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This creamy, tropical-flavored pie puts us in mind of an old-fashioned ambrosia salad! The pie works best when you prepare and complete the crust at least 30 minutes before you begin the filling.
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Mellow Pastry Blend or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (1 5/8 ounces) almond or filbert flour (or 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) toasted coconut
1/3 cup (2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) cold unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup (6 ounces) well-drained pineapple, chunks or crushed (reserve the juice)
6 tablespoons unflavored mousse mix (or 1/4-ounce packet unflavored gelatin)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) reserved pineapple juice
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream
1 egg white
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
2 cups (8 ounces) coconut (sweetened or not, your choice)
Dried Pineapple Garnish (optional)
1 whole, ripe pineapple
Sticky Bun Sugar or granulated sugar
Crust: Combine all of the crust ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or in a mixing bowl, and pulse or mix to form coarse crumbs. Press the crumbs three-quarters up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch pie pan, and bake the crust, (DON'T USE pie weights or a nesting pan as they may stick, and aren't necessary), in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it's lightly browned. The crust may shrink; don't worry. Remove the crust from the oven, and cool it completely before adding the filling.
Filling: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the pineapple, and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the mousse mix or gelatin with the pineapple juice, stirring until it dissolves. Set aside. In another bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the pineapple mousse mixture, then the cream cheese mixture. Pour the filling into the cooled pie shell and refrigerate for several hours.
Topping: In a small bowl, beat together the egg white and sugar till stiff. Fold in the coconut. Spread the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until it's golden brown. Break the topping into coarse pieces, flip them over, and continue baking till they're golden brown on both sides; this should take about 5 more minutes. Remove the topping from the oven, and cool completely.
To make the garnish: You'll really only need 8 to 12 1/8-inch slices of pineapple for the garnish; enjoy the remainder fresh, cut into chunks or slices.
Trim the ripe pineapple, and use a very sharp knife to slice it crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Place slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper. Sprinkle slices with 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, and bake them in a preheated 250°F oven for 45 minutes. Turn the oven off, and allow the pineapple to continue to dry in the oven till it's cool.
Note: This works well in a gas oven. If you have an electric oven, turn the heat on for 5 minutes at a time two or three times over the course of several hours, until the pineapple is dry but not brown.
Assembly: Sprinkle the pie with the coconut crumble topping, then garnish each piece with a dried pineapple slice. Yield: 8 servings.