Kitchen Globetrotter: Samoa // Piafala

“The ingredients are so simple and unpretentious, and the taste is — what’s the word I’m looking for — honest.”So spoke the previous sharer of this recipe, and I’ll echo her sentiments wholeheartedly. These Samoan paifalas (or half-moon pies) are nothing fancy; some fruit filling wrapped in a comforting, carb-y crust. They’re straightforward and humble in flavor—though I’m sure a dash of vanilla or a sprinkling of cardamom would really make the flavor pop, if adherence to tradition isn’t a top priority. Enjoy as a snack, an indulgent breakfast or for dessert!

Samoan paifala — half-moon pies
Adapted from this recipe
Yield: 5 pastries
2 cups drained crushed pineapple (or most of 1 pineapple, chopped)
1 cup (200g) sugar
½ cup (120ml) milk
⅓ cup (30g) cornstarch
⅓ cup (80ml) syrup from crushed pineapple
3 cups (375g) flour (I needed about 4)
2 teaspoons baking powder
⅓ cup (75g) butter
1 cup (240ml) coconut milk
pinch salt
Make the filling ahead and give it ample time to cool to room temperature. Mix 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 crusts, 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, paying attention to how much you put in – too much and the pies will burst in the oven, too little and the pies will be all crust, no sweetness. 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, each whole one counts as a serving.Have you ever been to Samoa? What amazing things did you eat there? 

photos by neilsphotography // cc

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  1. Christy@SweetandSavoring

    Have not been to Samoa but wouldn't pass up the opportunity! These looks delicious- I think you're right about the dash of vanilla 🙂

  2. Dogtown Vintage

    I'm so excited to see this here! I LOVE Samoan food (I'm Samoan, but have always lived in NZ and now live away from my entire family; I make menu requests weeks in advance), and these pies remind me of a favourite uncle who makes them. Must-haves if you visit Samoa are fa'ausi (a sweet, caramel-ish dish), oka (like coconut ceviche), and definitely palusami (cooked taro leaves with coconut cream inside). And, although it's not a Samoan dish, the local steak is ridiculously good (get it at Koko Banana restaurant). Lastly, you have to have Vailima (beer) with everything; it's delicious, and crazy cheap.


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