I have a lot of canned pineapple in my house. Why? Because when I went quarantine shopping in March all the fresh produce was gone, and I started freaking out about my family getting scurvy. Two weeks later produce was back, nobody’s teeth fell out, and I was stuck with a cabinet full of canned pineapple. It’s not that I don’t like canned pineapple—I do! I grew up eating canned pineapple on cottage cheese for breakfast; I like freezing crushed pineapple into cubes to add to seltzer, lemonade, and iced tea. So why do I still have this cabinet full of pineapple? Because whenever I wander into the kitchen to feed myself I see the pineapple, my brain says, “TOO HEALTHY!” and then my body calls for half a pint of sour cream straight from the container.
Whenever I am mentally and emotionally volatile, it’s only right that my body should be that way, too, so my brain doesn’t get jealous. Some days I feel great and totally in control, and those days are for salads and vegetables. Some days I watch the news, and I eat an entire pie with a giant spoon. So let’s turn all that healthy canned pineapple into something that can help us tune out the cacophony of reality and allow us, if only for a fleeting moment, to live in a world where the only two things that matter are you and pie.
As long as you have a food processor, you can make this pie with minimal effort. First, you process butter, sugar, and flour together to make a shortbread crust that gets easily pressed into the pie (or tart; doesn’t matter) pan. After a quick blind baking, it gets filled with a roasted cashew cream, which is also made in the food processor. I use cashews because they’re awesome and more people should be making things with cashews. If you don’t like them, no big deal! This recipe should work well enough if you use a different nut, or even a can of mixed nuts. On top of the cashew cream comes the pineapple, which is simply mixed with a few basic ingredients and some of the sour cream I didn’t eat out of the container. Once it’s baked, just scatter sugar over the whole thing and brûlée it with a blowtorch. If you don’t have one, you can throw it under the broiler for a minute, or just skip this step entirely. Lacking a torch should never prevent you from taking care of your mental health or saving your family from scurvy.
For the crust:
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, roughly cut into smaller pieces
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
For the cashew cream:
- 1 cup finely ground cashews
- 1 stick unsalted butter, roughly cut into smaller pieces
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1-2 Tbsp. rum or other complementary liquor (optional)
For the pineapple layer:
- 1 (20-oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Additional sugar, for brûléeing (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put all the ingredients into the food processor and pulse until fully mixed, then press the dough into a pie or tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
In the food processor (you don’t need to clean it first), pulse together the cashews, butter, and sugar until they’re well mixed, then add the egg, vanilla, salt, and rum (if using). Pulse five times, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then pulse as needed until a smooth paste forms.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl until smooth, then add the pineapple, sugar, sour cream, flour, kosher salt, and vanilla. Stir until combined. That’s it!
When the crust comes out of the oven, add the cashew cream and smooth out using the back of a spoon or a small spatula. Cover with the pineapple mixture, smooth out once again, then pop it into the oven to bake for 50 minutes, then let cool for at least 10 minutes.
Put about 1/4 cup of sugar into a small bowl, then use your fingers to sprinkle it across the pie until the surface is completely covered (do your best to keep it even). Once it’s fully coated, use a small blowtorch to brûlée the sugar, or slide the pie under your oven’s broiler and keep a close eye on it—once it’s ready, sugar goes from raw to burnt very quickly, so don’t take your eyes off of it.