Liliko`i (Passion Fruit) Pudding and The Hali`imaile General Store
I am just barely getting grounding here at the beautiful Oregon coast, but let me tell you going back to visit my home, Maui, is DANGEROUS! I did not want to come home and I ate so much I think I gained 10 pounds. I haven’t bothered to look for mercy sakes.
The food in the islands is amazing! We ate fresh fish everyday and all the tropical fruits that we could stuff down. We went to two different farmer’s markets and stocked up for when we were feeling just a little bit hungry. I bought a big bag of liliko`i or other wise known as passion fruit and did I have fun with those!
Some of our favorite places we ate at were Hali`imaile General Store in Hali`imaile, Paia Fish Mart, Milagros Food Company in Paia, Flat Bread Co in Paia, Café O’lei in Kihei, Sea House in Napili`i and Fish Market Maui in Ka`anapali.
I think my personal favorite was eating at the Hali`imaile General Store. Not only was the food amazing but the Cinderella story behind it is to be admired. Bev Gannon is the culinary luminary that has created this world renowned restaurant out of a little old general store that is literally out in the middle of the cane fields.
When I lived in Maui, I only knew of Hali`imaile because it is a great place to gather and play softball on the 4th of July. The Hali`imaile General Store, at that time, was a dusty OLD store that we would buy POG and wasabi peanuts for the game. You would creak through this ancient relic, wondering how old the groceries were on the shelves. Its hey day had been mid century when Hali`imaile was a bustling cane and pineapple village filled with workers that frequented the store.
This poor old establishment finally groaned a surrender and closed. Along came Bev and Joe Gannon, with a vision and a prayer. They have made this stellar establishment that people come from all over the island and world to sit at the alter of great food. Kind of reminds me of field of dreams, “build it and they will come.” I mean, this place isn’t close to anything and the people still come!
We were actually running around in Kula (upcourty) that day, visiting friends, and were coming back down the mountain and had the sudden inspiration to go there now! We arrived between lunch and dinner when they only had the bar menu but it was plenty!
The first thing we ordered was Mai Tais, since we were on a personal quest to try everybody’s. They actually have 2 types of Mai Tais, one sour one sweet. Hubby ordered the sour, me the sweet. They were both excellent. The first dish to land on the table was the brie and grape quesadillas with macadamia nut pesto and edamame guacamole. YUM, but wait, it gets better….drumroll…. then came the sashimi napoleon.
If I had to make a choice of my last meal, this would be it. It was beautiful, complex, and stunning to the taste buds. Just the sort of thing you want to eat when you go out, nothing you would make at home. We finished up with the liliko`i brulee in the almond brittle shell. All I have to say to that is …WOW!
I loved that so much I bought the cook book and trotted home to our friend’s house, where we were staying and made some more for dinner. (remember that big bag I bought at the farmer’s market?) I trimmed off a few calories here and there and it was delish!
It just so happened that we had some beautiful Kula strawberries we had just bought from a sweet, ageless Japanese woman that I swear was a strawberry fairy. Her little strawberry stand just appeared on this tiny back road that we were tuddeling down. Perfect.
Here is my adaptation.
Liliko’i Pudding with fresh Kula Strawberries
2 cups of half and half
¾ cup of raw sugar
1 dozen egg yolks
2 tablespoons of corn starch
1/3 to ½ cup of passion fruit puree (liliko`i)
Sliced fresh berries
First off, prepare an ice bath by filing up a large metal bowl with ice and a just enough water to float the ice. Get out a nice heavy saucepan and bring the sugar and half and half to a boil on medium high heat. Add the cornstarch into a bit of the half and half and add to the saucepan, mix till well blended. While the creamy mixture is heating up, beat the egg yolks in a bowl. It is a good idea to temper the eggs before you toss them into the heat or they will get all lumpy and stuff. Do this by ladling about a half of a cup of the hot cream mixture at a time into the eggs and stirring like crazy. Do this about three times then add the eggs to the sauce pan and stir like crazy, again. Keep cooking and stirring and stirring till the mixture gets thick and pudding like.
At this point, you get to use that nice ice bath you prepared. Set the saucepan in the ice bath and add the passion fruit (liliko`i) puree to the pan and blend till everything is mixed together. Stir occasionally till the dreamy pudding is to room temp. Pour into pretty individual bowls and chill for 2 hours or more. Serve with sliced strawberries. Ono!