Rediscovering Bygone Baking: The Timeless Charm of Kiskadee Fantasy Pie

Rediscovering Bygone Baking: The Timeless Charm of Kiskadee Fantasy Pie

Baking is often associated with the cozy, cold-weather months, but let’s not forget the delightful summer inspirations that have been handed down through generations. Many cherished baking memories from the past resurface during the warm days, invoking nostalgia and a sense of togetherness. One dessert, in particular, has stood the test of time and continues to capture the hearts of dessert enthusiasts even after 70 years since its inception – the Kiskadee Fantasy pie.

The Allure of Kiskadee Fantasy

Rediscovering Bygone Baking: The Timeless Charm of Kiskadee Fantasy Pie
Rediscovering Bygone Baking: The Timeless Charm of Kiskadee Fantasy Pie

Back in the 1950s, on the picturesque island home of Bermuda, the Kiskadee Fantasy pie was born out of necessity and creativity. The island’s limited product variety, due to the challenge of shipping across the Atlantic, led to ingenious pie-making with simple ingredients. The crust, made from plain saltines crushed fine and bound with melted butter, offered a unique and delectable base. The filling was equally economical, comprising just egg whites, sugar, and vanilla whipped to a fluffy meringue and baked to a golden perfection. Topped with canned crushed pineapple and a generous layer of whipped cream, the Kiskadee Fantasy proved that simple ingredients could create extraordinary flavors.

A Name with a Story

The name “Kiskadee Fantasy” itself is an intriguing tale. It finds its origin in the Great Kiskadee, a small songbird introduced from Trinidad & Tobago in 1957 to manage Bermuda’s lizard population. The bird’s distinctive call and appearance, including its striking yellow belly, inspired the name of this delightful pie. Little did anyone know that this dessert would become a culinary sensation and a beloved symbol of Bermuda’s culinary heritage.

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An Heirloom Recipe Transcending Time

Drawing parallels with the soda-cracker pies popular in America during the 1930s-1950s, the Kiskadee Fantasy encapsulates the spirit of “make-do pies” that could transform humble ingredients into something truly extraordinary. Passed down through generations, this recipe has become a treasured heirloom for many families.

The Legacy Lives On

For me, the Kiskadee Fantasy holds a special place, as my father imparted the art of pie-making, teaching me the intricate process of rolling saltine crumbs, preparing the meringue, and waiting patiently for the pie to cool and firm up. Today, I cherish the memories of those summer days, the salty-sweet goodness, and the vibrant creaminess of this ’50s dessert.

Let’s Make a Kiskadee Fantasy Pie

Rediscovering Bygone Baking: The Timeless Charm of Kiskadee Fantasy Pie
Rediscovering Bygone Baking: The Timeless Charm of Kiskadee Fantasy Pie

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 50 saltine crackers, finely crushed
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the topping:

  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:

  • Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, combine the crushed saltines, sugar, and melted butter. Mix until the mixture is uniform. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan to form the crust.
  • Bake the crust: Bake the crust at 400 degrees until lightly golden for about 10 minutes. Allow it to cool on a wire rack, then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • Whip up the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites and vinegar until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla.
  • Fill the pie: Spoon the filling into the pie shell and smooth the top. Bake the pie at 325 degrees until the meringue turns a beautiful golden brown, typically for 40-50 minutes. Allow the pie to cool completely on a wire rack before preparing the topping.
  • Prepare the topping: Thoroughly drain the crushed pineapple and spread it on a bed of paper towels. Pat it dry, ensuring the pineapple is as dry as possible. Evenly spread the pineapple over the cooled meringue.
  • Whip the cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, combine the heavy cream, sugar, and cream of tartar. Begin whisking slowly and then increase the speed to high. Whip until smooth, stiff peaks form, being careful not to overmix.
  • Finish the pie: Evenly dollop the whipped cream over the pineapple-laden meringue, spreading it carefully to maintain the distinct layers. Store the Kiskadee Fantasy pie in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Conclusion

The Kiskadee Fantasy pie remains a testament to the allure of bygone baking and the rich heritage of Bermuda’s culinary traditions. Its enduring popularity is a testament to the magic of simple ingredients infused with love and history. So, this summer, delight your loved ones with this timeless dessert that brings joy and a taste of the past to the present. Happy baking!

Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/retro-summer-dessert-recipe-ac0fe25e

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