Thursday, June 09, 2011


As has become my custom, during the week between the end of spring semester and the beginning of the first summer session, I attend SUNY's Conference on Instructional Technologies. This year, it was hosted by SUNY Oneonta, a lovely rolling, lush green campus halfway between Schenectady and Binghamton and about a four-hour drive from Plattsburgh. Other than the aptly-named "City of the Hills" almost doing me in--our dorm and the building where the sessions were held were almost a MILE apart!--it was a great conference as always, and it got me excited about trying out some high-tech toys and cutting-edge programs in my classroom. (My summer students should be on notice, as I plan to use them as guinea pigs! Tee hee.)

As for as food goes, it was basic conference/college cafeteria fare, but the last night, they had a luau theme, and a couple of the dinner items were well above par. One was a steamed swordfish with a delicious fresh mango salsa, and the other was part of the dessert bar that was near where we had a fun board game/Wii/karaoke set-up. It was a macadamia nut pie that was SO good, I stole an extra couple of pieces to take home with me and share with my long-suffering housemate who took care of all of the animals while I was away. Also, I wanted to try and replicate the pie at home.

In the end, I decided not to duplicate the standard pecan pie filling, but attempted more of a hybrid buttermilk filling instead. I really liked the tanginess of the buttermilk against the sweet toastiness of the macadamias. The only problem I had was that the bottom crust didn't get cooked through properly, so I would strongly advise blind-baking your crust for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees covered with parchment and pie weights before continuing on with the following recipe:

Macadamia Nut Pie

1 9-inch refrigerator pie crust (or better yet, homemade!)
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups macadamia pieces
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons buttermilk
3 eggs

Form the pie shell into a deep dish pan or tin. Crimp or fork the edges. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to fill and bake. (Better yet, blind bake it first!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the macadamia pieces until both are light golden brown. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt, flour, buttermilk, and eggs. Once the butter and nuts have cooled from hot to warm, add them to the sugar mix and blend well. Pour filling into the chilled (or partially pre-baked!) pie crust and bake for about 55 minutes. (You may wish to cover the pie with aluminum foil at about the 40 minute mark.)

*If I were making this pie for a party (especially one with a Hawaiian theme), I might swap out the vanilla for a tablespoon of dark spiced rum, and I would add about a cup of toasted coconut to the filling.

No comments: