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Macadamia Coconut Chiffon Pie

Mrs. Joyce Sharpe was one of my favorite cooks. The mother-in-law of my sister-in-law, Cate, Joyce would always make wonderful dishes and baked goods for our family parties. Always a proper lady, Joyce made her delicious contributions even more special by presenting them on beautiful serving ware. Joyce shared this recipe with me several years before she passed away. It is by far one of the best cream pies I have ever made or tasted. I have served it at many a kani ka pila to rave reviews and think of her kindness and skill with every kudo.

Serves 8
Preparation Time: 1 hour

1 envelope gelatin
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups milk
3 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup chopped Macadamia nuts
1/2 cup coconut, finely shredded
1 (9″) pie shell, baked and cooled
1 pint whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped Macadamia nuts
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Optional Step: Put 1/4 cup chopped Macadamia nuts into a dry 6” or 8” non-stick skillet. Toast over low heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to thoroughly cool. This can be done up to 48 hours in advance. If made ahead, store toasted nuts in an airtight container. The toasting intensifies the flavor of the nuts and also gives them a bit of color.

Fill the bottom of a double boiler with water. Bring water to a simmer over medium-high heat.

While the water comes to a simmer, whisk the following in the top of double boiler, off of the heat until thoroughly mixed: gelatin, sugar, salt, milk and egg yolks.

Put the top of the double boiler over the simmering water, and cook, stirring until mixture is slightly thickened.
Remove from heat and cool to touch at room temperature. Whisk in vanilla.

When mixture is custard consistency, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a 2-3 quart mixing bowl (preferably copper) until soft peaks form. Note: make sure the bowl and beaters are very clean and very dry. One speck of water or oil will prevent whites from fluffing up.

Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the custard, then fold in the nuts and coconut.

Pour into the prepared pie shell, smoothing with a spatula.

In a 2-3 quart mixing bowl, beat whipping cream with 2 teaspoons powdered sugar until stiff.

Spoon whipped cream on top of pie. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and coconut. Chill. Best when freshly made.

Can be made 1 day in advance.

Variation: For a Mac Banana Cream Pie, put thinly sliced banana pieces on the bottom of the pie shell before adding the custard. Pour in half of the custard, and top with another layer of thinly sliced bananas. Pour in the remaining custard and smooth with a spatula. Continue with the remaining steps in the recipe.