Friday, April 18, 2014

Piña Colada Pie

Manischewitz makes a coconut macaroon pie crust for Passover.  I saw it on the shelf, and it took only five seconds to think of piña colada pie.

Pulling it off was another matter.  Passover severely shortens your list of potential thickening agents.  No flour, cornstarch, or gelatin.  Kosher gelatin is hard to find, and I was not about to brave the Pico/Robertson traffic to get it.  The kosher markets there are a total zoo the week before Passover.  Potato starch is definitely an option, but it imparts a slight pasty flavor.  This is fine for soups, stews, and similar savory dishes, but not a fruit pie.  This left me with eggs and arrowroot.  Arrowroot doesn't mix well with dairy, so I had to figure out how to make a non-dairy version.

Duh, coconut milk.  That, plus a couple of eggs for added stability, and we would be in business.  Out of curiosity, I investigated if rum was KLP, just for flavoring.  This is a Seder, when you've already had two glasses of wine before dinner.  Turns out, Bacardi Superior (the clear stuff with the white label) is KLP, even though it isn't marked as such.  And it happens to be what I have in the liquor cabinet.  Perfect.  It's also nice to know that I could use it to make my own KLP extracts in the future.  Most are made with brandy, which is not KLP.

My first batch, I tried to use light coconut milk.  I ended up with soup.  Switching to the really fatty stuff that looks like shortening when you plop it out of the can, I got very thick soup.  The best consistency I found was when the pie had been frozen and halfway defrosted.  Churning the mixture in an ice cream maker to soft-serve consistency would do just as well.  After all, if you look at the ingredients, you've basically made an ice cream base.

1 13 oz can coconut milk
1 20 oz can crushed pineapple
1/3 C granulated sugar
2 Tb arrowroot
2 egg yolks
*1 C coconut flakes
*2 Tb light rum (optional)
1 macaroon pie crust (store-bought or crush a bunch of cookies to make one)
whipped cream for garnish

1.  Drain off the juice from the can of pineapple (about 1/4 C) and combine with arrowroot into a slurry.  Reserve some of the crushed pineapple to use later as a garnish (as I totally forgot to do).  Set aside.

2.  In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, pineapple and remaining juice, and sugar over medium heat.  When almost boiling, add arrowroot and stir until it begins to thicken.  Stir in rum and let it boil a minute to cook off some of the alcohol.

3.  In a small bowl, beat egg yolks thoroughly.  Turn off the heat under the saucepan, but leave it on the burner.  Add about 1/2 C of the hot coconut mixture and beat quickly to temper the eggs, then return to the saucepan and continue to cook in the residual heat until filling thickens some more.  You turned off the heat so it couldn't boil again.  The eggs would become grainy, and you can't strain this filling because of the pineapple.  You can't stir in the pineapple after the eggs because the arrowroot needs to thicken in the pineapple's juice.  It's a vicious (or viscous) circle.

4.  Stir in 3/4 C coconut flakes, reserving the other 1/4 C for garnish.  Allow mixture to cool to room temperature so it can thicken a little more before it goes into the crust (you may use the refrigerator for this).  Unlike most custards, you don't have to cover the surface with plastic wrap, because there is no dairy to form a skin.  Pour into crust and freeze until firm but sliceable, about 1 hour.  Garnish with pineapple, coconut, and whipped cream.

Serves 8

Difficulty rating :)

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