Never give up. Great things take time. Be patient.
If you’ve ever visited Kaua‘i, chances are you’ve heard of Hamura’s Saimin. Located near the airport in Līhuʻe, the spot is known for two things: saimin and lilikoʻi (passion fruit) chiffon pie. The first time I tried the pie, I knew it was a forever memory. From its light-as-air chiffon filling to the fluffy whipped cream on top, this pie is like a lilikoʻi cloud. It takes a bit of time to make, but it is worth all the effort. If you can’t find fresh lilikoʻi, check the freezer section of your local grocery store. Goya Foods makes a frozen 100 percent passion fruit pulp, and it is just as good as homemade. If you can’t find Goya, try Ceres brand 100 percent passion fruit juice.
- Pie Crust
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup ice-cold water
- ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 large egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- Lilikoʻi Chiffon
- ¼ cup ice-cold water
- 3½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1¼ cups lilikoʻi (passion fruit) pulp
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Stabilized Whipped Cream
- 1 tablespoon ice-cold water
- ½ teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
- 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Fresh lilikoʻi (passion fruit) seeds, for garnish (optional)
To make the crust, whisk the flour, salt, and granulated sugar together in a bowl. Whisk the vinegar into the cold water and set aside. Toss the butter in the flour mixture and use a pastry blender or your fingers to evenly blend it into the flour until the pieces are pea size. If the mixture begins to get too warm and the butter feels soft, simply pop the bowl into the freezer for a few minutes. Next, drizzle 3 tablespoons of the cold water over the mixture. Stir in the water with a rubber spatula and add additional water, a teaspoon at a time, until you can squeeze a chunk together without it falling apart; it should look shaggy. Use your hands to press the dough together to form a ball, then flatten the ball into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before using.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
On a lightly floured clean work surface, roll the dough out into a round about 3 inches wider than the size of your pie dish (I recommend a 9-inch dish); the dough should be about ⅛ inch thick. Gently fold the round in half and carefully transfer it to the dish. Unfold the round and trim it so there’s about 1 inch of excess dough hanging over. Fold that excess dough under itself and crimp the edges. Using a fork, pierce the dough ten to fifteen times, all around the bottom and a few times on the sides. This will allow the dough to release steam as it bakes. Transfer the dish to the freezer to chill until very firm, about 15 minutes.
Remove the dough from the freezer, completely cover it with aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Gently and carefully remove the foil and pie weights and lower the oven temperature to 375°F. Use a pastry brush to brush the crust all over with the beaten egg white and water. Return the crust to the oven and bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.
To make the chiffon, prepare an ice-water bath by filling a bowl with water and a handful of ice cubes and set it aside. Put the cold water in a small bowl and evenly sprinkle the gelatin powder over it. Set this bowl aside to let the gelatin bloom (hydrate) while you work on the rest of the chiffon. Set a double boiler over medium-low heat and bring the water to a simmer. In the top pan or bowl of your double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks, liliko‘i pulp, ½ cup of the granulated sugar, and salt. Continue whisking until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of a thin glue, 25 to 30 minutes. Be patient; the mixture will thicken and thin before thickening again. When it coats the back of a wooden spoon, it is thick enough (it will thicken further with the addition of the gelatin).
Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the gelatin until it has completely dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing with the back of the wooden spoon. Set the strained mixture over the ice bath to cool quickly.
Meanwhile, set up the double boiler again with a clean top pan or bowl. Combine the egg whites and the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar in the pan or bowl and, using a silicone spatula, stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is warm, 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed until frothy, then slowly increase to high and whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy and can hold a stiff peak, a minute or two. You can test this by lifting the whisk attachment up and out of the bowl; if you can invert the bowl and the peak holds, it’s done. Be carefully not to overwhip this.
Whisk the cooled lilikoʻi mixture, breaking up with your whisk any parts that have started to set. Use your spatula to fold in the egg whites in four additions, making sure they are fully incorporated, without any white streaks. Gently pour the chiffon mixture into the cooled baked pie crust. Loosely cover the pie with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer to set for 1 hour.
To make the whipped cream, put the cold water in a small bowl and evenly sprinkle the gelatin powder over it. Let the gelatin sit and bloom for 5 minutes, then microwave for 5 seconds to dissolve the gelatin. Whisk the mixture to fully dissolve the gelatin, if necessary. Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment and combine the cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla in the mixer bowl. Whisk the mixture on medium speed until bubbles form, then gradually increase the speed to high. Turn the speed to low and add the gelatin mixture, then gradually turn the speed back up to high. Mix until light and fluffy and soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently spread the whipped cream over the top of the frozen chiffon filling and return the pie to the freezer until ready to serve.
Remove the pie from the freezer and let thaw for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving. If desired, garnish the top of the pie with fresh lilikoʻi seeds.
Did you know
Avocados have the most calories of any other fruit