Sing-a-Nut Pie

One fine Sunday, a dear friend and fellow Blogger - the lovely Caja of “DejaFood” - challenged me to a pie-off. An international, 6,000km flight away, trans-continental Key Lime pie-off.

It came about because of Pinterest. Don’t know it? Allow me to explain.

Pinterest is a virtual pin up board which enables you to organise and share all of the beautiful, interesting, quirky, creative and imaginative “stuff” you find on the net. People create their own thematic boards and 'pin' things that interest them, keeping it well organised for later referral and sharing it with their fellow Pinner buddies.

Such a simple idea. But really the concept is brilliant and extremely useful. How many times have you come across interesting tid-bits on the net and moments later forgotten about them as you have no way to keep them stored and organised? Now you just pin it to your appropriately themed board!

However, like anything new that is testing waters there are mixed reviews. Pinterest has also been described as "...the best and worse thing to ever happen to the wedding industry - and a women's self esteem, for that matter" with Comediva mocking Pinterest obsessed users with their comic depiction "Pinsanity". Critics are also questioning whether Pinterest is a haven for copyright violations, see here and here for some of those musings.

Having said all of that, like all social media tools you should find the way they work for you. Or don’t and ignore them, it’s your choice. For me, it resulted in a pie off with Caja sharing a recipe for Key Lime Pie.

I don’t know why but I like the sound of the words “Key Lime pie”. I don’t even know if I like Key Lime pie itself, I have never eaten it before and despite the challenge laid down by the lovely Caja I can honestly say I still haven’t! But the words just roll off your tongue, nice like, Key Lime …

... and for some reason it reminds me of the Beach Boys song Kokomo which featured heavily at a poolside bar in one 1980s family holiday in Broome, Western Australia. I think the resort only had one mix tape which was on repeat every day. Well, actually, back in those days the bar man would have hit eject, flipped the tape and started it on side A again!

Thanks to the pin, a message exchange ensued and before I knew it I had agreed to the aforementioned “international, 6,000km flight away, trans-continental Key Lime pie-off”. We both decided we would give this recipe a try and report back in the interest of pie lovers the world over (and lets be honest, our own selfish want of pie).

Now a bit of history. Key Lime pie gets its origins in the Florida Keys region in the the US of A, aptly named for its use of the small “Key Limes” naturalised in that area (inventive lot). The first Key Lime pie was thought to date back to the late 19th century with the first official recipe being recorded in the 1930s.

Therein was my first problem with the pie off challenge. No ability to obtain Key Limes in Singapore. How does one make a Key Lime pie without Key Limes? I settled on the only limes available at Tekka (my local market) and I suspected they were probably grown up the road here in Singapore.

So what did that make my pie then? It was no longer a Key Lime pie, so why stop there! Why not change the whole damn thing and invent a new pie. Don’t mind if I do! Given the original recipe was fairly basic the only other element I could really change was the base.

Our kitchen, or the "mini-kitchen" as we fondly refer to it on account of it having a grand total of 30cm of bench space, is still in the pre-renovation stage and is not currently air conditioned. Preparing things like butter laden short crust pastry is rather difficult in the small, hot, humidity drenched space.

Therefore, out with the traditional fiddly pastry base and in with a tropical, easy to make coconut pie crust that Flick had taught me in my early 20s. A perfect fit to complement the tang of the limes and so much easier to work with in the mini kitchen!

So without further ado, I proudly present to you (and especially to Caja) my Sing-a-Nut pie. It started out as Key Lime pie and morphed into what can only be described as delicious! A quick and easy crowd pleasing desert for those warm summer evenings spent bbq’ing in the back garden (or sky high on the balcony in our case).

The pie flaunts a creamy, tangy lime custard-like filling, encased in a coconut base that has a chewy under belly and crunchy edges. It is "easy as pie" to make (ok, apologies for that) and is inexpensive.

The Sing-a-Nut pie, cant go wrong!

Sing-a-Nut Pie
Morphed, borrowed and inspired by Caja and Flick

For the base:
2.5 cups of dessicated coconut
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
2 eggs lightly beaten

Set your oven to 180°C and grease the bottom of a loose bottomed flan tin with high sides. A 23cm tin with high sides is preferable, but go with what you have.

Mix the coconut, sugar and flour in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the lightly beaten eggs. Mix to combine, I use my KitchenAid with the flat paddle.

Place the mixture into the flan tin and press it into the base and sides of the tin. Ideally you want quite a thin base and sides, hence calling for a deep and wide flan tin. If you have a smaller or shallower flan tin use less of the mixture, or even better make 2 pie cases as they freeze well.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the edges are golden brown. You don't need to add pastry weights when baking this case.

Set aside to cool completely.

For the filling:
125ml of lime juice
8g of gelatin (you can use sheets or powder, both work fine)
3 egg yolks
400g tin of sweetened condensed milk
3tsp of lime zest

Warm the lime juice in a small saucepan and then stir in the gelatin, keep stirring until it is completely dissolved.

Beat the egg yolks (again I use the flat paddle attachment on my kitchenaide) and condensed milk together until combined. Then add the lime juice and gelatin mixture, beating on high speed for 2 minutes.

Pour the filling into your prepared coconut pie case and then refrigerate for 3 hours until set.

Serve cold with clotted or double cream, or/and vanilla ice cream.

Yield: 8-10 small slices from a 23cm flan tin


Kale - I am seeing it every where, in Donna Hay's Winter Jun/Jul issue 63, and on some of my favorite US foodie blogs here and here. It is being hailed as the new spinach! I was very excited to see some on offer at Tekka today and I am looking forward to trying out this new foodie fad ...

Lastly, an update on the apartment farming: the heirloom tomatoes are flowering like crazy and smell amazing when we water them ...

...and our lovely sweet basil plants have been lost in the jungle of stems ...

The stalks are now tapping against the balcony door, is the Day of the Triffids upon our apartment?