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Piña Colada Pie (With or without Rum)

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ If you like Piña Coladas…..You’ll love Piña Colada Pie!!! A toasted coconut-graham cracker crust is filled with a layer of pineapple/rum curd, a layer of coconut/rum cream and topped with a mound of rum-spiked whipped cream and, finally, a sprinkle of toasted coconut. Alcohol not your thing? Ok. Make it a “Virgin” Colada Pie by leaving out the rum.

a slice of pina colada pie

As you might have guessed if your a frequent reader of my blog, I love a good strong cocktail or a glass of wine. But sweet and creamy drinks are not really my thing. I’d much rather eat a slice of Piña Colada Pie than drink an actual Piña Colada.

If you do love those creamy drinks, I can’t imagine you won’t love this pie.

Remember, you don’t have to be a drinker to enjoy this dessert. If you don’t do alcohol, just make a “Virgin” Colada Pie.

a Pina colada pie with coconut

Tips for making Pina Colada Pie:

  • To create a “Virgin” colada pie use water instead of rum to bloom the gelatin and skip the rum in the coconut pastry cream or whipped cream.

  • The pie shell can be baked and lined with white chocolate a few days ahead.

  • To be sure that the curd will set, use canned pineapple rings not fresh-cut pineapple.
  • The pineapple curd can be refrigerated for several days before assembling the cake.

  • The pastry cream should be made the same day it goes into the pie shell.

  • The assembled pie can be kept covered in the refrigerator for 1 day before topping with cream and serving.

Ok baking geeks, I got some baking science for ya!!

(Not into the science? Feel free to scroll right to the how-to video or recipe.)

From a baking geek’s perspective, the most interesting thing about this recipe is the pineapple curd. Fruit curds are one of my go-to dessert ingredients. I love the bright flavor and luscious texture of a good fruit curd.

Generally, when I include a fruit curd filling within another recipe I’ll just post a link to my basic curd recipe. That recipe is very versatile and can be made with almost any fruit juice. No special explanation is needed.

When I use curd as a tart or cake filling I like to add a little gelatin to help the filling keep it’s shape when sliced. But pineapple poses a problem for any recipe that contains gelatin.

Hey, what is gelatin anyway, and how does it work?

Gelatin is an animal by-product made up of proteins. When gelatin is mixed into a hot liquid (like pineapple juice) the molecules are free to move around. A warm gelatin solution is a free-flowing liquid. As the solution cools down and the molecules move more slowly, the proteins form links. The protein links trap the water in the solution. The cooled gelatin solution is no longer free-flowing. The liquid has become a solid gel.

Fresh pineapple (and papaya, melon, and kiwi) contains a chemical called bromelain. Bromelain contains protein-digesting enzymes. If you add fresh pineapple to a recipe with gelatin, those enzymes will continuously break down the proteins in the gelatin, preventing them from linking-up to form the gel.

When pineapple is heated the enzymes are deactivated, so they no longer prevent the gelatin from setting up. The point of my long-winded gelatin explanation? For any recipe that includes gelatin, you must use canned (or cooked) pineapple instead of fresh. Ok, back to the recipe at hand…

a partially eaten slice of pina colada pie

Watch the recipe video to see how to put together a Piña Colada Pie:

Video Music: “Island Fever” from Partners in Rhyme.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider leaving a 5-star review.

pina colada pie with toasted coconut and rum

Piña Colada Pie (or Virgin Colada Pie)

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes

Toasted coconut-graham cracker crust is filled with a layer of pineapple/rum curd, a layer of coconut/rum cream and topped with a mound of rum-spiked whipped cream and, finally, a sprinkle of toasted coconut. To create a "Virgin" colada pie use water instead of rum to bloom the gelatin and don't use the rum in the coconut pastry cream or whipped cream.

Ingredients

Pineapple Curd

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin powder
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz, 84g) unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 oz, 280g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120ml) canned pineapple juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Graham Cracker Coconut Crust

  • 1 cup (3 oz, 84g) toasted coconut, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers, 5 oz, 140g)
  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz, 84g) butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz, 56g) granulated sugar
  • 4 oz (112g) white chocolate, chopped fine

Coconut Rum Pastry Cream

  • 1 cup (8 oz, 240 ml) Coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120 ml) whole milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 oz, 140g) granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large yolks
  • 3 tablespoons (1.12 oz, 31g) corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons (1.5 oz, 42g) butter
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz, 28g) dark rum

Assembly

  • 5 canned pineapple slices (do not use fresh pineapple, see note)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz, 28g) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup untoasted coconut

Instructions

Make the Pineapple Curd

  1. Bloom the gelatin in 2 tablespoons rum in a medium size bowl. Place the butter on top of the bloomed gelatin. Put a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and keep it near the stove.
  2. Thoroughly combine the eggs and sugar in a medium saucepan. Add the pineapple juice, lemon juice and salt. Heat the egg/juice mixture over medium low heat, stirring constantly. You must be sure to keep stirring across the entire bottom and corners of the pot so the custard does not have a chance to stick. The mixture will start out opaque with a fine white foam over the surface. As it heats up the curd will thicken, become more translucent and the foam will disappear. Cook until the curd coats the back of a wooden spoon and it JUST BEGINS to boil. Don't allow it to come to a full rolling boil.
  3. Immediately remove from the heat and pour through the sieve over the butter and gelatin. Stir until the butter and gelatin are melted and thoroughly incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4-6 hours.

Coconut-Graham Cracker Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set aside 1/2 cup of toasted coconut for decorating.
  2. Combine the graham crackers, the other 1/2 cup of toasted coconut crumbs and the sugar in a food processor. Pulse a few times to grind the crackers and coconut. Sprinkled melted butter over the crumbs and pulse to combine. Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of a deep dish pie plate.
  3. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and cool about 5 minutes. While the crust is still warm sprinkle the chopped white chocolate into the bottom of the pie shell. Allow the chocolate to melt and then carefully spread it across the bottom and sides of the pie shell. Allow the shell to cool completely until the white chocolate is set.

Coconut Rum Pastry Cream

  1. Combine coconut milk and whole milk with half of the sugar, the salt, and the vanilla bean. Heat over medium high until scalding hot.
  2. While the milk heats up, combine the eggs, yolks, remaining sugar and corn starch and whisk until smooth. When the milk is scalding hot pour it into the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Return to the pot and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil.
  3. Remove from the heat and strain back into the bowl from the yolks. Add the butter and rum to the hot custard and whisk to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let it cool at room temperature.

Assembly

  1. Cut the pineapple slices in half and arrange them in the bottom of the white chocolate lined pie shell. Spread the pineapple curd over the pineapple slices. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup untoasted coconut over the curd. Spread the coconut pastry cream over the curd. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight to set the filling.
  2. Whip the cream with the confectioner's sugar, rum and vanilla. Spread the cream onto the chilled filling. Sprinkle with remaining toasted coconut to garnish. Chill until ready to serve.

Notes

There is an enzyme in fresh pineapple that breaks down the protein in gelatin, so gelatin won't set. Cooking the pineapple, as it is when canned, deactivates that enzyme allowing the gelatin to set.

Did you make this recipe?

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