When the weather started to get sticky in my childhood, non-air conditioned house in Pennsylvania, and the air started to get stuffy even with the windows open begging for a breeze, my mom made Hawaiian Pineapple Pie.
I can still remember the feeling of blissful cool as I tasted the first, gloriously cold, frozen bite. A golden, crumbly graham cracker crust and an effortlessly light, pineapple cream filling became the stuff dreams are made of. Now this delicious pie can be part of your summer heat busting routine, too. The best part? It makes 2 pies, so you can freeze them both and have one for tonight, one for later. Perfect.
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Hawaiian Pineapple Pie
(Adapted from a recipe my mom has had handwritten in her recipe box for years)
Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients (makes 2 crusts):
2 sleeves of graham crackers, finely crushed
1/2 cup white sugar
12 tbsp. melted butter or margarine
Pineapple Filling Ingredients:
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
12 oz (1.5 containers– they make them smaller now than when this recipe was written) thawed Cool Whip
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
To make the crust, pulse graham crackers with a food processor until they are fine crumbs. Mix with sugar and combine with melted butter until mixture is moist enough to hold its shape when molded into a pie plate. Divide the crust mixture in half and use the back of a large spoon to press crust mixture up against the sides and bottom of 2 pie plates (I use 9.5 inch deep pie shells just to avoid overflow, but the mixture doesn’t come all the way up to the top. You can use regular pie plates, but they more easily overflow in the freezer if they aren’t completely level).
Stir together drained pineapple, sweetened condensed milk, and walnuts, if using. Fold in Cool Whip and divide mixture evenly between two prepared graham cracker crusts. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid, about 2 hours.
Well that’s about as easy as it gets. Let’s take a look at the process in pictures. 🙂
If you don’t have a food processor, it’s worth getting one just to whirl Oreos, Graham Crackers, ginger snaps . . . you name it . . . into crust crumbs. I used to use a bag and a rolling pin, gingerly crushing, trying to make sure that I didn’t accidentally poke through the bag. Gah.
Not anymore. Use your food processor to whirl together your 2 packs of graham crackers until you have fine crumbs. Stir in your white sugar, then the melted butter. Your mixture will look kind of like moist sand.
Divide your crust mixture in half and use a spoon or cup to flatten the crust against the sides and bottoms of 2 pie plates. A word on what plates you choose . . .
This recipe makes 2 9″ pies. But I find that using a little bit larger pie plate (I use deep 9.5″ ones) works best for me. The pie doesn’t go all the way to the top of the plate, but when I’m trying to wedge these things into the freezer, I know that despite my best efforts, they probably won’t be completely level. So the little “wiggle room” at the top of the pie plate helps to make sure they don’t run over.
Of course, it’s a free country. Go your own way on that one. If you have “mad freezer balancin’ skillz,” then more power to you.
Now this filling is about as easy as it gets. MIX.
There. Done. I add the Cool Whip at the end, folded in, just to keep it a little fluffier. But Mom used to let us kids help make it, and I’m pretty sure our childlike stirring was more like beating a dead horse than delicate folding, and it still turned out ok. You seriously can’t mess this up. It’s a great recipe for kids to help with, because it’s basically just dumping in ingredients and stirring. Then they get a frozen ice cream like treat at the end. And it contains fruit.
Can this recipe please run for president?! Seriously.
Cover both pies with plastic wrap. Put them in the freezer. Since you were so smart and used deep pie plates, they shouldn’t run over. You’re so smart. I love working with you.
And since you are also forward thinking, you know that this recipe makes 2 pies, which means you have one for tonight, and one for unexpected company that will drop by. Or, you know. Just for when you have a bad day and need something amazingly sweet and cooling to dig into on “one of those days” after the kids have finally fallen asleep. Trust me. I won’t judge. We will call it fruit. There you go. “Mommy needs fruit to be healthy.” Makes sense to me.
When you are ready to serve this divine delicacy, you can either let it thaw for about 20 minutes before cutting (this is what my mom did– it becomes kind of soft and slushy and cold), or you can just cut right into it frozen and serve it that way. Frozen solid is the way I prefer it, personally. The crunch of the walnuts, the kiss of the pineapple, the dreamy creamy perfection of the Cool Whip . . . ahhhh it’s just perfect.
And each time I taste this, I am a little kid again, wiping my hot, sweaty face from hours of playing outside. I dig my fork into the sweet loveliness that is so cold I can feel the chill on my hand closest to the plate.
I take that first, frosty, glorious bite.
And the angels sing.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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