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Pumpkin Pie with Pineapple

A Tropical Pumpkin Pie Inspired by Tahiti – Mautini Painapo

A couple of weeks ago we were at a friend’s house for a birthday part and at the end of a traditional ‘ma’a Tahiti’ –  traditional dishes cooked in a Ahimaa, or underground oven. To finish, they had prepared a typical Tahitian dessert called “po’e” which can be made from almost any fruit cooked up with manioc starch and served with coconut milk.  They choose a pumpkin & pineapple version of po’e which was delicious! The two flavors together, the sweetness of the pumpkin and the sweetness of a fresh pineapple are great together.  Here is a pumpkin pie recipe inspired by the po’e dessert.   I just made it tonight and it is really really good!  With the eggs, it is a bit of a hybrid between a flan and pumpkin pie with some pineapple. The caramelizing on top too is a nice finishing touch.

Tahiti, known for it breathtaking landscapes and lagoons, is also famous for is magnificent vanilla beans. The vanilla can be used in sweet and savory dishes. The Queen Tahiti pineapple is locally called ‘painapo’, and is cultivated primarily on the islands of Tahiti and Moorea. Pumpkins are also grown in Tahiti and are called ‘mautini’ in Tahitian.
If you have access to Tahitian Vanilla and the Queen Tahiti pineapple, you are that much closer to culinary escape to Tahiti with this pie!

1 pre-baked piecrust (home-made or store bought)
one 15oz can (2 cups; 450g) pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
1/2 cups (250g) packed dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon (8g) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Tahitian vanilla
1 1/4 cup (300ml) coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped pineapple (fresh is preferable, if using canned, please drain well)
thinly cut pineapple slices to lay on top without overlapping (less than 1/4 inch thick, can substitute canned rings for fresh)
sugar sprinkle:  about 1 tablespoon or so to use on top of pineapple slices

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
Stir the pumpkin puree, 3 eggs, and brown sugar together. Add the cornstarch, salt, vanilla, and coconut milk continuing to stir until everything is combined. Filling should be a bit thick. Stir in the chopped pineapple.
Pour pumpkin pie filling into the pre-baked crust, and leave some room for the pineapple slices.  Bake until the center is almost set, about 55 minutes. The very center part will be wobbly – that’s ok. After 25 minutes of baking, cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil to prevent them from getting too brown.  When the pie is done, gently lay the thin pineapple slices as decoration on top, but not overlapping them. Give a light sprinkling of sugar on top of the pineapple slices.  Turn the broiler on and move the shelf up under the broiler.  Place the pie back in the oven under the broiler for about 5 minutes or so, until you see the sugar starting to bubble and caramelize.   Remove from oven to cool.  Serve with Tahitian vanilla ice cream if desired.

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