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Two Decadent New Year’s Desserts

Passion fruit and white chocolate yogurt mousse. Photograph by Vared Guttman

(Haaretz) — Getting ready to ring in the New Year also means we have only one more chance to eat decadent food and drink champagne before a new season full of diets falls upon us.

To help you enjoy this time to the fullest, I’ve included two outrageously sinful desserts, both served in cups, which would do well at a cocktail party complete with bubbly drinks. One is an homage to the French Mont Blanc dessert of meringue, whipped cream and chestnut cream, here in a quick version with the addition of very dark chocolate (100% cocoa butter, to be precise). The second, my favorite, is a white chocolate and Greek yogurt mousse topped with fresh pureed passion fruit.

A few words about passion fruit and Israel’s food scene. The South American native vine grows freely in Israel and its beautiful flowers decorate many houses. Somewhere in the late 90’s the fruit was discovered by young Israeli chefs and soon took the country by storm. My favorite dessert from that period was served at Mika Sharon’s Mika, a fusion restaurant in Tel Aviv. It was a small tart filled with passion fruit curd with a bruleed top, served with passion fruit sorbet.

But things got out of control. Every kiosk started serving passion fruit drinks, every restaurant had some kind of white-chocolate-passion-fruit dessert (truly, a match made in heaven), and every salad was served with passion fruit vinaigrette. So much so, that a group of bored foodies formed a society against passion Fruit. Luckily, passion fruit is still popular in Israel for everyone to enjoy, albeit in moderation.

A visit to Whole Foods earlier this week reminded me why I only enjoy passion fruit during my visits to Israel. With the price tag of $2.49 each (which would be about the price per pound in Israel), it’s definitely a once-a-year treat. And New Year’s is the perfect opportunity to have it.

Passion Fruit and White Chocolate Yogurt Mousse

Passion fruit is available at many big chain supermarkets, as well as some of the Asian mega markets.

Serves 6 15 minutes of work (plus 2 hours chilling time) for a truly perfect dessert

12 ounces white chocolate chips
¾ cup whipping cream
1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
6 shortbread cookies
¼ cup milk
4-5 passion fruits

Directions:

1) Put white chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Bring cream to a boil (in a pot over medium-high heat or in the microwave) and pour over chocolate chips. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir quickly to create a smooth cream. Let stand for 15 minutes to cool down, then fold in the Greek yogurt.

2) Put cookies in a plastic ziplock bag, seal, and use a rolling pin to crumble them to rice size crumbles. Transfer to a small bowl, add milk and mix. Divide between 6 dessert cups.

3) Spoon white chocolate mousse over cookie crumbs, shake cups to smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

4) Before serving, spoon the pulp of passion fruits into a bowl. Using a fork, stir gently to make pulp smooth. Spoon passion fruit over chocolate mousse, seeds included, and serve.

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