A Sparkling Vintage Life


I stumbled across this summery-sounding recipe for pineapple pie in the June 1938 issue of Good Housekeeping, in an article titled “Dining in Hawaii.”  In that year Hawaii had not yet become a state, and air travel was not as widely practiced as it would later become, although of course cruise ships plied the Pacific waters.  The article even predates the attack on Pearl Harbor, when Americans who’d never given a thought to Hawaii would reach for the nearest atlas for a frantic geography lesson. In any case, I found it interesting that Hawaiian-themed cuisine would be featured in a mainstream women’s magazine as early as 1938.

royal hawaiian2Starring Hawaii’s most famous export (besides Don Ho),  this recipe for pineapple pie is said to have originated at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, a grande dame of island resorts. The 1927  hotel was built in the Spanish style that must have been all the rage then (in Sandpoint, Idaho, near my home, the Panida Theater and the old Federal Building are other examples of this style, also dating to 1927).

Situated on Waikiki Beach, the Royal Hawaiian boasts of having “ushered in a new era of luxurious resort travel to Hawaii,” hosting many luminaries over the years. During the war it served the U. S. Navy as a rest  and recreation center. Completely restored in 2008, the Royal Hawaiian remains a landmark destination.

Here, then, is their celebrated dessert as it appeared in Good Housekeeping, which suggested accompanying it with “coconut milk with its thin, strange, attenuated sweetness, and coffee from the Kona coast–coffee never to be forgotten with its wild, rich flavor.”


4 eggs (ed. note: separated)
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 drained, crushed pineapple
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/2 c. hot pineapple juice
4 Tbs. lemon-flavored gelatin dessert
1 10-in. pastry shell, baked

Combine the egg yolks, 1/2 c. of the sugar, the salt, 1/4 c. of the crushed pineapple, lemon juice and rind in a double boiler. Cook over hot water, while stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened. Heat 1/2 cup pineapple juice that has been drained from the crushed pineapple. Add the lemon-flavored gelatin dessert, and stir until dissolved. Add to the egg-yolk mixture, while stirring, and chill until beginning to thicken. Then fold in the egg whites, which have been beaten stiff, with the remaining 1/2 c. of sugar. Pour into the pastry shell, and chill until set. Just before serving garnish with 1/2 c. well-drained crushed pineapple. Serves 8.