It’s now officially Fall, and it’s 90 degrees here in Virginia. Welcome, Autumn. For my 6th pie I was planning to make a traditional Fall pie, but the warm weather and humid air has my mind drifting towards the sea. Daydreaming of tropical breezes, and island delights. I’m visiting Hawai’i this week, at least in my mind, and I’ll be enjoying a refreshing slice of Coconut Cream Pie while I’m there.
The Navy brought our Family to Pearl Harbor for two, glorious years. From the moment we landed in the open air airport in Honolulu, there was a feeling of instant relaxation ( even with two small children in tow). The air was the perfect temperature of warm. Trade winds blowing the palm trees, the unique sounds of Hawaiian music playing, and the scent of the ocean were almost intoxicating. This dream like state would continue through our time on the island. We were on shore duty, which meant no deployments and we could fully embrace what Hawai’i had to offer.
Hawai’i to me is a true paradise. The weather is perfect, the beaches beautiful, and there are no snakes! With no change in seasons and no daylight savings, the days seemed longer and slower. We didn’t feel the hustle and bustle of the mainland. We enjoyed all the typical tourist attractions and even learned some of the locals favorites. Our best days were spent snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, hiking Diamond Head and Pali lookout, shaved ice on the North Shore at Matsumoto’s, watching the impressive Big Wave surfers, torch lighting and sunsets at Waikiki, playing with the kids at the lagoons at Ko’Olina, and hopping over to The Big Island to explore the volcano park. I could go on and on and on. There is beauty everywhere, but the true island magic is in they way people live. The Hawaiians live beautifully, fully embracing the Aloha spirit. Letting you over in traffic, slowing almost to a stop, and then throwing you the ‘Shaka.’ Hawaiians have a way of making you feel welcome on their island. Weekends are spent at the beach, celebrating with food, enjoying the important things in life, friends and family. The Aloha spirit is infectious and even still many years later after leaving Hawai’i I try to keep this feeling alive in my heart. We don’t need to be in Hawaii to live the Aloha way.
When we think of Hawai’i certain images come to mind, beaches, sunsets, maybe the palms of the coconut tree. The coconut tree or ‘Niu’ in Hawaiian, grows on all of the islands, and was introduced by the Polynesians. With so many uses for coconut, especially in island fare, it’s no wonder Taste of Home picked Coconut Cream as the pie of Hawai’i. I was so excited to make this old fashioned cream pie. I love anything coconut! Coconut milk, sugar, and cream are thickened slowly over the stove to just the right consistency. There’s no rushing this process, it’s part what makes this pie perfection. Vanilla and toasted coconut are mixed into the warm pudding and chilled in a flaky pastry crust. Topped with homemade whip and more coconut, this pie is an island vacation in itself. Savor each bite as the flavors of this smooth, velvety pie come together. Aloha.
*Originally written September 26,2019
True Statement ;)