Pineapple Cream Cheese Sheet Pastry

Made in a 15-inch x 10-inch x 1 1/2 sheet pan that was often seen at weddings and social events during the mid-20th century.  This is a flaky pastry with a pineapple filling topped with cream cheese, nuts and coconut.  Some of you may remember this by other names like pineapple squares, or pineapple pizza bars.  The pan could serve up to 48 pieces depending on the size they were cut.  They were so good after they sat in the refrigerator for a day and served cold.

Back then if you were given this recipe you were sworn into secrecy and promised not share it.  It was a recipe that was used by home bakers and cake decorators as a cottage industry.  Buying a sheet pan of these pastries wasn’t cheap, plus you had to put a deposit on the pan to make sure you returned it.  My kid’s babysitter’s mother baked these for weddings to earn a income. I was informed then that the recipe was top secret by the babysitter. She wasn’t even allowed to tell me the process of making it.

I grew up at an end of a era where weddings sometimes had a large cookie table.  Guest were told on the invitation that there would be a cookie table.  That was their clue to bring a batch of cookies.  I remember seeing as a kid, clever gifts of cookies that came in a platter or baking pan.  A card was attached stating the container was a gift to the bride.  I also remember seeing recipe cards also attached to the cookies for the bride.  You are now wondering why this was done?  This was a holdover from earlier times when people didn’t have much money for a wedding and large bakery cake. The wedding party and family still had cake but the guests ate all these cookies with punch.  It was an opportunity to show off your best recipes.  The cookie table was always covered up and guarded to keep people out of it until it was time to eat. The cookie table was my favorite part.  It is very rarely done today unless it is a family tradition.  The pineapple pastry became in some cases the substitute for a cookie table and was served in addition to everything else.

This original recipe is one I see requests for on line and before the internet, in ladies’ craft magazines reader sections.  It is a hard recipe to find because not many had it and because of its size, those who grandmothers made it, overlook it in their old recipe boxes.  I don’t know if this is still being served at weddings because I haven’t seen it in decades.

I chose this recipe to start off Christmas classic baking recipes for those who would like to make something really good for a cookie exchange or a Holiday get together.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Sheet Pastry

  • Servings: 24-48 servings
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

Ingredients for Crust:

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups shortening
  • 1 cup milk

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 2 (20 ounce) cans crushed pineapple
  • 6 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 cup sugar

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Topping: 

  • 1 (8 ounces) package of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar (cup more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • for garnish, chopped walnuts, chopped cherries or coconut

Directions:

Make crust the way you would make pie crust. It can be done by hand or in a food processor.  Blend flour and salt first. Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbs. Add cold milk until dough comes together. Divide the dough into two halves. Wrap and let rest in the refrigerator.

In a large sauce pan cook over medium heat the pineapple and juice, corn starch and sugar until thick. Cool slightly.

Pre heat oven 350 degrees. (I lined my jelly roll pan with parchment paper to make it easy to remove. I don’t like to cut in my good half sheet pan and prefer to cut the slab pie on a cutting board.)  15 inches by 10 inches by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan is used.

Roll out one of the halves to fit the bottom of the sheet pan. I rolled it out on parchment paper that was laid inside the pan.  It should be pretty thin, make sure it goes up the sides so you can seal and make an edging.  Spread the filling into the bottom of the crust.  Roll out top crust to fit the pan on parchment paper so you can place the whole thing on top and seal edges.  I have seen it done with a lattice top also.  That is an option if you have to rob some from the top crust to complete the bottom crust. Cut some vents in the top crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour until edges are light brown. I have an oven that I have to foil the edges to keep them from turning too dark.  Cool completely before frosting. Don’t worry about how pretty the top crust looks.  This is a soft dough so do your best.  The cream cheese frosting will cover the top.  

Cream butter and cream cheese together in a stand mixer. Sift confectioners’ sugar before adding to cream mixture.  Add the sugar in parts beating after each addition until all is incorporated.  You may need the milk but just add a small amount until you reach spreading consistency. Frost and garnish with your choice or all three items. Chill and cut. (Tastes better if chilled overnight.)  

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