September 14th, 2016
When Adam Tabura was in his first year of culinary school, the students were given an assignment: "You had to make something you grew up with that you didn't know how to make."
Tabura, who grew up on Lanai largely under the watchful eye of his grandfather, decided on a sweet potato crunch cake that his grandparents made.
Years later that exercise has developed into a cake made with poi and sweet potato, with a crust of macadamia nuts and pecans, topped with coconut cream and more crunchy nuts. In a partnership with Hawaiian Pie Co. — they're calling it a "square pie" — Tabura now has his creation, the Kalo Krunch, on the market.
Tabura, owner of the Spice Rack and a 20-year veteran of several island resort restaurants, shot to fame when he and his brother Lanai and friend Shaun Felipe won the Food Network's "The Great Food Truck Race" in 2013. He says the crunch cake always sells out when he offers it on the truck, but "I only made it when I was in the mood."
It's a lot like a classic pumpkin crunch dessert but because of the taro blend is not nearly as sweet; the delicate cream plays well with the substantial heft of the cake.
It sells for $8.50 per 4-inch square (which can be cut into at least four portions) or $32 for a whole 8-inch "pie." A half-sheet is available for $80 by preorder.
Hawaiian Pie is at 508 Waiakamilo Road; call 988-7828. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Tabura's new Filipino cookbook launches next week. See Crave on Sept. 21.