Saturday, December 11, 2010
Eldoris Dyer's Pineapple Casserole
The handwritten instructions I received for this are somewhat imprecise.
But then, so was the man who wrote them out for me. A dear fellow, but...
At any rate, this shit's good. Here's a slightly altered ingredient list & procedure:
3/4 cup butter- I used salted, since the recipe does not call for added salt.
1 cup sugar (!)
a 20 oz can of crushed pineapple- see below
8 slices white bread
Pre-heat the oven to 375.
Melt the butter. Hold the 8 slices of white bread together in a brick, and generously butter the crusts. Then carefully saw the crusts off with a bread knife. Tear the bread middles into 1-inch chunks or so and put them in an 11" casserole dish. Reserve the crusts for the top.
Thoroughly combine the eggs & sugar in a large-ish mixing bowl. I put in a dash of vanilla, even though it isn't in the recipe. Can't leave well enough alone. Mix in the pineapple and melted butter and carefully pour over the bread chunks. Push everything down until it's in an even layer in the pan, then lay the crust bits over it. Sprinkle a fair amount if sugar over the crusts. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes.
1. I think actually following the recipe regarding the pineapple is probably best. I didn't have crushed pineapple in my cupboard, I just wanted to use up the can of pineapple rings I had bought on impulse a few months ago. So I stuck the rings in the mini-prep, and used about 3/4 of the juice remaining in the can. A can of crushed would have both been easier and netted more actual pineapple in the dish.
2.The crust thing is not half as OCD as it looks. Once you butter the bread brick, the crusts will have a tendency to come off all stuck together.
3. My eggs were cold. If they were room temperature, I bet it would cook lots faster.
4. Yup, that's a lot of sugar. Put it in anyway.
5. This may be important- I didn't actually assemble the thing as stated above- I mixed the bread in with the liquids in the bowl, then dumped it into the casserole dish. I think the procedure I've written out would be better because I had forgotten that genuine, store-bought, white bread will instantly disintegrate on contact with moisture. There would be a greater semblance of texture to the finished product, I think, if the liquid were just poured over the bread.
Man, it was hard not to dink around with this recipe. I wanted to put in bits of candied ginger, I wanted to top it with grated palm sugar, I wanted to make it with bacon drippings, all kinds of kooky notions went through my head. And then I decided not to. I figured that its authentic, 50's-era, white-people-food quality should stand on its own. If it was good enough for Eldoris Dyer to pass down to her grandson, then damnit, it oughtta be good enough for anybody. But I do wish I'd gone back over to Pete's to swipe a can of maraschino cherries out of his fridge. It'd look fancy.