As much as I love a big bowl of creamy mac and cheese, it will never replace my love for Caribbean macaroni pie.
Every Caribbean household seems to have their own macaroni pie recipe. This cheesy baked dish is a comfort food staple in the West Indies, and it’s fairly easy to make. I should point out that it’s called “pie”, but it’s not like apple pie or pumpkin pie. It’s actually a baked pasta dish that is similar to (but not the same as) baked macaroni and cheese.
If you’re looking for a classic savoury macaroni pie recipe, you’ll want to check out my Trinidad Macaroni Pie post. The recipe I’ve included below is a variation of the sweet Caribbean macaroni pie recipe that my mom makes. That might sound a bit weird, but it actually pairs really well with stewed or barbecued chicken or fried fish. I personally love eating it with stewed chicken, because I can use the pie to mop up all of that delicious sauce.
Sweet macaroni pies aren’t for everyone, especially if you’re used to eating creamy macaroni and cheese. The texture is different from baked macaroni and cheese too, because in those dishes the cheese is melted into the sauce. Whereas in macaroni pie, you just shred the cheese and mix it into the cold egg and milk mixture before baking. This gives you chunks of cheese, instead of a creamy cheese sauce.
There are many ways you can make this dish your own. You can try using a different type of cheese, top it with fresh herbs and breadcrumbs or play around with the seasonings. My aunt makes a delicious macaroni pie with powdered ginger in it! Once you make the dish a few times, you’ll figure out what flavours you enjoy best. Again, if you prefer a classic macaroni pie, like the one in the Naparima Girls’ cookbook, you’ll want to take a look at my Trinidad Macaroni Pie recipe instead of this one.
I love the combination of cheddar or marble cheese, white pepper and brown sugar, because those are the flavours that I grew up with. This is the mac and cheese of my childhood, and I’m not about to mess around with it!
Caribbean Macaroni Pie
A sweeter version of the classic Caribbean baked macaroni and cheese dish.
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (160z/1lb)
- 3 eggs
- 2 2/3 cups evaporated milk (2 cans of Carnation milk)
- 3 1/2 cups grated cheddar or marble cheese reserve 1/2 cup for topping
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 2 tbsp granulated or brown sugar
- a pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Boil macaroni in salted water approximately 8 minutes, or according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until fluffy.
Add milk, pepper, sugar and salt and stir until combined.
Stir in 3 cups of cheese, and the cooked macaroni.
Pour into a greased, 9x11 baking dish and top with reserved 1/2 cup of cheese.
Bake until firm, 35-40 minutes.
Allow pie to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Cold cheese is easier to shred than warm cheese
- In Trinidad, people use New Zealand cheddar cheese but you can use whatever you have available
- If the cheese on top begins to brown too quickly, cover it with tin foil for the remaining baking time.