Monday, February 27, 2012

Maui Pine Cream Pie

I recently went to a luncheon and started thinking about the different things that people brought.  Yes, we all should be happy that everyone brought something, but the buying a baked good from a grocery store always puzzles me.  I never see anyone bringing in McDonalds to pot lucks and to me both acts are equal to the same thing.  How do people arrive at McDonalds not being acceptable for the main course, but a grocery store cake is for the dessert? Different thoughts I guess.

The sad thing is that I heard someone state at how bad the store made cake tasted compared to the homemade.

Now, the question is if you do not bake or cook, what would be good to bring?  I would probably bring non food items such as plates, napkins or cups. They are always in need of those at pot lucks.

Anyway, onto the details on this recipe.  This is a pineapple cream pie with macadamia nuts.  The bottom is a cream cheese layer and the top is pineapple custard.  You cannot see the distinct layers, I think it is due to the colors of both layers being so close in hue.  The filling is a unique blend and the crust has lemon zest and finely chopped macadamia nuts which gave it a extra flavor.  The topping is whipped cream with sugar zest and macadamia nuts sprinkled on top.

I found this pie to be a tasty blend of textures as well as flavors.  One bite gives you the delicious smooth taste of pineapple and cream cheese, yet you do get a crunch from the macadamias and a taste of real fruit from the pineapple.  Definitely a great tropical treat in my book.  This recipe is for one 9 inch pie.

Maui Pine Cream Pie
adapted from The Cooking Contest Cookbook

Ingredients/Pie Crust
1/2 cup butter flavor shortening
2 tsp lemon zest
3-4 tbs cold milk
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped macadamia nuts
2 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour

Sift together the sugar, salt and flour.  Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until the mixture is pea sized crumbs.  Then mix in the lemon zest and the nuts, stirring until evenly distributed.  Then add the milk, tossing together with a large fork until the mixture forms a dough.  Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly flour a flat surface and roll out dough into a circle.  The dough should extend one inch beyond the size of the edge of an upside down pie pan.  Fold up into quarters or roll dough around the rolling pin and then place in pie pan. Press dough into pan.  Fold the top edges under and flute or mold the top edge of the crust how you prefer.  Then prick the bottom with a fork to make sure the crust does not bubble when baking.

Place crust in oven and bake until done, which is about 15-20 minutes.  Crust is a golden brown when done.  Remove and let cool completely before filling.

Ingredients/Pineapple Cream Filling
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of milk
1 tbs water
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten with a fork
1 (20 oz) can of crushed pineapple juice ( in light syrup)
1/3 cup cornstarch, packed
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs butter

Drain the pineapple from its juice.  Discard the juice and measure out one cup of the pineapple and reserve the rest for the cream cheese layer.  In another bowl, stir together egg yolks and water. Then mix in the cornstarch until all is smooth. Set aside.

Fill a saucepan with milk, sugar, salt and 1 cup of the pineapple.  Stir and then place over medium heat and let cook.  Continue to stir and cook, until the mixture simmers and is right on the brink of boiling.  Turn the heat down to low and slowly pour in the egg yolk mixture, whisking the mixture at the same time ( I had some extra help for this task) . Once the egg yolk is mixed in continue to whisk and let cook.  Continue with this process until the mixture is the consistency of pudding.  Then stir in the butter and vanilla.  Once the butter is melted, remove from heat.

Pour into a heat proof bowl and cover.  Place in fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, stirring at two intervals.  I left mine in for 3 hours, so extra time does not hurt the outcome.

Ingredients/Cream Cheese Filling
1/2 cup powdered sugar
reserved pineapple ( see first paragraph under pineapple filling section)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
8 oz cream cheese (softened)

Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat until evenly distributed.  Cover and place in fridge while you make the topping.

1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp powdered sugar (I used more to get sprinkling consistency)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts

Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.  Set aside.  In a small bowl mix together the zest and the powdered sugar until you have the right consistency for sprinkling.

To assemble
Remove bowls from fridge.  Take the cream cheese mixture and spread it over the bottom of the pie crust.  Then cover with the pineapple custard, smoothing the top.  Then spread the whipped cream over the top.  Sprinkle the sugar zest and macadamia nuts over the top.  Cover and let chill for about 3 hours prior to serving.
              **LAST YEAR: White Chocolate Kiss Cookies**