Fresh Pineapple Pie

Untitled

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.

Untitled

The filling was such a happy, sunny yellow!

Untitled

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!

Untitled

Weaving the lattice crust was a bit tricky, but totally worth it!

Untitled

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!

Untitled

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
  1. Roll out pastry and line a 10″ glass pie plate with bottom crust.
  2. 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.
  3. Pour filling into pie shell and spread around evenly.
  4. Lay out lattice crust and brush where it meets the bottom crust with a little egg wash (to seal).  Pinch to seal.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Cool on wire rack.

What’s new? Oh, you know, not much.

So, long time no blog.  Partly because long time, no craft, no knit, no sew, no bake, no nothing!  We decided this spring seemed like a good time to buy a house, and all my spare time (and more energy than I ever thought was possible) has been sucked into the whirling vortex of house hunting.

Mostly it’s fun…looking at other people’s houses and decor?  Having carte blanche to snoop into nooks and crannies and try out all the cabinets and drive by like creepers in the evening to check out the neighborhood?  Totally fun.

Sometimes it’s crazy stressful (like when you discover that the online bank where your earnest money has been sitting earning pitiful .0000000000something% interest considers “overnighting” a cashiers check to you to be a 3-day process).  Or when you’re trying to figure out that magical tipping point between the most house you can afford and the most house you want to afford.  (Yay for budget spreadsheets and amortization schedules, no?).

But since none of it was terribly germane to this blog, I didn’t really post much about it. Decorating the house–that you’ll see lots of.  But for now, probably not so much of interest.

Despite that, I’ve been feeling itchy to blog, so I think I’m going to pop in once a week.  As a first time home-buyer, lots of this is very new to me, and sometimes I just need to brain dump to really process stuff.  Also, I think there is a lot of the process that is needlessly mystified, so on the off chance that my ramblings make someone else’s life easier, I’ll share.

My first soapbox: I don’t think that we, as a society, talk enough about major life decisions (like buying a house!).  It’s almost as if, as an adult, you’re supposed to be capable of handling it all on your own, making really tough, far-reaching decisions with zero experience, and getting a pass/fail grade. It seems so black and white!

Nobody talks about the process of buying a house.  It’s a high-stakes game, it’s super stressful, it’s an emotional roller coaster where, as an added perk of the ride, you get to examine a lot of assumptions you have about what kind of person you are, what you truly need in a living space, what your future might look like, and how much wealth you really can muster.  The answers aren’t always what you thought they’d be!  And that’s OK!  You don’t have to have it all figured out from what your perfect house looks like right on down to how to express your style through decor.  And you don’t have to do it alone.

Even if you are a super capable adult, there’s no way you should have to do it all on your own.  That’s why you hire a team: realtor, finance officer, and house inspector.  And then your wider support network kicks in…friends who have been there, done that.  Family and friends and coworkers who can tell you way more than you may want to hear about house repairs and how to keep the house “alive” and in good health (it’s sort of like getting a giant pet you’ve only ever seen from afar…it requires proper care and feeding, and the fact sheet at the pet shop really only scratches the surface).

Obviously you don’t need to share everything with everyone.  Nothing is public information unless you want it to be.  But I’ve found that sharing where you’re at in the process and how you’re feeling about it tend to elicit great feedback from people who have either been in your same shoes, or who have a bit more emotional distance and can tell you that you’re over- or under-thinking things!

Anyhow, that’s my impression.  More discussion is rarely a bad thing.  I’ve learned a lot from the process so far, and most of it has been from talking with other people and sharing where we’re at with our process.  Not googling and reading articles.

So anyhow, that’s what I’ve been up to lately.  In just the few short weeks, we’ve gone from house hunting to putting in an offer, and having an inspection.  Right now we’re trying to figure out where to go from here (the inspection was mostly good, but it’s a 103-year-old house, so it has a few issues).  I know we have to do a bit of hardball negotiating soon, which is not my strong suit…but we’ll get through it!  And then we’ll have a house to decorate, and hopefully the blog will get a bit more love than it has lately!