This Brazilian passion fruit mousse (mousse de maracuja) is an easy three ingredient dessert that’s creamy, gently fruity and aromatically delicious. Perfect for any occasion.
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I’m not quite sure how I got a taste for passion fruit, growing up in Scotland where they are far from local. That’s not quite true: it was my mum, who would sometimes make a simple dessert of mango and passion fruit which we all loved.
They’re not something I would see often in the US or at least didn’t look out for. But I have been very aware of how much I have seen them here in Australia so have indulged a few times. They’re wonderful in a mango passion fruit Eton mess, for example.
Of course, they are now, apparently, in the list of fancy foods my kids have taken a liking to (along with lobster, sushi and others). Not that I can fault them, of course.
I know some people would say passion fruit are too tart to snack on by themselves, my kids and I would disagree. We are probably not the best judges, however, since we all like citrus and mango, which you could say these are a cross between flavor-wise.
Whether you find them a little too much on their own or not, however, you still need to give this delicious dessert a try. It’s super easy, creamy and sweet with a delicately fruity flavor. Plus even better, it’s made ahead so it’s great for serving at a party.
Where is passion fruit mousse from?
I first heard about this from a Brazilian friend and I immediately loved the sound of it. Of course, like so many things I have good intentions of making, I then forgot about it for a while.
When I re-discovered it, most descriptions I found initially said this mousse is Brazilian. But then as I was checking the spelling of the name, I found a few descriptions saying Portuguese.
Since I can’t track down a definitive origin, my best guess is it’s Brazilian since passion fruit are originally from Brazil. They are a tropical fruit that now grows in many places with the right climate (including Australia, where we are happily enjoying them right now).
After Brazil was colonized by Portugal, it was considered a part of the kingdom and trade went both ways. So it’s probably easy to assume that passion fruit, and quite probably this recipe, traveled over the ocean.
Variations in how it’s made
For something so simple, you may be surprised to hear there are a couple variations in how to make this mousse. The main difference is the proportions – some are much sweeter, using more condensed milk, while others use more cream.
If you are a regular here, you are probably not surprised to see I have gone for less sweet here. This is still most definitely a sweet dessert, but it’s not sickly-sweet – just enough to balance out the more tart passion fruit.
Do you need fresh passion fruit?
Since I can get fresh passion fruit here fairly easily, I used fresh fruit. However, I know they can be expensive or hard to find in some places. But don’t fret, you can still make this.
Instead, you may manage to find frozen passion fruit pulp and that will work just fine here. In fact, it is usually seedless so that saves you the step of straining the seeds.
Some strain the seeds from the fresh passion fruit, after breaking the pulp a little by hand, but I found it easier to blend briefly with the condensed milk first. The blender/food processor breaks up the pulp at the same time.
Just don’t blend too long as the seeds start to break. You do strain the large pieces, but it avoids too many specs. You don’t really taste them, but visually it’s best to not have too many.
If this isn’t possible, you can at a push use passion fruit nectar. Just be aware it is watered down, so you will probably want more of it. Then I’d suggest you use a little less but as thick cream as you can find to compensate.
One thing I would say, though, is try to get at least one fresh fruit to add to the top. You don’t necessarily need much, but that little burst of fresh fruit really helps bring out the flavor. It makes a huge difference, so try not to skip this.
In terms of the cream, most traditional recipes use a can of “table cream”. I imagine this is because it’s shelf-stable. Here, however, I have used fresh whipping or double cream since I think the flavor is better. Plus, you can properly get some air in it to make this dish that bit more light and fluffy.
Once you’ve got your mixture ready, you then divide it between your serving glasses and refrigerate. I’d recommend at least an hour or two so it firms up, but you can easily make this a day or two ahead.
You could leave this in one dish to serve from, but I personally think individual dishes are better. It’s both easier to hand out, and means you don’t knock out the air as you serve. However it does of course allow for smaller tastes (and going back for seconds!).
This passion fruit mousse is so easy to make and has a wonderful combination of smooth creaminess, sweetness and slightly tart tropical flavor. So good!
Try these other easy no bake desserts:
Passion fruit mousse (mousse de maracuja)
- ⅓ cup passion fruit pulp 80ml (fresh from around 3-4 fruit or frozen and defrosted)
- 6 tbsp sweetened condensed milk 95ml
- 1 cup heavy cream 240ml
- 1 passion fruit (to top)
- Put the passion fruit pulp and condensed milk in a food processor or blender. If using fresh passion fruit, just pulse a few times so that the mixture is well combined but you don't break up the seeds too much. If you are using seedless pulp, you can mix a bit longer. If the mixture has seeds, strain it through a fine strainer to remove seeds.
- In a separate bowl, whip the cream to a semi-firm peak consistency. Fold in the passion fruit mixture so it is well distributed but try not to lose the air from the cream.
- Divide the mixture into 3 serving glasses (or more, if you prefer smaller servings) and chill at least 1-2 hours. Top each with some fresh passion fruit pulp before serving.
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