I found myself in quite a conundrum recently. You see, it’s becoming…spring-like…in Minnesota, and I’ve got a pretty wicked case of spring fever! While I LOVE winter, right about now I would give someone’s left arm for a bucket of fresh strawberries (not my own arm, of course, I will need both hands to shovel in the fresh berries!). So yeah. Spring fever like crazy.
I also volunteered to bring a pie to Sunday dinner this week. I have been craving pie lately (fresh strawberry pie, in point of fact…) and I figured that by late March, I should be able to find a couple pounds of acceptable strawberries in the local markets. Wrong-o. I found strawberries, but they were ridiculously expensive and smelled like ping pong balls. I was crushed. I literally wandered around the co-op for 20 minutes, inconsolable. Listless.
And then I wandered past the pineapple. They smelled like pineapples. I suppose that’s not so surprising, but considering how disappointing the strawberries were, it seemed like a christmas miracle. Except it’s easter. Well, you get the picture. So I brought one home with me. I figured, pineapple is a fruit, right? Why can’t it be used for pie?
I turned to the google to find pineapple pie recipes, and was shocked to find bupkus. The only recipes I could find called for a can of crushed pineapple, a bunch of cornstarch and sugar, and premade pie crust. Ick. I prefer a bit more “from scratch” than dumping a can of indiscriminate pineapple into a premade crust. No luck so far.
But, pineapple being a fruit and all, I was certain I could make a pie from it. It’s juicy, so I decided to attempt the peach pie approach…peaches are also really juicy, and when I make a peach pie, I use a couple eggs and some tapioca to help the juice gel into a gooey pie filling. That settled that!
The only thing was, I wasn’t sure how juicy the pineapple would be, so I wanted a pie where I could keep an eye on how the filling was coming along–that meant I needed a lattice crust! It would let the filling steam quite a bit while cooking (thus reducing the moisture in the filling and helping it gel better!), and it would let me keep a close watch on how “done” the filling was getting as it cooked!
I rolled out a bottom crust (watch for a future post on my pie crust!), then mixed up my filling and dumped it in.
The filling was such a happy, sunny yellow!
I decided that, since I wasn’t sure the pie would really work out, I would at least make it pretty (it is for easter dinner, after all!), so I braided the two center lattice pieces to fancy it up!
Weaving the lattice crust was a bit tricky, but totally worth it!
One thing I did, that I wouldn’t normally do because I’m kinda lazy when it comes to pies, is cover the edges with tinfoil. The thing about lattice crusts is that the edges tend to cook a lot faster than the center…I don’t know why exactly, but I suspect that it’s because the steam coming off the filling in the center of the pie keeps the crust from browning in the center quite as fast as the crust on the edges. So for the first 45 minutes of baking, the pie had a little tinfoil hat action going on!
Totally worth it, though! The pie came out perfectly browned, and a quick sample of the filling (another benefit of a lattice crust–easy access for testing!) proved it was quite tasty, too! I’m actually quite proud that my whimsical pie turned out so well! And it’s perfect for a fancy dessert!
And if you want to make a pineapple pie of your very own, here’s how I did it!
Pineapple Pie (makes a 10″ pie)
- pastry for pie shell & lattice crust
- 2 eggs
- 2 T. instant tapioca pearls
- 2 T. flour
- 1/2 c. sugar (more or less to taste, depending on how sweet your pineapple is)
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- pinch each of cardamom and freshly ground nutmeg
- healthy pinch of salt
- 1 regular-sized pineapple, trimmed, cored, and diced into 1/2″ pieces (you should have about 4 cups of fruit)
- egg wash (1 egg beaten with a little water)
- 1-2 T. butter
- Roll out pastry and line a 10″ glass pie plate with bottom crust.
- Combine eggs, tapioca, flour, sugar, lemon zest & juice, spices, and salt. Whisk with a fork till eggs are beaten and everything is combined. Pour over pineapple and stir till combined.
- Pour filling into pie shell and spread around evenly.
- Lay out lattice crust and brush where it meets the bottom crust with a little egg wash (to seal). Pinch to seal.
- Brush lattice pieces with egg wash and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar. Cut butter into several pieces and dot around the top of the pineapple.
- Wrap pie crust edges in tinfoil (loosely) and set pie into a 425 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 45 minutes. Remove foil from pie and bake an additional 15-25 minutes, till filling is bubbly and crust is golden.
- Cool on wire rack.