Passion fruit and lemon lower carb ‘ice cream’

Passion fruit and lemon ice creamTangy, slightly sweet and refreshing is how I would describe this Passion fruit and lemon ‘ice cream’. I walked past a bag of passion fruit while grocery shopping today (at Aldi of course) and thought a healthy ice cream with passion fruit pulp would be nice. I was thinking of a passion fruit cheesecake ‘ice cream’ made with cream cheese, but I went with ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt instead. This lower carbohydrate version of ‘ice cream’ turned out quite tangy and lemony, which I liked.

I had to have a look at the scientific studies published on passion fruit. Normally I present the potential health benefits of a food or a compound within a food, but this time during my search in the literature, I came across an article unrelated to health that caught my interest. This article was published in the journal Proceedings: Biological Sciences and presents evidence for the coevolution of a particular type of passion flower, the long-tubed members of Passiflora supersection Tacsonia, with the sword-billed hummingbird, Ensifera ensifera. These long-tube Passiflora species have nectar tubes 6-14cm long and depend on the 11-cm long bill of the sword-billed hummingbird for pollination.

Passiflora tarminianaSword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera_ensifera)

The results of this study showed that these passion flowers acquired the long nectar tube around 10.7 million years ago as a result of the coevolution of the sword-billed hummingbird, which is believed to have diverged from its relatively short-billed sister around 11.6 million years ago. The long-tubed passion flowers and the sword-billed hummingbird both occupy the same unique habitat, the Andean cloud forests between 1700 and 4000m altitude. The authors propose that the long-billed hummingbird allowed populations of the long-tubed passion flowers to exist, and were not necessarily the reason for the evolution of the long tube (1).

I enjoyed this article and I hope you enjoyed my summary. Now for the recipe and I hope you enjoy this too.

 Passion fruit and lemon ‘ice cream’

Makes 2 serves


1 cup ricotta cheese

½ cup low fat Greek yoghurt

200ml reduced fat coconut cream or milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Juice from 1 lemon

Rind from ½ lemon, finely grated

15 drops vanilla flavour liquid stevia

5 passion fruit


  • Freeze the ricotta cheese, Greek yoghurt and coconut cream or milk in small containers or ice cube trays for at least 3 hours.
  • Chop the frozen ricotta cheese, Greek yoghurt and coconut cream or milk into chunks with a sharp knife as shown in this previous recipe (please be careful when doing this).
  • Gradually add the chunks to a food processor and continue processing until the ice cream is smooth.
  • Add the vanilla extract, lemon juice, lemon rind and liquid stevia to the food processor and continue processing until all combined.
  • Add the pulp from 4 of the passion fruit to the processor and briefly process – just long enough to mix in the passion fruit pulp.
  • Divide the ‘ice cream’ between two bowls. Freeze for an extra 30 minutes for a firmer texture.
  • Serve with the pulp from the remaining passion fruit on top.
  1. Abrahamczyk, S., Souto-Vilaros, D. and Renner, S. (2014). Escape from extreme specialization: passionflowers, bats and the sword-billed hummingbird. Proc Biol Sci. 281: pii: 20140888.

Photo of Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) by Michael Woodruff from Spokane, Washington, USA.

Photo of Passiflora tarminian from Dr Horst Kretzschmar, 2005.

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