“If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain
If you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain
If you like making love at midnight in the dunes of the cape
Then I’m the love that you’ve looked for, write to me and escape”
How much I hate that song! My first ever head chef would start singing this little number during the really busy periods at work, on those days when you were seemingly incapable of foresight; when drinking until 3am before cooking 300 people breakfast seemed like a good idea. The worst part was that he only knew the first half of the chorus and would just fumble the second half with what could loosely be referred to as a mumble, and then start all over again. When I even hear the word Pina Colada I am immediately whisked away from the comparatively wondrous reality I now find myself in, to those sweaty, hung-over Sundays churning out some 600 or so poached eggs and omelettes while doing my best not to hurl in the rubbish bin behind me.
Strangely enough I only just learned the real lyrics to this musical time portal to hell. As it turns out, this seemingly light hearted, romantic romp is actually a seedy tale of lust and betrayal. Rupert Holmes paints a dark picture of a man waiting until his wife has fallen asleep to pour through personal ads in the paper in an attempt to commit adultery. After a series of late night correspondence, the scum-bag, cheating husband manages to organize a meeting with his intended, only to discover it was none other than his wife all along, who as it turned out was just as sick of their stale union as he was, and as prepared to get her groove on with strange men from what, in those days, was effectively tinder. Perhaps even more shocking than this is the fact that the name of the song is actually ‘Escape’. That’s right people; the name of the fucking song doesn’t even have anything to do with Pina Coladas. Shocking!
As much as I hate his song, and the very mention of the word causes bile to rise in the back of my throat, I do enjoy a good white rum cocktail with pineapple and a splash of coconut. While the word conjures up scenes of torture and now depravity, the flavor is pure summer. The secret beauty of white rum is that as the day goes on, you build up somewhat of an obliviousness to the strong flavor that limits your intake for the first glass or so, so the more you drink and drink, the amount of mixer in that glass shrinks and shrinks, until the juice is mostly for color. Many epic hangovers have begun at the hands of the almighty bringer of woe, the ‘strained pineapple’ (literal English translation), the pina colada.
So this pie sadly won’t get you smashed, and thus shouldn’t cause you too much pain the next day (unless you try to eat the whole thing by yourself) which is a distinct possibility because its damn good. I hope you agree, but I don’t really care if you don’t…
Pina Colada Pie
Edmonds Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
This is a good old Edmonds cook book recipe. Every household has one of these, or they should! If your mother used to cook, you can bet your sorry ass that you have eaten at least one of the recipes out of this grand old tome of knowledge!
- 150g plain flour
- 75g unsalted butter (cold)
- 65g sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 15g water
Preheat your oven to 180°c. Sift your flour into a large bowl. Using a butter knife cut the unsalted butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add your sugar and stir well to combine. Next add the egg yolk and water and mix into a stiff dough. Wrap with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge before using. Pastry is best worked with cold.
Lightly flour the bench and roll your dough out to 1/2 cm thick. Grease a medium sized pie or flan dish (do yourself a favor and use non-stick cooking spray, that shit is magical!) and press the pastry carefully into the corners and onto the sides. Trim off the overhang and then line the inside of the raw pastry with baking paper. If the pastry has warmed up from working it, place it back in the fridge, as the best way to cook pastry is straight out of the fridge and into a hot oven.
Fill the baking paper with rice (or any other small grain) and bake it in the oven for roughly 40 minutes; this is called blind baking. Remove the rice and the paper (keep this for your next blind baking adventure) and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the bottom of the pastry has browned. Take the casing out of the oven and allow to completely cool before starting your curd.
- 3 eggs
- 65g pineapple juice
- 130g sugar
- 80g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 60g white rum
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, find a metal bowl that will sit on top of the pot without falling in ensuring the bottom doesn’t touch the surface of the water. Combine all the ingredients except the butter, in the bowl and whisk vigorously until well combined. Next sit the bowl over the boiling pot and stir the mix constantly with a wooden spoon. When the mix starts to thicken, intensify your stirring. The curd is cooked when you can swipe your finger though the curd on the back of the spoon and the line holds. Remove the bowl from the boiling pot and stir in your butter one piece at a time until it is all mixed in. Next pass your curd through a fine sieve into your cooled pastry case. Knock the pie on the bench a couple of times to level out the curd and set in the fridge overnight.
You are going to want a stand mixer for this. Trust me I did this by hand and it fucking sux! In hindsight an egg beater would probably have made my life a lot easier…
- 260g sugar
- 130g white rum
- 4 egg whites
- 2g cream of tartare (1/2tsp) or the juice of ½ a lemon
In a very clean, dry mixing bowl, whip your egg whites and cream of tartar (or lemon juice) until soft peaks are formed (lift the whisk out of the mix and the whites should form peaks that slowly sink back into the mass).
Combine the rum and the sugar in a pot and bring to the boil. Flame off the alcohol and continue to cook until the mix reaches 115°c and then slowly whisk the hot sugar into the whites. Continue to whisk at high speed for roughly 5 minutes until stiff peaks that don’t sink are formed. Transfer the meringue into a piping bag and use ASAP.
Cut the very end off the piping bag and pipe little drops of meringue around the edge of the pie in two rows. A little hint: to get those nice spiky tips on your droplets, pipe the mass of the drop you want and pull the bag away quickly directly upwards, you will get the knack after a few tries. I used a blowtorch to lightly toast the tops of my meringue, this not only looks badass, also this makes the egg whites more stable for storage, if you aren’t eating this right away (which you should!) Next I picked some edible flowers from our garden (these are borage and pineapple sage flowers) and scattered them on the center of our pie. Lastly I sprinkled some shaved coconut over the top of everything to give our creation that all-important “tropical” hit.
Now pour yourself a white rum, color it with some of the leftover pineapple juice you bought to make this pie, and give this pie to your kids so you can get drunk in peace.