Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hawaiian Cookery

This post refocuses my blog from old, rare and unusual books (see previous posts) to cookbooks: specifically Hawaiian cookbooks and selected recipes. The photo above is of a 1964 Peter Pauper publication; a lovely little book that aptly illustrates my intent.

While planned future posts will emphasize recipes with less familiar ingredients like lilikoi (i.e., passion fruit), I begin with pineapple because it is strongly associated with Hawaii. Del Monte and Dole began large scale pineapple production in Hawaii in the early 1900s. Pineapple can be purchased at our farmers’ markets, local grocery stores and Costco all year. Pineapple juice which is used in the recipe below, is readily available everywhere. With minimum effort, pineapple plants grow and fruit in Hawaii’s yards or even in a large pot on the lanai. Home grown fruits are smaller but also sweeter. As an interesting aside: white pineapple is a tasty, local (mainly Big Island) and seasonal fruit, which has a lower acid content. Although twice the price, I always buy white pineapple when available.

Years ago I copied a recipe for “King Kamehameha Pie” from the Honolulu newspaper and have made it many times. The ingredients are inexpensive and the final product is a lovely chilled pineapple/apple dessert.  According to my internet research, “King Kamehameha Pie” (www.allrecipes.com) won 3rd place in a Better Homes and Gardens Contest in November 1970, as submitted by Clara Tanner.   

Here are the ingredients for King Kamehameha Pie:

1 12 oz can (1 ½ C) pineapple juice
¾ C sugar
7 medium cooking apples, peeled and sliced (see notes below)
3 T cornstarch
1 T butter
 ½ Tsp vanilla
1 9 in baked pastry shell (see notes below for alternative crumb crust)
¼ C whipped cream, sour cream or vanilla yogurt (optional)
Chopped macadamia nuts (optional)

Here are the directions:

Reserve ¼ C pineapple juices. Combine 1 ¼ C pineapple juice and sugar, bring to boil and add apple slices.  Simmer covered until tender but not soft (3-4 minutes). Lift apples from syrup and set aside on plate to drain (pour any syrup on plate back into pan). Combine cornstarch and ¼ C pineapple juices, add to pan and cook until syrup is thickened and bubbly, then 1 minute more.  Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla and cool 10 minutes without stirring.  Pour and spread up to half of syrup into baked pastry shell. Arrange apple slices in fan shaped layers and spoon remaining syrup over.  Chill.  Before serving, garnish center of pie with whipped cream, sour cream or vanilla yogurt and sprinkle with chopped macadamia nuts. 

Notes:  It is important to slice apples uniformly about ¼ inch each, and do not cook them too long (they should be easy to cut but still firm). The sauce barely covers the apples.  Internet photos show this pie made with apple chunks but it is much prettier when the slices are fanned out in circles from the middle. As an alternative crust combine 1 ¼ C crushed vanilla wafers and macadamia nuts with 5T butter and 3T sugar, press into pie pan and bake 5 minutes in the oven. Enjoy with aloha.