Dinh’s Papaya Pie, with Mom’s pie crust

English: Pumpkin pie with whipped cream

English: Pumpkin pie with whipped cream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dinh  our French Vietnamese chef taught my mother many things  and his culinary knowledge clearly outweighed hers. His cooking added many more recipes and fond memories of meals prepared by my mother after we had relocated to a new ” Tour of duty”. However the one recipe of my mother’s that Dinh adopted was her pastry  dough recipe (pie crust) handed down from her Grandmother (or so I was told) as part of the Family Apple pie recipe. ( I will  share this recipe in a future blog)  My mother loved to cook and I imagine that Dinh was a gift to her in so many ways, she had a respite from the daily household chore of cooking, she had begun working full-time as a civil servant in the ” steno pool”  before we left Maryland and continued with working outside the home in Vietnam. She must have appreciated  the sense of harmony and continuity Dinh added to our home for the years he was with us

AND he had been classically trained  in French Cuisine, what more could you want?  This  Papaya Pie  recipe joined the best of both worlds for me. It looks very much like pumpkin pie but has a sweeter more custard  like texture. This is a must try if you like Papaya!


  • 3 pounds firm-ripe papayas
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice


  1.  Peel papayas, cut in half lengthwise, and discard seeds. Cut papayas lengthwise into 2- to 3-inch-wide slices, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Measure 8 cups of fruit; reserve extra for other uses.
  2.  In a large bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, and lemon peel. Add papayas and lemon juice, and mix.
  3.  Unfold pastry round and ease into a 9-inch pie pan. Fill pastry with fruit mixture
  4. Pinch pastry at rim to seal, then fold edge under itself, flush with pan rim, and pinch to flute.  Set pie on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  5.  Bake on the bottom rack of a 375° oven until juices bubble near center, 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes (55 to 65 minutes in a convection oven).
  6. If pastry edges get too dark, cover loosely with foil. Cool at least 1 hour. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Mom’s Pie Dough


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces (she used Crisco in Vietnam)
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
  1. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse briefly until the mixture is thoroughly mixed
  2. Drizzle in 4 tablespoons of the ice water and mix just until the dough comes together. (Add the last tablespoon of ice water if necessary, but don’t overwork the dough or it’ll become tough.)
  3. Shape the dough into a flat disk, cover it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

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