Guinep Sunshine Pie

by Kris on June 5, 2012

When I was about twelve years old I discovered the most incredible fruit I had ever eaten. It was a sunny afternoon at my friend Sonia’s house. Her dad just arrived home from a trip to the Caribbean and he brought with him a bag of guinep. The fruit resembled tiny limes on a thin branch. Bright green with a leathery peel, I was completely intrigued by this unknown fruit. Sonia pierced the skin of the guinep and inside a salmon colored flesh appeared. This flesh surrounded a large pit and reminded me of a lychee. The flavor was sweet and tart, unlike anything I had ever tried. For fourteen years I’ve been searching for another taste of guinep with very little success.

On Saturday evening Greg and I made a quick pit stop at our local Mexican grocery. As I strolled through the produce aisle, a bright green fruit caught the corner of my eye. When I picked up a branch I immediately knew it was guinep! Literally jumping up and down in the store I was beyond ecstatic; my search was finally over. I restrained myself from buying the entire bin, but I did come home with a few pounds of fruit. I snacked endlessly but I saved just enough to experiment with guinep recipes. Beyond a few drink recipes, there aren’t many recipe options available.

The bright and sweet citrus flavor reminded me of a pie I once had in Florida. Known as a sunshine pie, a cool and refreshing orange cream fills a tender flaky crust. Originally from the 1950’s, sunshine pie includes a lot of processed ingredients. Cream cheese, whipped topping, condensed milk, pudding and even orange flavored jello has found it’s way into most recipes. I opted to lighten it up by using Greek yogurt and fresh guinep and orange juice.

I wanted to make a vegan variety, but I have yet to figure out a recipe that will work successfully. Agar can easily substitute the gelatin and silken tofu can replace the Greek yogurt. My biggest obstacle is finding a suitable replacement for condensed milk. I’ll keep trying and hopefully I can provide a vegan recipe soon. If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

This guinep sunshine pie was absolutely delicious and exceeded all my expectations. If you can’t find guinep you can replace the guinep juice with lime juice. This pie is on the sweeter side, so if you like your citrus pies to have more kick, add one teaspoon of orange or lime zest. The pie filling comes together quickly and requires no baking. It’s the perfect refreshing summer dessert for those hot days ahead of us.

Have you ever eaten guinep before?

Guinep Sunshine Pie

Yield 6 tarts or 2 pies


Pie Crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • ½ Tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp. sunflower oil
  • 4 Tbsp. ice water
  • 1 egg white

Pie Filling:

  • 1 cup guinep
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 14 oz. can fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 ½ cups fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 packet of unflavored gelatin
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Prepare the pie crust first. In a large bowl sift together flours, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until the pieces are small but still visible.
  3. Add oil and yogurt to the bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Knead the dough for one minute in a bowl. It will still be fairly crumbly. Transfer to a floured surface and continue to knead until you can form a ball of dough. Divide the dough in half and flatten into two discs. Wrap in cellophane and refrigerate at least one hour.
  4. When the dough is chilled, remove from the fridge and unwrap. Flour a large, smooth surface. Roll both balls of dough until they are each about ¼ inch thick. Place one rolled out piece of dough on top of a small tart pan. Press the dough into the pan and cut off the excess dough around the edges. Repeat this step until you have six tarts. Alternatively you can place the dough in two full sized pie pans.
  5. Place the six tart pans (or two pie pans) in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool.
  6. Remove the guinep skin and place the fruit into a medium pot. Cover with half a cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Place a strainer over a small bowl and strain the liquid from the pot. Discard the remaining guinep pits. Add freshly squeezed orange juice to the bowl and set aside.
  8. In a medium pot add 1/3 of a cup of cold water and sprinkle with gelatin; let stand for two minutes. Place the pot over medium heat and whisk until the gelatin dissolves.
  9. In a large bowl combine sweetened condensed milk, Greek yogurt, and reserved orange and guinep juices. Whisk until combined. Add the gelatin mixture and stir to combine.
  10. Divide the mixture between the six tart crusts (or the two pie crusts). Transfer to the refrigerator and cool for at least two hours until set. Serve cold.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Eva @ 1 Big Bite June 5, 2012 at 8:22 am

I saw guinep at my local Mexican store and didn’t know what to do with them or even what they are. Thanks for making me a little smarter. :o)
Oh and I love your pics!


Kris June 5, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Thanks Eva! Guinep is delicious, you should try some!


Amazing Bakery - Natalie Jones June 5, 2012 at 10:25 am

For sweetened condensed soy milk, boil down a few litres of soy milk until it becomes sticky, then sweeten. Simple as! :) You can also use soy milk powder and agave nectar to make a similarly sticky paste. Hope that helps?


Kris June 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Thanks for sharing Natalie! I’ll give that a try and see how it works in this pie.


Glen June 5, 2012 at 11:48 am

Yes, I have! In the Dominican Republic, where I come from, they are very abundant during the summer months and very popular, specially among kids, but I never tried or heard of them being used in a recipe before. Usually we just eat them as they are, but now I am so curious to try your recipe. By the way, this post is a big and pleasant surprise :) I really doubt I can find “Guinep” in Atlantic Canada, though…


Kris June 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm

My friend’s dad was able to occasionally find guinep in some asian markets in Ottawa’s China town. Hope you can get your hands on some!


Lisa Fountain June 5, 2012 at 7:10 pm

In Puerto Rico, they are called canepas — at least, that’s how I remember them from my youth, when my 2nd generation Puerto Rican parents would take my sister and I there to visit distantly related cousins and aunts. I’ve never heard of them used in a recipe before, but I do fuzzily remember branches of them freshly cut from nearby high bushes by nimble swarthy boys and offered to me in a familiar language I could not really understand. I see them sometimes in Chinatown, or the Haymarket. in Boston – so they seem to have a presence in several cultures. Thanks for bringing back fond memories!


marla June 5, 2012 at 9:38 pm

I have never had Guinep ~ you have convince me I must!! Beautiful tarts :)


Rachel S June 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Coconut milk, sweetened and boiled down, makes the best vegan sweetened condensed milk because it has a high fat content and condenses without much of a fuss. It would be yummy with citrus, too! Your tarts are intriguing!


Kris June 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Yes! I used to get these in the Caribbean when visiting family, but only knew them as “quenepas.” Glad to know what they’re called in English!


El August 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Looking for a substitute for the condensed milk ? try using soaked white chia and a nut butter, coconut, almond, macadamia (more on the buttery side) or a combination of coconut cream, nut butter. You may not need the agar if you use chia and that will easily blend with the coconut cream/nut butter. Soy is not a healthy option so I would look to replace that with soaked cashew (12 hours min) then rinsed and well blended (food processor or hand immersion blender) using a little nut cream will help it to blend up well. Brown rice syrup or coconut nectar maybe a healthier sweetener.


Virginia August 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Thank you for a beautiful article, love the pics and can wait to try the tart recipe. I grew up in PR eating quenepas. I did not know you could make such lovely desserts. I am also vegan so will try the recipe using silken tofu and agar.


Virginia August 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I meant to say “I can’t wait to try the tart recipe” sorry for the typo lol.


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