19 August 2007

Pineapple Pie

Pineapple Pie
There are a few pineapple-growing regions in the Philippines, and the most accessible one from where I live is Tagaytay. Also a coconut-growing region, they take advantage of the relatively cooler climate they have (probably a good 8-10°C colder by my estimate throughout the year) by enticing tourists and producing take-away items in dizzying, "whoever-will-eat-all-of-these" quantities. So they make Coconut (Buco) and Pineapple Pies. However, over the years the Pineapple Pie I remember from my childhood has become rarer, outsold by its coconut sibling. And I hated that, because Pineapple Pie is one of my favorite bakery items. So I had to recreate it. (Recipe follows)

This recipe is from the Maya Kitchen Culinary Arts Center, which develops recipes for the Liberty Flour Mills. It's not the freshest-tasting pie, but what I like about it (same reason I love the classic take-away pie) is that it's so toothsome.

You can use any short pie pastry. I used the one they indicated in the recipe, with 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 cup (1 stick) frozen butter, 3 tablespoons shortening, and 5 tablespoons ice water. It was a little saltier than I'd expected, but in the end it tied up well with the filling.

Separate the finished pie dough into a large (2/3) and a small (1/3) portion. Roll out the larger portion and line a 9-inch pie pan. Prick with a fork all over and bake in a preheated 400°F (205°C) oven for 10 minutes.

For the filling, combine 1 567-gram can of crushed pineapple (with syrup and all), 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon (or Philippine lemon) juice, 2 large eggs, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes more until thick-- my gauge was that I started to actually make an effort stirring it. By the way, that sounded like too much sugar to me (especially for fruit that was packed in heavy syrup), so I used only 1/2 cup sugar with no problem. Cool the filling.

Pour the filling into the pre-baked cooled pie shell, then roll out the smaller portion of dough. Traditionally it's formed into a lattice on top, but I cut out stars with a cookie cutter instead and pinched them together on top. Brush with an egg wash (small, slightly beaten egg) and continue baking for 20 minutes, but I let it go for a while longer till I was satisfied with how golden-brown the top was.

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