Remember when I told you about my Nana Ruth? These Pineapple Pie Bars are another recipe from her. Now, it should be noted that I don’t make these bars all that often. And not because they’re not good (they are delicious), or because they’re difficult to make (they’re easy peasy), but because…ummm, one time I made them when I was pregnant with #2 and I ate nearly 3/4 of the entire pan before they were even cooled down.
You guys, I gained over 60 pounds during that pregnancy and I still have no idea why?!
Anyway, ever since then I’m always a little leary of making them, but the other day it was gloomy and raining buckets and I felt like we needed something bright and cheery to snack on. And all the crazies were home to hold me accountable, so I figured it was safe. If you’ve ever had one of those old fashioned pineapple pies people used to bring to picnics in the 80′s, these bars taste a lot like those. Hence the name, pineapple pie bars. Duh. The big difference is that they’re in a bar form, so eating them with a fork is optional (awesome), and the crust is sort of a cross between a pie crust and a shortbread cookie and packed with sweetened coconut flakes (double awesome). They’re a winner!
Nana Ruth’s recipe calls for canned pineapple pie filling, but I didn’t have any and I sure as heck didn’t feel like running out to the store in the middle of a tropical depression. So I made my own. Crushed pineapple, butter, cornstarch, and sugar is all you need.
Open both cans of crushed pineapple and pour them (juice and all) into a saucepan with a heavy bottom.
Then add the cornstarch.
And the sugar.
Now stir this together on the stove over medium high heat, until it starts to boil. Boil for five minutes, stirring constantly.
Then take the pot off the heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Stir until the butter melts and viola! You just made pie filling. Now just set this aside to cool a bit. You could even make this a day in advance and refrigerate it.
For the crust you’ll need some flour, sugar, vanilla, an egg, sweetened coconut flakes, and…a whole pound of margarine. Yeah, I know but this recipe makes a lot of bars.
Throw the margarine in an extra large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. P.S. Nana Ruth’s recipe specifically says to use margarine, not butter. I don’t know why this is, but when a 7′ tall German woman with a size 14 shoe tells you not to use butter, you don’t use butter! You could try it with butter but my guess is that it will spread a lot more, and totally change the texture/consistency of these. I’ve personally never tried the butter because well, if I wound up wasting an entire pound of butter I’d probably cry myself to sleep for a week.
Add the sugar…
…and coconut flakes. Make sure you’re using a really big bowl for these because, as you can see, it’s getting pretty full in there!
Then add the vanilla. Which I almost never measure, as you can see. There is no such thing as too much vanilla. I’m pretty sure Nana Ruth would agree!
Then add an egg, and mix this all together.
When everything is mixed you should have a fairly wet clumpy dough that looks a lot like this.
Use your fingers to press 3/4 of the dough into the bottom of a 13×18″ baking sheet. No need to grease it.
Then spoon your pineapple pie filling out onto the dough…
…and spread it into an even layer.
Then break the remaining dough into rough chunks and layer them over the top of the pineapple pie filling.
Bake at 350 for about an hour, or until the tops are golden brown. Let them cool before slicing into squares.
I whipped about a cup of whipping cream, sweetened with some sugar, to dollop on top of these.
I use a pizza cutter to cut these into (approximately) 3×3″ squares, which gives me about 24 bars. They’re great for picnics, or rainy afternoons, or just about any time you want something sweet and easy to snack on. They’re maybe not so great for times you’re alone and your willpower is compromised. If pineapple isn’t your thang, feel free to change up the pie filling to whatever you want. Enjoy!
- FOR THE PINEAPPLE PIE FILLING:
- 2 20oz. cans Crushed Pineapple
- ⅓ cup Sugar
- ¼ cup Cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 1 lb. Margarine (do not use butter)
- 4 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2½ cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 whole Egg
- 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- Add both cans of pineapple with their juices, sugar, and cornstarch to a heavy bottom skillet. Bring to boil over medium high heat. Boil five minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of butter. Set aside to cool.
- To make the crust, combine margarine, flour, sugar, coconut flakes, vanilla, and egg in an extra large bowl. Mix until well combined.
- Use fingers to press ¾ of the dough into an ungreased 13×18 baking sheet. Spread the pie filling over the dough in an even layer. Crumble remaining dough over the pie filling.
- Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
- Cool and cut into squares. Makes approximately 24 bars.
- While bars are cooling, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Sweeten with sugar. Dollop on bars as desired.