A friend of the family was going through some old things that belonged to her mother and found an article from our local newspaper from 1987. Cooks/bakers in our area were being spotlighted by friends and family for their talents and recipes. My grandmother was one of the bakers chosen. This was news to me! I do not remember this article and the absolute most unbelievable thing to me was of all the recipes that she selected to go into the paper I had only had 2 of them. I went through the list of recipes and selected one that I just had to try today. Japanese Pie? What? The only one in our family that remembers this pie, vaguely, was my mother. So with that said, I had to find out something about this recipe.
My research of course started with the Internet. The only thing I could really find out was that it is more commonly referred to as Japanese Fruit Pie, and it has raisins and nuts in it instead of dates. It is considered to be as popular in the South as Pecan Pie. Okay, I’m going to have to disagree with that statement since I heard the name of it for the first time last week. Given the list of ingredients, nothing screams Asian to me. It is a mystery. If anyone knows the real origin of this recipe, feel free to comment.
It is very simple to make as long as you have the strange ingredients. The filling looks curdled and smells like pickle juice when you pour it into the shell. When it comes out of the oven it smells like cheese. Not to worry. That’s normal.
Let’s please talk taste. I’m sure you are just dying to know after that description. It has the filling of a Pecan Pie, the texture of a Coconut Pie, and the flavor of a Fruit Cake. Crazy? I know. If I chose to make this again I would reduce the vinegar to 2 teaspoons, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and ½ cup of nuts. My family, on the other hand, thought it was excellent and would not change a thing except for a few nuts.
Mimi’s Japanese Pie
1 stick butter or Margarine, softened to melted
1 c. sugar
1 T. vinegar
1/2 c. coconut
1/2 c chopped dates
dash of salt
Beat butter, sugar, and eggs. Add the rest of ingredients. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 deg. for 40 mins – 50 minutes until done.
Note: Raisins may be substituted for the dates.