“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
~ Ruth Reichl
And so, the moment of truth…
Does the Tropical Pie of my childhood still measure up?
*Nicole laughs gleefully and claps her hands*
Darn tootin’ right it does!
The pie has a crunchy toasted coconut crust, and a creamy light filling, flavoured with lemon, orange and pineapple. Heaven in a bowl, really. It speaks of summer, and relaxed tropical nights.
I think this particular dessert is fancy enough to serve at a dinner party or a fancy gathering, but it will also be a welcome addition to a family barbeque or a casual weekend meal. It’s actually a much more sophisticated recipe than I’d realised, and the flavour nuances are just as I’d remembered them. Maybe better.
There are a few steps, so you’ll need to allocate a little time for each part of the preparation – this one’s not a simple throw-together dessert. But hey, sometimes that little extra effort really does pay off. I’d make this the day before or early in the morning of the evening you’ll need it.
Crust: 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut, 60g (2 ounces) melted butter plus extra butter for greasing pie tin
Filling: 1 x 440g (15 ounce) can of pineapple pieces (I used the pineapple in natural juice with no added sugar, but in the seventies it was sugar all the way!), 5 teaspoons gelatine, 1/2 cup castor sugar OR the equivalent of Natvia or your favourite sweetener, pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 eggs, separated, 1 tablespoon rum, 1 tablespoon Cointreau or orange juice, 1 and 1/4 cups (1/2 pint) of cream
Method for Base:
1. Grease a 9 inch/23 centimetre pie plate, or use baking paper to line a spring-form tin of the same dimensions.
2. Preheat oven to slow – 120C or 250F. If it’s a fan-forced oven knock the temperature back to 110C or 230F
3. Add the coconut to the melted butter, mixing well. Press firmly into the base and up the sides of the pie dish. If you don’t press firmly, the base will not hold together. I like to use a cup or glass with a firm base and straight sides to really press that crust well.
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Look how lovely that crust is! I am already dreaming up other fillings for it…
Method for Filling:
1. Empty and save the juice from the can of pineapple, then add enough water to make 1 and 1/2 cups. Place juice in a small saucepan. Add the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, and then sprinkle the gelatine over the top. Place over moderate heat, and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
2. Beat egg yolks until thick and foamy.
3. Gently pour a small amount of the hot liquid into the yolks, whisking all the while. Continue whisking and add the hot liquid very slowly until it is all added. Then add in the rum and Cointreau.
4. Chill this mixture until it has the consistency of unbeaten egg white.
5. Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until stiff.
6. Beat the cream until thick.
7. Fold the drained pineapple and cream into the egg yolk mixture.
8. Then gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Spoon into the pie crust and chill until well set.
Serve on its own or with some cream or a good ice-cream.
According to my husband, Tropical Pie also proves to be excellent breakfast food. ;)
I hope you enjoy this recipe from my childhood.
It really is as good as I remember!