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One week ago, I was surprised and happy to be the recipient of a few fresh pineapples given as gifts. It was great arranging some of the pineapples on a basket so that I could use them for a bit as a centerpiece to adorn our family dining table, the one in our kitchen where we usually eat and not in the more formal area we use when we have guests. May is pineapple season here in the tropics.

My cousins gave us eight pieces of the Formosa pineapple variety- they were organically grown (no fertilizer and boosters) in their farm. It was the first time that I had seen those petite pineapples, a third of the size of the ones that are commonly available. When we opened a few to taste them, they were juicy and so sweet. That variety is suitable for serving natural, fruits to end a meal.

The bigger pineapples were more yellow than their smaller cousins so; I presumed it to be ripe. But when we cut up a few, they were still sour and needed sugar or some salt to spice them up.

The kids ate the small ones as is and also used some to make their juice concoctions. Since there was still a lot that we could use, they asked if I could make them a cheese-pie with the remaining slices.

Here is what we created –a very tropical dessert.

 Ingredients::

Macadamia Nut Crust

12 ounces (335 gms) cream cheese

One can (8 ounces/225 g) crushed pineapple in juice

1 egg

¾ cup (187ml) plain yogurt

½ cup (125 ml) sugar

One tsp (5 ml) vanilla

Pineapple Macadamia Cheese Pie:: Serves 6.

Instructions::

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare macadamia nut crust.

Cut cream cheese on cutting board lengthwise into 1/2/ inch slices, Then cut crosswise into ½ inch pieces. Let stand at room temperature until softened.

Drain pineapple, pressing out the excess juice with the back of a spoon. Reserve 2 T. pineapple. Spread remaining pineapple over prepared crust.

Combine cream cheese, egg, yogurt, sugar and vanilla in medium bowl, blend thoroughly.

Pour cream cheese mixture over pineapple in the crust.

Bake for 20 minutes or until just set. Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Before serving garnish with reserved 2 T. pineapple and additional macadamia nuts.

Macadamia Nut Crust

12 graham cracker squares

1 cup (250 ml) macadamia nuts

6 T. (90 ml.) butter, melted

2 T. (30 ml) sugar

Break graham pieces into large pieces. Place in food processor or blender container. Add nuts. Process until finely crushed. Measure 1 ¾ cups (437 ml).

Combine crumb mixture, butter, and sugar in small bowl.

Press firmly onto bottom and up the side of 8 or 9-inch (20 or 22.5 cm) pie plate. Refrigerate until firm.

Cook’s Notes:

As always, macadamia nuts can be replaced by any ball you fancy. Sometimes I like cashew nuts or the homegrown pill nuts instead of the more expensive macadamias.

I have saved the hardened core of the pineapple, and that is what I used to make pineapple juice through our juicer. I have processed the fresh pineapple in our blender to crush it. If your sweet pineapples are not juicy enough, you may add water to the blender before giving it a whirl.

Sharmin Begum

The author Sharmin Begum

I have loved spicy food, Mexican in particular, since I was a child as my father was from El Paso where I acquired a taste for it on our many visits. I have cooked Tex-Mex all my adult life, but about 7 years ago I began cooking authentic Mexican food using my own ingredients and making my own tortillas, tamales, etc. On one of my visits to NM I attended the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta and took some excellent cooking classes at the Santa Fe Cooking School and the Old Mexico Grill. I love New Mexican food equally as well as Mexican.

I also grow my own chile peppers, tomatillos, and herbs like cilantro and epazote because they are not available locally.

I got into web publishing because I enjoy “meeting” fellow Chile-heads from all over the world and sharing my passion with them.

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