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By Request

By Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, July 26, 2000

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
A scoop of vanilla ice cream and a sprinkling of blueberries
add the finishing touches to the smooth caramel and banana
filling of this Kahala Moon pie. A streusel topping adds
a textural contrast.

Banana pie from
Kahala Moon

A restaurant could be gone, but its best desserts are never forgotten. "The sadly defunct Kahala Moon had the most exquisite dessert," recalls Kelly O'Neal. She went back especially to have the treat again, only to find the restaurant had closed. "All I remember is it had bananas and caramel ... is there anyway you can find a recipe?"

Chef/owner Kelvin Ro closed the Kahala Moon in 1998 when his five-year lease ran out. He'd planned to take his staff with him to the new Willows Restaurant, but that deal fell through.

Instead, Ro has landed happily at Kapiolani Community College, where he is developing curriculum for culinary classes and is involved in special events planning, catering -- "real-world-type skills" for the students, he says. He also may be opening new restaurants soon through KCC's Culinary Institute of the Pacific.

What he doesn't get to do much nowadays is cook, so he was glad to dig out this recipe for his Banana Mac-Nut Praline Tart and put together a sample.

"It was so popular that we did it for Taste of Honolulu," Ro recalls. "Big Mistake. Three-thousand portions, we had to make. So we ended up doing it like a cobbler and we scooped it out."

In its true form, the tart is like a banana pie with a carmelized filling and a streusel-type topping.

Use ripe bananas, Ro says, the type with brown spots on the skin. "Half-ripe bananas don't do it for me," he says.

Also critical: "Pre-cook" the bananas by marinating them in a pineapple mixture before baking. "You want the banana to start absorbing the acid so it breaks down and it'll be one smooth consistency through the whole thing. The sauce won't penetrate through the whole banana unless you marinate it first."

Kahala Moon Banana Mac-Nut Praline Tart

Bullet Orange Crust
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chilled, unsalted butter
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
5 tablespoons ice water
Bullet Banana Filling:
5 cups ripened bananas
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple
1/4 cup pineapple juice
3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
Bullet Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chilled butter
1 cup coarsely ground uncooked oatmeal (use food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
2 tablespoons white sugar

To make crust: Sift flour a second time, with salt. Add remaining ingredients, except water, and mix until pea-sized granules form. Sprinkle water over dough and mix until dough forms a ball (may not need all 5 tablespoons). Refrigerate at least 12 hours to let gluten relax for a delicate pastry crust.

Roll out dough and place in a 10-inch spring-form tart pan or 2 8-inch pie pans. Place in freezer for 20 minutes to allow dough to cool and firm up again.

To make filling: Combine bananas, pineapple and pineapple juice; let sit 10 minutes.

In a saucepan, melt butter, then mix in brown sugar and orange juice until sugar dissolves. Do not boil or sugar will crystallize. Combine with bananas and remaining ingredients, adding flour last. Pour into chilled crust.

To make topping: Melt butter and add remaining ingredients, except white sugar. Mix thoroughly and chill at least 2 hours.

Sprinkle over tart, then sprinkle white sugar over all. Bake at 350 degrees, 40-50 minutes until crust is baked and filling is set. Serve with vanilla ice cream and blueberries.

Nutritional information unavailable.


Can you help?

An anonymous correspondent on Herbert Street is looking for a tried-and-true recipe for pumpkin and custard pie, a two-layered affair in which the layers separate during baking. If you have such a magical formula, please make contact though one of the methods listed below.

Food Stuffs: Morsels

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
By Request, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Food Section,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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