A Slice of Sweet Sunshine

Each month we celebrate Fernie’s amazing food scene by challenging a local pro to create a five-ingredient recipe with delicious–and revealing–results. I hope you have enjoyed my column, visit FernieFix.com for past editions and have a great summer.

Dan and Wendy’s Pina Colada-wich

• Shredded coconut

• Egg whites

• Sugar

• Pineapple

• Ice cream

If you could make a dessert out of happiness and sunbeams, it would probably look and taste a lot like Dan Worth and Wendy Lyn’s Pina Colada-wich. Glowing pineapple is sandwiched between two coconut macaroon clouds and topped with a scoop of golden ice cream called Pura Vida, Spanish for “pure life.” Seriously, you couldn’t get more smiles unless you handed out a baby unicorn with every serving.

Fernie locals will find it no surprise that such a fun recipe should spring from the creative duo behind Happy Cow Ice Cream, a year-round Fernie go-to for frozen yumminess since 2011. After all, these are the people who thought up a S’mores-inspired ice cream flavour combining salted caramel pieces, homemade marshmallows, chocolate chips and cinnamon custard. O. M. G.

Although they once owned a restaurant in Shediac, New Brunswick, known as the Lobster Capital of the World, Wendy pointed out with a chuckle, this recipe “is kind of an ode to our previous lives as bartenders,” explained Dan. Surprisingly, making their Pina Colada-wich is about as fast and easy as making the cocktail. However, for those new to cooking, I’ll give you the heads up that you’ll have to separate half a dozen eggs into yolks and whites. YouTube it. Get that done first and then you’re ready to rock.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Whisk 6 egg whites to form stiff peaks. Mix in 2 ½ cups of sugar and 8 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut.

Spoon half of the coconut mixture into a 9½ by 13-inch pan lined with parchment paper and spread to evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Bake this bottom layer until lightly golden (about 7 minutes).

Trim, peel, core, and cut up a whole fresh pineapple. “Slices or chunks,” said Dan. “Whatever you want.” Place the pineapple pieces to cover the layer of baked coconut mixture. Spread the remaining coconut mixture on top. Return the pan to the oven and bake until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Let cool slightly. Or not. “You can eat it right out of the oven or you can chill it. You can have it hot or cold,” said Dan. But most importantly, you need to serve it with ice cream. And not just any old ice cream.

Pura Vida, a mango, coconut and pineapple sorbet, is a Happy Cow anomaly. “We’re into local produce,” Dan said, “and I haven’t been able to grow pineapples or coconuts here!” But they’ve bent their own rules in this one case. “We love Costa Rica and I tried to make something that would remind me of it when we’re not there,” he said, adding that they try to visit the country as often as they can. “I wanted to get the taste of Costa Rica in a sorbet.” The name of the flavour comes from a popular Costa Rican saying. “You’ll meet someone,” explained Dan, “Hey, how’re ya doing? [and they’ll answer] Pura Vida! It’s pure life!” Sounds like a taste of the good life to me.

Photo Credits
Wendy Lyn and Dan Worth, co-owners of Happy Cow Ice Cream Inc.
A slice of happiness: Pina Colada-wich topped with Pura Vida ice cream.