Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
Lychee is a delightfully sweet, tropical fruit—to me it tastes a bit like melon crossed with a much sweeter, more acidic flavor. I've had two big cans of lychees stashed away in the cupboard for what must be a few years now, so when I was trying to figure out what kind of pie to make for a coworker's birthday, the idea of incorporating this fruit sprang to mind.
One of my favorite pies that I've made recently calls for pineapple jam—an odd-sounding thing from a French 1980s and '90s TV show entitled La cuisine des Mousquetaires (The Food of the Musketeers) that I'd stumbled upon on Youtube. For my coworker's birthday, I decided to combine pineapple jam with banana and lychee.
The result was deliciously tropical, sweet but not overpowering, nicely citrus but balanced. With a rich buttery crust, flaky and sweet, and a topping of cinnamon-flavor graham crackers, you can't go wrong! While it is somewhat laborious and difficult to make, since it requires well over a day of various processes and multiple steps, I think it is well worth it.
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This recipe is based upon my recipe for a vibrant pineapple, strawberry, and mango pie.
For the filling:
- 1 pineapple
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 limes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 bananas
- 1 (20-ounce can) lychee
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- 6 egg yolks
For the crust:
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons whipping cream
Graham cracker topping:
- 2 graham crackers
- 2 tablesoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Make the pineapple jam (the pie filling): Remove the exterior of a pineapple and the hard core of the fruit. Chop the remaining fruit into small pieces. In a bowl, add the chopped fruit, juice of limes or lime juice, and brown sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- After the 24 hours, place the pineapple-sugar mixture into a saucepan. Over low heat, cook for 50 minutes; then mash until it is reasonably smooth and broken down. Once it is cool, add in the milk and egg yolks and beat until everything is combined into a smooth mixture. (For a firmer pie, add less milk.)
- Make the crust: Allow the butter to reach room temperature (or microwave it to warm it up). In a small bowl, combine the butter, flour, confectioner's sugar, and salt. Beat until it comes together in little balls. Then add the whipping cream and create a smooth ball.
- Either roll this out or place it directly into a large 10-inch pie dish, and flute the edges delicately. Poke holes in it with a fork and place it into a 350-degree F oven for 10 minutes, with aluminum foil over it. Then remove the aluminum foil and cook another 10 minutes.
- Once this has cooled, place the bananas, peeled and sliced, and the litchis, with their juice drained, into the pie crust. Then add in the pineapple filling to cover it and make sure it is well distributed.
- Place this into the oven again at 350 degrees F for 60 minutes. When it is removed, place the graham cracker crumble over it, with two graham crackers that have been crumbled and mixed with a teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of sugar, sprinkling it over the top of the pie.
- Place the pie back into the oven at 350 degrees F for another 15 minutes. Allow it to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and perhaps add whipped cream.