NOSTALGIA for coconut desserts led two expatriots to send email requests for sweets from their pasts. Sometimes I wonder how we ever got our questions answered without the Internet.
Audrey Phang, now living in Smith River, Calif., sought the Coconut Macaroon Pie that was served at the Honolulu Community College bakeshop a couple decades ago. Her sister would buy the pie and share it, Phang wrote. "It was an instant favorite for me."
This took some asking around, as the HCC bakeshop closed several years ago. But one of the chef instructors, Issac Tamada, turned up on Lanai, where he is pastry chef for the Manele Bay and Lodge at Koele resorts.
Tamada taught at HCC for 12 years, later taking a job as executive pastry chef at Walt Disney World. He and his wife also at one point owned Makiki Bake Shop. So his credentials are well-established.
Most important, though, Tamada saved one copy of the recipe book prepared for HCC students, and in there he found the pie recipe.
The original dessert probably dates to the 1960s, Tamada said, but was still going strong when he got to the school in the '80s. "It's very simple and yet nice eating."
The pie uses macaroon coconut, which is NOT the same as shredded baker's coconut that you'll find at the grocery store. Macaroon coconut is dried and comes in tiny flakes. If you can't find it at your market, try a health-food store. I found it in bulk at Down to Earth at the bargain price of $1.79 per pound (and this stuff's light, so you really get a lot).
Coconut request No. 2 comes from Perry Hubbard, now of Leesburg, Va., which, he said, "is not at all like Kaneohe, where we had such good neighbors on Kalali Street."
Hubbard wanted to make his wife Haupia Cake for her birthday.
A simple recipe turned up in a 4-H cookbook, using a boxed cake mix as its base.
Coconut Macaroon Pie1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups macaroon coconut
1 teaspoon butter
Prepared double crust for an 8-inch pie
Combine sugar and cornstarch. Add water and almond extract. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in coconut. Cool to room temperature.
Pour filling into pie crust and dab butter around filling. Cover with top crust and seal. Make slits in the top crust or a single hole in the center to vent steam. Bake at 350 degrees about 40 minutes, or until crust is golden or filling can be seen bubbling through the center hole.
Haupia Cake"Oahu County 4-H Foodshow Cookbook" (1995)
1 18-1/2 ounce package white cake mix
1-1/3 cups water
2 egg whites
6 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup water
1 12-ounce can frozen coconut milk, thawed
1 cup heavy cream, whipped and sweetened
1-1/3 cups shredded coconut
Prepare cake mix according to package directions, but using the 1-1/3 cups water and egg whites. Pour into greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool; split cake into 2 layers.
To make filling: Mix cornstarch with sugar. Stir in water and coconut milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Spread filling between layers and on top of cake. Cool until filling is firm. Frost with whipped cream and sprinkle with coconut. Serves 20.
Nutritional information unavailable.
Food Stuffs: Morsels
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