Makawao mom’s delicious pineapple meringue pie recipe is a keeper
The sweetness and slight tartness of the pineapple is a perfect complement to the creamy, mild sweetness of the baked meringue.
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Harriet Sardinha of Kahului has made a delicious pineapple meringue pie for more than 60 years. It was a favorite of her late husband, Ervan.
“He just loved this pie,” Sardinha said.
It was a recipe of her mother, Amy Gomes of Makawao. Sardinha perfected it to the point that her employer would ask her to bake the pie whenever there were marketing demonstrations of how versatile pineapple was.
Yes, you guessed it. She retired from Maui Land & Pine — the cannery division.
“You need to start with a fresh pineapple; you cannot used canned,” Sardinha declares. “It just won’t taste the same.” In those days she used the crushed fresh fruit from the processing plant.
Many of us only know meringue pies as lemon. In this recipe, fresh pineapple is grated and cooked with sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and salt to get a good consistency as the pie base.
“Discard the core as you can’t use that, but I grate the pineapple by hand,” she said. “I’m sure some people could use a food processor,” she continues.
The dome of white meringue is a light contrast to the dense, bright yellow filling. Meringue is made from egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, sugar and vanilla extract.
Sardinha would always make her own pie crusts, but understands that many prefer to buy theirs at the store.
Her recipe is a keeper. The sweetness and slight tartness of the fruit is a perfect complement to the creamy, mild sweetness of the baked meringue. It is an old-fashioned Hawaii dessert.
Harriet Sardinha’s Fresh Pineapple Meringue Pie
1 9-inch deep-dish pie crust
2 cups grated fresh pineapple (about 1 whole pineapple)
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks, beaten, retain the whites
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Optional garnish chopped fresh pineapple
Defrost crust if using a frozen crust. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the pie crust for 10 minutes. Cool. Peel pineapple and discard the core. Grate pineapple using the large grate size or use a food processor to chop pineapple. Drain pineapple juice for use in another recipe. In a pot, mix grated pineapple, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly as it will thicken. Reduce heat to low, add yolks and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from stove and add butter. Cool in pot for 10 minutes. Pour into pie shell and cool for 10 minutes.
Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, beat egg whites in a bowl with cream of tartar, salt, sugar and vanilla until peaks form. Spoon over pineapple pie. Bake at 450 degrees for 5-7 minutes until top is light brown. Watch carefully for burning. Garnish with chopped pineapple, if desired. Cool for at least 2 hours before serving. Cut into 10 to 12 pieces.