy and they look set but not dry (about 30-35 minutes depending on how deep the mixture is).
- While the cake bakes, prepare the passionfruit curd – My passionfruit curd is SIMPLE! The ingredients go into a blender or food processor until smooth and thoroughly combined. If you’re an experienced cook that pays attention, you can cook it with direct heat on the stove. Otherwise, you’re better off to use a double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
- To serve – When the flourless chocolate cakes and passionfruit curd are cooled to room temperature, spoon one-fourth of the curd over each dish. Top with a spoonful of fresh passionfruit if desired. Enjoy!
Tips and FAQ
- Butter is part of both the passionfruit curd and the flourless chocolate cake. Butter measurements can be confusing. See this Butter chart for additional information. Both recipes specify “unsalted” butter, but you can substitute “salted” butter. Be sure to omit the salt in both recipes.
- Using fresh passionfruit pulp is (of course 😋) preferred, but not always practical. I purchased 1 maracuya that just happened to be a day shy of “ripe.” It was $5.98 for 1! I love the added texture and acidity it adds to the dessert, but it is totally optional. Frozen passionfruit pulp is widely available, and something I almost always have in my freezer. On photo day, I used a combination of Goya frozen pulp and fresh from the passionfruit I used as garnish
- I like REALLY DARK CHOCOLATE. 72% bittersweet chocolate is almost always on hand, and we love the end result. I also prefer a good quality bar chocolate to a bag of chips. The choice is yours. If you use less than 72% dark, you may want to decrease the sugar a bit. Conversely, if you use a darker chocolate, you may want to increase the sugar.
- After doing a little bit of research on my Anchor Hocking trifle dishes, I discovered they are oven safe to 425°. The flourless cake is cooked in a 375° oven (350° convection), so I have no problem. Of course I want the beautiful photos, so glass is preferable. Oven safe ramekins are a good alternative, and the smaller ones should hold about the same amount.
- Can I make this dessert recipe ahead? Absolutely. I recommend adding the passionfruit curd just prior to serving to keep the texture of the cake from getting mushy. Homemade curds will keep 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator, and the cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer. Be sure to bring the cake to room temperature before serving!
- What can I substitute for triple sec? You can substitute water, but where’s the fun in that? Seriously, though, the alcohol cooks out and leaves a hint of orange flavor. You could use orange juice, or another orange liqueur.
- What can I substitute for passionfruit pulp? I have made lemon, orange, and blood orange curd. All would be great with the flourless cake.
- Can I use fresh passionfruit/maracuya? If you are lucky enough to find them, by all means use them! Look for wrinkled but not dessicated fruit. Reserve the seed for garnish as shown in the photos. How to prepare passionfruit.
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In closing, this Peruvian-inspired dessert probably isn’t one to take to a potluck. You need a good hour of undivided attention, and intermediate cooking skills… Trust me when I say, it will impress! Just ask Mark. 💘
I do realize this decadent passionfruit and chocolate dessert is not “healthy” or even “healthyish.” All things in moderation!
Flourless Chocolate Cake Layer
- 8-9 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (see notes)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons triple sec (optional, see notes)
Passionfruit Curd Layer
- 1/4 cup passionfruit pulp (see notes)
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- Preheat oven to 375° (350° convection).
- Make the flourless chocolate cake batter - chop the chocolate and butter into pieces (see photos). Boil the water with sugar and salt, then pour over the prepared chocolate and butter. Stir thoroughly until melted and smooth. Cool before adding the whisked eggs and triple sec.
- Pour batter into prepared dishes (trifle bowls, ramekins) - Spray the dishes just to be safe. After placing them in a large enough pan, place on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Pour boiling water CAREFULLY into the pan. Bake until the cakes have risen and the tops are a little puffy and they look set but not dry (about 30-35 minutes depending on how deep the mixture is). I have read a couple of recipes that suggest 140° with an instant read thermometer is about right.
- While the cake bakes, prepare the passionfruit curd - My passionfruit curd is SIMPLE! The ingredients go into a blender or food processor until smooth and thoroughly combined. If you're an experienced cook that pays attention, you can cook it with direct heat on the stove. Otherwise, you're better off to use a double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Cool.
- To serve - When the flourless chocolate cakes and passionfruit curd are both cooled to room temperature, spoon one-fourth of the curd over each dish. Top with a spoonful of fresh passionfruit if desired. Enjoy!
I prefer a good quality 72% dark chocolate bar to chips, but if you can find really good quality chips, by all means use them! This will save time chopping.
If you use salted butter, omit the salt in both recipes.
As explained in the post, fresh passionfruit is expensive due to its fragile nature. If you're lucky enough to have fresh passionfruit, see How to Prepare Passionfruit.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 770