Home Baked Pie From a Home Grown Pineapple and How to Grow One
Rate the Delusional Pineapple Pie
The Humble Pineapple
Living in the tropics has all sorts of advantages over other environments. The climate is temperate to the point of being at times, well boring. Beautiful one day, perfect the next is the catchcry of north Queensland when the weather shines on us. But the variety of fresh produce is vast and constant throughout the year. Tropical fruits with names too difficult to pronounce, much harder to spell, adorn the fresh fruit stalls all year round. From the hard prickly outer skin of the lychee that reveals a tender fleshy fruit inside to the humble and more familiar pineapple, for the fruit lover nothing beats the freshness of the fruits available in the tropics.
Surprisingly out of all the tropical fruits, the pineapple is the easiest to grow in a home garden. Even for those less fortunate living in colder climates or without garden space, pineapples adapt well to being grown indoors in pots.
Fluffy Pineapple Filling
Home Grown Pineapple
Grow a Pineapple From the Top or Bottom
Start by selecting the freshest ripe pineapple available. Slice the pineapple about half an inch from the top and keep the leaves in place. I have had good success by placing the top on a plate for a couple of days, indoors, before planting but I’ve read elsewhere that the top can be placed straight into the ground. I've also been told you can grow a pineapple from the bottom slice as well. I'll give you an update when I've tried this.
The ground doesn't need much in the way of nutrients or even soil. This plant will thrive regardless of where it's planted as long as the conditions match the tropics. In other words, much rain and humidity with some occasional sunshine.
How long does it take for a pineapple to grow?
The only down side of growing your own pineapples is waiting for the fruits of your labour. It takes at least two years for the fruit to develop. Don't give up on the plant though if it doesn't form fruit in that time, they can take three or four years in colder climates than the tropics.
A Delusional Pineapple Pie
The pineapple pie in the following recipe has roots going way back to my grandmother. Many a Sunday afternoon was spent in her tiny one bedroom apartment enjoying her wonderful Sunday roasts followed by a delicious dessert of some kind. The steamed chocolate pudding was a favourite but the pineapple pie with its creamy centre and topped with a coconut flavoured meringe was a big winner. After Granny died I found myself with one of her hand written recipe books. I read through every page looking for the pineapple pie recipe to no avail. Discussions with my mother revealed the pie was an invention taken from two or perhaps three other recipes. The following is the closest I've come to replicating her fantastic recipe. It's pretty close but no-one could cook like Granny, so I know without doubt I'm not there yet!
Ingredients for the Delusional Pineapple Pie
- 1 cup self raising flour, add pinch of salt optional
- 2 tablespoons white sugar, more or less to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
- 1 egg yolk, reserve the white
- 2 tablespoons cold water, only if needed
- 4 cups pineapple, finely chopped, fresh is best
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup Sugar, more or less to taste
- 1 egg yolk, reserve the white
- 1 teaspoon cornflour, made to a paste with a little water
- 2 egg whites, reserved from pastry and filling
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar, more or less to taste
- 2 tablespoons shredded coconut, more or less to taste
- Start by preparing the pastry. There are two methods that work well for the delicate shortbread type pastry in this pie.
- Manually blend together the dry ingredients, flour and sugar with the softened butter. Use your fingertips to work the mixture before adding the egg yolk or blend together in a food processor.
- Add water only if the dough feels too dry to bind together. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
- While the pastry rests, chop the pineapple and mix with the sugar and water. Bring to the boil then thicken with the cornflour paste. Allow the cornflour to cook through before cooling.
- Roll out the pastry and line a greased 9 inch (20 cm) pie dish or six large muffin tins. Cover with baking paper and dried beans or rice. Blind bake in a hot over for 12 minutes.
- Remove the 'blind bake' mixture and top the pie with the pineapple filling.
- Beat the egg whites with the sugar to a stiff meringue consistency - make sure the peaks hold their shape.
- Spoon or pipe the meringue on to the pies and sprinkle liberally with coconut. Bake slowly for 20 - 30 minutes or until the meringue is set and the coconut has reached a golden brown.
The delusional pineapple pie has been a big hit with the family. The shortcake textured pastry is light and crispy when cooked well. The true star of the dish is the pineapple so if you have access to the fresh fruit you are sure to impress. Enjoy!
Copyright © Karen Wilton 2012