Pie-a-Day #34: Mango Cream Pie in a Graham Cracker Macadamia Nut Crust

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I guess it’s not surprising that the first two pies I made after coming home from Puerto Rico feature tropical flavors.  I think I was curious after the relatively subtle flavor profile of coconut cream to see if the tangy perfume of mango could be carried through in a cream filling.  And then there was the allure of street mangos.  You know when you see the lonely patient latino fruit seller on a residential street corner sitting next to a few cases of strawberries, mangoes and a couple of bags of oranges?   So I pulled over and bought a case of mangos.  At first I wanted to make some jam because the hotel on the island of Vieques had a delicious mango jam on their breakfast tables.  But then I spied a recipe for Mango Cream Pie with a macadamia nut crust in James McNair’s book.

I also thought that if I made a second cream pie on the heels of the first it would increase my comfort with the genre.  And it did.  Craft.  You make something over and over and finally you get comfortable with it and make it well.

I decided that I wanted to make the mango cream with evaporated milk.  If you look at desserts in tropical countries a lot of them rely on this shelf stable product.  It gives the desserts a slight caramelized milk flavor and a satiny texture.  So I used 2 cups evaporated milk and one cup pureed fresh mango, 4 egg yolks, 3 ½ tablespoons cornstarch.  Once the cream cooled it seemed too blah both in color and taste so I folded in more pureed mango to the cream.

The crust is a simple graham cracker crust with some chopped macadamias thrown in for crunch.