Thursday, September 30, 2010

Paifala – Samoan half-moon pies (traditional recipe)


I’ve done something a little different this time. I’ve made someone else’s recipe.

You see, back in my pre-blogging days, whenever I googled “paifala recipe”, this one recipe would show up 95% of the time. (And Google would also ask me if I meant to search for “paella recipe”. The nerve!)

Since this recipe is out there in Googleland as the recipe for paifala, I was intrigued and had to try it out. Now this is not, I repeat, this is NOT my recipe. Paifala at my house were pineapple-custard stuffed confections enrobed in a buttery, smooth shortcrust pastry. No, this is definitely not that recipe.


This recipe uses cornstarch instead of custard, and the piecrust is similar to masi samoa. The pastry is much nuttier and fragrant than the paifala I’m used to, and the filling is just as good as custard. The ingredients are so simple and unpretentious, and the taste is – what’s the word I’m looking for – honest. That’s why I’m labelling this a ‘traditional’ recipe. No yellow food colouring to be found here folks!


So really, whose recipe is this?
Why, it’s Lily Dayton’s.

Who?
Here, check it out for yourself. I think she finally deserves credit for her much-plagarised recipe.

Unless she got it off Google herself. LOL.
JK. Much respect for Ms Dayton and her paifala.

I’ve made slight changes (5 cups of flour was a tad bit too much for me and her baking time was too short), but otherwise, this is a solid recipe. So here it is, good ole’ honest island-style paifala.

Paifala (makes 5)

Filling:
2 cups drained crushed pineapple
1 cup (200g) sugar
½ cup (120ml) milk
cup (30g) cornstarch
cup (80ml) syrup from crushed pineapple

Piecrust:
3 cups (375g) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
cup (75g) butter
1 cup (240ml) coconut milk
pinch salt

Make the filling ahead and give it ample time to cool to room temperature. Simply mix the pineapple, sugar and milk in a saucepan and heat until simmering. Dilute the cornstarch with the pineapple juice and add this to the pineapple mixture. Stir it over low heat for 1-2 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and cool.

For the piecrust, throw everything in a bowl and mix. When it starts to come together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and press it together. Don’t knead this dough or it’ll be chewy and tough.

Cut your dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into an 8” (20cm) circle. Put some of your cooled pineapple filling into the centre. But pay attention to how much you put in - too much and the pie will burst in the oven, too little and people will complain. The recipe above makes just enough for five pies.

Lightly wet the edges of the piecrust with water, and then fold one half of the pie over the other. Press the edges together with your fingers or, if you wanna be fancy, with a fork. Pierce the top of the pie several times then bake at 375°F (190°C) for 35-40 minutes until light golden. Remove from the oven and cool.

Big half-moon pies are usually served in thick strips, but since these are only 8” wide, I reckon you could give a hungry Samoan a whole one. Or two.
 

79 comments:

  1. this is really helpful thank you so much..nay god bless you

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  2. Wow!!! Awesome, thank you so much! Happy Spring from Boise, Idaho.

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  3. I've been nagging a couple of people who know how to make paifala but won't share (sadly common here) so my bro suggested i jump online to find it and I was like..are you serious? yeah right..but lo and behold here it is..so 1000x faafetai lava..but could I ask do you have a recipe for german buns? I'm actually after the recipe for the filling as this is also nice in the crust of the paifala..thanks again..God bless..

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  4. I know what you mean...sometimes people won't share their recipes because they don't want to, but other times, its because they don't know how to explain it...Samoans are better at showing someone how to do something, rather than talking about it...As for the german buns, I've been meaning to make a recipe for this for ages (it's probably the most requested faux Samoan food on this site) but I don't often deep fry food at home - I have a mental block against it - but I will do my best...Good luck with your paifala!

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  5. Thanks so much for the recipe...I applaud your demonstration, absolutely professional and most of all your methods are very hygienic. Well done!

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  6. Thank you...I used to look for recipes for Samoan food on the internet, but could never find a single reliable resource...so I'm trying to BE that resource...However, as my family can attest, I'm no great cook, so if you try something on this site, pls let me know how it goes...I'm always happy to hear feedback, both positive and negative...Cheers!

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  7. thank you thank you thank you! i have been craving for these for sooooo long but i don't know anyone who can make these. we're a military family stationed out in colorado and its been wayyyy too long since we've been home, so to actually have a TASTE of home is such a blessing and TREAT. i will post up and let you know how it went. off to buy my ingredients and test it out! xoxoxoxo's!

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  8. You're so very welcome! I don't make these too often but when I do, it brings out the 'ai'ū in me...I hope these work out for you...look forward to hearing how they go!

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  9. Thank you Thank you Thank you! I married a Samoan and am really trying to find recipes for food that he has been missing. The pies turned out great.

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  10. The way to a Samoan man's heart is indeed through his stomach...I applaud you for trying to make his kind of food...Better stock up on the coconut milk because that's in 90% of my recipes...happy cooking!

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  11. Hey there. Great recipes and brings back memories growing up in a Samoan household. I was wondering if you have a recipe similar to this -

    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J04v5oKGzrY).

    My mum used to make it all the time and was my favourite dessert. Thanks

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  12. Hi, yes, I have my mother's recipe from the 70s...It's similar to Moniki Miller's...I'll be making my, or rather, my mother's version in the not-too-distant future.

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  13. Great stuff!! I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for that one :)

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  14. But don't let me stop you from trying Moniki Miller's recipe...It looks delicious too!

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  15. I made these for Mothers Day last week. My mother thought that I bought them lol. Was a hit with hubby, mum and aunty. Thank you so much for sharing ;-)

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  16. I am so thrilled to have stumbled upon your blog! My husband is from Amer. Samoa and I try to make him his fav dishes, but I haven't been able to duplicate these pies!! Until now! They are so yummy, and the hubby and kids are getting some real authentic Samoan treats. Thank you!! I'm a loyal follower of your blog now!

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  17. Hi Amanda, I'm happy you stumbled upon my site too. If you ever have any Samoan cooking related questions, fire away. I may not know the answer, but perhaps a reader will. Enjoy the blog!

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  18. Thank you so much for this recipe! I've wanted to learn how to make paifala for so long, but was never able to find a recipe, until I stumbled onto your blog. Fa'afetai tele lava for the recipes and this awesome blog. Your site is now being added to my favorites!

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  19. Wonderful feedback!...You can thank Lily Dayton for the recipe (who, btw, I don't know)...I just happened to make it and put it online...Thanks so much for dropping by my blog.

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  20. HELLO THERE!!!THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE RECIPE..IVE TRY SOME OF UR RECIPE ND IT CAME OUT GREAT...THX FOR SHARING ND GOD BLESS!!!

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  21. Wonderful to hear! Thanks for the feedback.

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  22. Faafetai for the recipes! I am a palagi married to a samoan. He came from a very large family and very few have shared their recipes with me. I have learned many things from just watching when they thought I was just being a dumb palagi...LOL But by watching them, I was able to learn how to make kale, manaupua, and sapasui. I've begged two sisters in law for the recipe for puligi, and they won't share it. So, I am trying to perfect the carmel part. My husband is very grateful for my interest in learning. So, in turn I am grateful for your demonstrations and recipes. Much alofas to you!

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  23. You know, for a split second there, I honestly thought that Julia Roberts had come to visit my blog...but then, her husband isn't Samoan, is he? LOL...I'm very sorry to hear that people aren't sharing what they know...I think it's a shame because I get so many emails and comments from Samoans who don't know how to make our own culture's food...How are we going to develop our cuisine, if we don't pass on our recipes?...I'm very grateful to you too for showing interest in Samoan food. Please make it for your husband, for your kids, and for anyone else that appreciates good eats. Cheers!

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  24. thanks for the recipes. how awesome to have someone like you come along and "make that change"... only a couple of years ago I know for a fact, that this/these recipes weren't "googable"! mum passed away suddenly in 2006 and with her went all those delicious recipes. my most favourite were her paifala half moon pineapple pies and panipopos... she did make these and many other favourite samoan treats in front us and you'd think we'd know the recipe off by heart, but of course we don't... it was all just taken for granted! i can't wait to try these recipes - if there is an afterlife, then mum would be laughing at me right now!! i'm gonna try all of them out ...wish me luck and thanks again for existing! Ema from Sydney.Aust...

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  25. Hi Ema, thanks for your touching comment...I'm really glad you dropped by my blog...If my food is even half as good as your Mum's was, I'll be happy...All the best with your cooking!

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  26. Hello again,

    (continued... from 'anomymous comment July, 2011 6:00am)

    I would just like to say a big THANK YOU again.. I have (since my last comment) made the round panikekes and today (infact right now, I'm eating one!) the paifala half moon pies.. the taste of both the panikekes and of these delicous pies make it seem almost as though Mum's hiding somewhere in my kitchen. Both recipes taste just like "THE" recipes... no doubt about it. It just takes me back to the home I grew up in, back to my childhood, back to the good old days. There are so many memorable dishes on this site I'm looking forward to trying them all. I'm really so greatful that you do exist. My heartfelt thanks....Ema/Sydney.Aust :)

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  27. Hi Ema, it's really awesome that you are rediscovering some childhood food...Sometimes just the smell of certain things, like koko samoa, bring back scenes from the past for me...Whenever I make panikeke, I remember my cousins standing in the kitchen gasbagging and laughing away over the hot oil...Hope you enjoy the culinary walk down memory lane...

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  28. Thank you so much for your wonderful site! i stumbled upon this yesterday and have read and written down the recipes i will try this weekend. I will label myself as a "born again samoan" and am VERY grateful to have your videos and tutorials to help me be more rooted. I know my father will be more than happy to try these foods and my husband as well! thank you

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  29. You're very welcome. Please try as many recipes as you like and let me know how they turn out. Also feel free to ask any questions. I'm really happy that you appreciate my work!

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  30. i'm going to try this one very soon...thanks

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  31. thanks ! it looks delicious!

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  32. Oh my gosh! Love your site and your recipes. I am the "white" cousin in my family and my mother never taught me Samoan. Though I did learn what "sasa" meant pretty early on - LOL. Anyway, getting a recipe was difficult because I could never quite follow what was said totally. You have taken the guess work out of all of my faint memories. Love these recipes and your clear and complete directions!

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  33. I don't know you but I love you!!! Now I will force the hubby to make me Pai fala (after he did so well with your panipopos-yay!!!) LOL

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  34. I don't know you but I LOVE you!!! Now I can force the hubby to make pai fala (after all he did so well with your pani popos- DEEELIIICCCIIOUSS) LOL!!!

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  35. Anonymous, good on you for showing interest in your Samoan side...I test all my recipes in my own kitchen, but if you ever, ever have questions about cooking or anything Samoan, then ask me...I might not always know the answer, but I might know someone that does...Good luck!

    Teine Samoa, you're a true Samoan woman if you've got your man cooking for you...lol...Hope the paifala work out!

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  36. Hi panipopo'z.. am i able to use yellow food colouring in the crust pls?

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  37. i love all your recipes,, the best one iv tryd so far is the pineapple pie.. my next step is to make paifala..

    thanks again panipopoz :)

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  38. Sure, just remember that with colouring, a little goes a long way.

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  39. hi there.. can you tell me where can i get cornstarch frm pls/ iv call a couple of supermarkets bt they dont sell it?

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  40. Hi, I have no idea where you're located, so can't really give advice on where to buy it...Best idea would be to substitute the cornstarch for twice the amount of flour.

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  41. Thank you for this recipe! I tried it out today and my crust came out thin. I think I rolled it out to thin, but over all still delicious!

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    1. Thanks for the feedback! Glad you liked the recipe.

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  42. OHH THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I've been longing to eat these for sooooo long.

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  43. Can't wait to try this one out but (sorry sorry!!) can you also put the recipe of the paifala you had as a child please? So demanding I know lol.

    Thanks!!

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    1. Go to recipes, Inspired and it's there.

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  44. Me and my sister have been looking for a "half-moon" recipe for the longest...My Aunty and Uncle go quiet when we ask for the recipe. What is up with all that?? Lol! Anyways, I told my sister about your blog and your measuring joke with your Mom and sister..Haha. We are definitely thankful for your blog:)) We'll be trying this recipe and will post pics...I agree with you on spreading the Samoan love through cooking! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!

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    1. Hi Caroline, good luck with the pai. They're not that hard to make, just take a little time. Hope you try some of the other recipes on the blog and I can't wait to see your pics!

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  45. Thank you SO MUCH for making this blog & sharing all of these wonderful recipes & actually showing us how to make them! Most people who know how to make these Samoan dishes aren't very generous when it comes to sharing recipes/techniques! So happy I googled the recipe for pagipopo which lead me to your blog! Thank you & please keep them coming for us to keep the taste of samoa in our homes. God bless:)

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    1. Hello Jaclyn, you're very welcome. Hoping this site can be your one-stop internet page for all things to do with Samoan food. Happy cooking!

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  46. I made theses today and it tasted deli. The only thing is the pineapple filling was too sweet with one cup of sugar. Mayb nexts time I will put half a cup of sugar but other then that its still tastes good. Thank you from a kiwi living in San Francisco.

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    1. Thanks for your feedback. The filling works for me because the pastry has no sugar in it, but of course, adjust as necessary for your taste. Happy baking!

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  47. Living in New York where there's absolutely no Samoan culture around lol my husband and I are extremely excited to try out your recipes. I feel horrible growing up in a Samoan house and not taking advantage of the recipes that were being made right in front of me. Thank you!!

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    1. Wow, New York! Never been there but definitely on the bucket list. Good luck with your Samoan cooking and please leave feedback about the recipes anytime.

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  48. I just made these for the first time as I've been craving food from home. The results were fantastic!! Naturally, my tasters asked for more pineapple filling next time :D

    Thanks for these recipes :)

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    1. Malo Bina. When the craving hits, it just nags at you until you make the darned things. I know the feeling. Thanks for trying the recipe and good luck with your future cooking!

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  49. I'm making this for my husband's birthday tomorrow! Thanks for sharing your recipes!

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    1. No worries Anika, pleasure to share...Good luck with your baking and hope your husband has a fantastic birthday!

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  50. Please do let me know when you get a recipe for German Buns. I have been trying to figure out myself how to make some. I made my own recipe for panipopo and they came out awesome. I love to bake so I just threw in the basic and there it went. I put it in my facebook notes to share for all my family and friends. Another thing, I love to make cinnamon buns. But I find that the double rise dough makes tastier buns and they stay fresh and nice even after in the fridge. Of course it takes too long. I'm looking forward to trying out your recipes. They look so tasty :) Please don't forget the German Buns!! lols

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    1. German buns are simply a filled doughnut. You can fill it with caramelised coconut shreds, thickened suafa'i, or sweet coconut cream - the possibilities are endless. Thanks for the tip about the double rise dough. I'm always happy when people share what they know. Happy baking!

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  51. I am so happy your site is up again! I used it all the time last year and then it was gone... sooo sad. Are you still doing the videos?

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    1. It takes me several hours of filming and editing to create one clip so I put those on the backburner in order for the blog to move forward. Expect the next video to be 'How to make pisua'.

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  52. Yay! This is like one of my all time favorites. Thank you for posting. :-)

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  53. Hey just wondering if this is plain flour or self raising flour? :)

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  54. Thanks for this recipe! I made paifala last night and my family and my palagi friends loved them : )

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    1. Thank you ReaderWriter. I love this recipe too - so simple and honest.

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  55. Can you make ahead and freeze?

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  56. Thank goodness for you and your videos.I finally made one of your recipes and it came out the same way my dad made. Bless your heart for sharing. I'm super stoked on trying out all the other recipes. Again thank you so much.

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  57. Thanks for the recipes. Family's based in Beijing for the next few years and missing the taste of home!! Should have learnt properly off mum while she was still around - but will give it a whirl!

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  58. Thank you for sharing your recipes with all of us-web peeples :) I was wondering if you've ever tried making it as a whole “moon" pie instead of half moon pie? What kind of adjustments to the ingredients and measurements would you make?
    I have a to-go-to recipe for flaky pie crust but I'm contemplating if I should use my flaky crust recipe or stick with your pie crust recipe. What do you think I should do? Would my flaky crust be stable enough to hold the pie if I were to make it half? Also can I substitute the coconut milk with half and half or milk? Uugghhh!! I do apologize for asking tons of questions, but do know that I value your thoughts. I appreciate all the help you can afford me. Oh and Merry Christmas!

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    1. Whole moon pie? How cute. No, I have never tried making this a whole moon pie although I assume you could just use your go-to pie crust recipe and fill it with the filling above, no problem. Your flaky crust would be strong enough to hold the pastry and yes, you can substitute the half and half but you'll be missing out on the flavour and goodness of coconut milk. Merry Christmas right back at you.

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  59. Hi there, I'm new to baking lol and have a couple questions, is the pie crust meant to be biscuit like? And when preparing and mixing, my dough wasn't sticky, so i added a little more coconut milk lol. It was a little more stickier than before, I don't think it hurt, however just wondered, in future, should i add more coconut milk? I live in a very warm area, so I'm also thinking my dough dried up a little from the humidity. Thank you for this awesome recipe.. new to baking and your recipes are easy to follow :)

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    1. Hi there, it's not supposed to be biscuit-like. It's supposed to be flaky and light, like a pie crust. If you find that your dough is getting too sticky to handle from the heat, just place it in the refrigerator for half an hour (hardens up the fats) until you can handle it again. Good luck!

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