In the Summer when the days are easy...and hot...I like to make desserts that require minimal effort. The only baking required for my Paradise Island Pie is the crust. Otherwise, the ingredients require a mixer and chilling time. When I think of island life, I think of crashing waves, breezy days and lots of sunshine. So, for my pie, I include the bright flavor of fresh orange zest, toasted coconut, toasted macadamia nuts, sweet pineapple and a decadent creamy no bake filling. Yes, to us, it's a taste of the island life right here at home!
For the crust you'll need:
2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly spritz the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan with cooking spray. Roughly chop the macadamia nuts. I usually toss them in my food processor and give them a couple of whirls until they are the size that I want. [tip: The nuts shouldn't be ground, but, by chopping them finer the crust will hold together more easily.] Mix together all of the crust ingredients, and press firmly onto the bottom and about 3/4 inches up the sides of the pan. Bake for 16-18 minutes until golden and set. Cool completely.
For the filling you'll need:
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 [2.6 oz] box dry whipped topping mix [I used Dream Whip -2 envelopes]
2 [3.4 oz] boxes instant coconut cream pudding mix
1 [8 oz] can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 1/2 Tbsp orange zest [plus add'l for garnishing]
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
16 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted macadamia nuts
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together both envelopes of whipped topping mix with 1 cup of milk until stiff peaks form. This step will take around 4-6 minutes, so, if you're doing this with a hand mixer, patience is the key. Add both boxes of pudding mix, 1 1/2 cups of whole milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Whip for an additional 3 minutes until the mixture is fully thickened and slightly golden in color.
Use a large spoon or spatula and fold in the crushed pineapple and grated orange zest.
Pour the filling over the cooled crust and smooth the top. Place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours before you attempt to cut into pieces.
Ice the pie and garnish with thawed whipped topping. Sprinkle with orange zest and toasted macadamia nuts. Yield: 8-10 pieces
To toast the macadamia nuts for sprinkling on top, spread out in an even layer on a baking sheet. Toast at 350°F for 6-8 minutes until golden. Cool completely.