There were three of us who started working at the same time for Harrison House Suites, Tucker House Inn and Coho Restaurant: myself, Stephanie – Guest Services Coordinator, John Hamilton, Innkeeper and Catering Manager, and Alphonsine Haslet-Phillips, Executive Chef.
Anna Maria, the business owner, decided a staff potluck would be a great ice-breaker for all of us to get to know each other. It was one of those spur-of-the-moment deals, a day’s notice, casual fare in the Harrison House Suites Café. As foodies tend to do, we all checked with each other to see who was bringing what, just to make sure everything flowed together well and there weren’t too many desserts and not enough wholesome foods. Everyone contributed something tasty for our leisurely dinner, which ended up having an Asian flare complete with Sake tasting. But that night was our first taste of Alphonsine’s true talent. She brought a Pineapple Tart that was absolutely exquisite. The center was light and fluffy, the pineapple delicately flavored – not overpowering; beautifully browned bits of coconut on top crunched in perfect contrast to the creaminess of the filling; the crust – oh my word, the crust – it was flawlessly textured: crunchy yet delicate at the same time, not too hard to break with a fork, infused with butter but not overly rich, enticingly golden in color. It was definitely the crowning glory of the meal.
Alphonsine graciously agreed to share the recipe with Coho Restaurant fans, and it’s reprinted here. But you know how the same recipe made by 20 different people will turn out 20 different ways? Somehow I can’t imagine I will ever get the same incomparable results as Alphonsine did that night. The girl’s got talent, pure and simple.