Thursday, March 27, 2008

Birthday Pie

In response to Da Troll’s challenge to come up with a pie to celebrate Secretariat’s birthday on this Sunday, March 30th, I thought I would present to you one of my all-time favorite pies. Y’all most likely know this one. It’s scandalously easy, and oh-so-cheesy and I mean that figuratively, like, in a very 1970s way.

Lately, I've been on this 1970s kick. The fashion, the d├ęcor. Trans Ams. Famolares. Farrah Fawcett hair. Those little round, bright yellow radios on chains – remember those? – playing Terry Jacks' "Season in the Sun" over and over and over. AND, Secretariat was born in 1970. So there you have it. The ‘70s were simply fab.

Anyway, I was introduced to the weird deliciousness of Pistachio Pineapple Pie by one of my Aunts, my father’s youngest sister, a woman of exceptional patience and humor who each summer for several years had the dubious honor of hosting me, my brother, my father, and my bazillion cousins at her house in Massachusetts. How this woman put up with all our happy asses for two whole months, camped out as we were on her back lawn, running savage through the neighborhood, eating her out of house and home, I’ll never know. I should ask her one day. I wouldn’t be surprised if her answer was: “Percoset.” She did, after all, work for a dentist for a while.

At any rate, one of her favorite things to do with us was bake. Seriously. Five bazillion of us kids in her kitchen at one time, only two of us girls, making, among other things, this pie. And when it was finished, she’d mock-screech at us: “Now out of my hair and my kitchen, you little horrors [it always came out hah-ruhs – she may have been living in suburban New England bliss, but she was NYC born ‘n’ raised]. No pie for you until after dinner.”

And although I am posting this recipe in honor of a birth, I must also tell you one other association I have with this dessert. It was the pie we ate in silent solemnity the night my uncle came home, eyes rimmed red, his face slack, to tell us that Elvis Presley had just died.


1 16 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 four person-serving package of instant pistachio-flavored Jell-O pudding
1 16 oz. tub Cool Whip
1 graham cracker crust, preferably homemade, but whatever, for 9" round pie pan
1 cup whipped cream, whipped up until stiff and fluffy, with two tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chopped pistachios, unsalted

In a large mixing bowl, stir together pineapple with juice and Cool Whip. Sprinkle in pudding, a little at a time, and whip well to avoid lumps. Poor into crust. Put in refrigerator and let set until firm, 2-3 hours. Top with the whipped cream and chopped pistachios.