Tarija, Bolivia: Passion Fruit Mousse

Meet Martha Tárraga Hevia y Vaca.

She’s from Tarija, Bolivia, a city that chapacas singers used to call Tierra Andaluz or “Adalusian land” because of its wondrous rivers.

Ever since she moved away from her birthplace, first to go to college in La Paz, and later to follow her father in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Martha misses home. She remembers her childhood’s orange trees, the tangerines, the grapefruits, the apples, and the peaches. Pomegranates, figs, and plums surrounded her parents’ house.

Martha and M.J. in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
Martha and M.J. in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

Oh, and the flowers! Amancayas, daisies, and roses enchanted Young Martha.

Today, she owns a garden almost as lovely as the garden of her childhood.

The Mousse de Maracuyá (Passion Fruit Mousse) reminds her of Tarija.

Martha’s garden


“This dessert is perfect for the holidays!”

Here’s how to make it.


  • 8 to 10 passion fruits
  • “Table” cream (“crema de leche” or “media crema”)
  • Condensed milk (1 can)

Don’t have passion fruits handy? Get some passion fruit concentrate, available in the frozen juice aisle of the grocery store. You can also check the Latin foods aisle of the grocery store, where the concentrate is sometimes sold in bottles or cans.

“Make sure to get 100% passion fruit concentrate, NOT some sort of frozen tropical juice mix.”


  • The day before, keep the cream in the fridge. Once you’re ready to make the mousse, beat the cream slightly; then put it back in the fridge until all the other ingredients are ready.
  • Remove the pulp of the passion fruits and use a fine sieve to squeeze out the juice. Do not discard the seeds.
  • Open a can of condensed milk and pour into the blender. Use the same (now empty) can (of condensed milk) to measure the passion fruit juice.
  • Also use the can to measure the cream that has only now been removed from the freezer.
  • Mix all three ingredients in the blender for about 5-8 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture in small serving dishes, or one big bowl, and place in the refrigerator to set for eight hours.


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Martha’s mousse


Do not discard the seeds!

The syrup:

  • To the seeds, add ¼ cup water and ¼ cup sugar and cook to make a syrup that can serve as decoration. Others add gelatin to the syrup to create one more layer on top of the mousse.


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