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New: Pono Pies, Made with Breadfruit


It’s been called a superfood, a miracle fruit, the tree to end world hunger. One problem: A lot of people hate it. It’s breadfruit.
You’d think it was the mutiny on the Bounty (which, incidentally, was on a breadfruit-collection mission when the crew revolted) when I offered samples of Pono Pie—a new, breadfruit-based dessert—around the office.
It didn’t convert the breadfruit haters, but I’m a fan, partly because the pies taste pretty good, and partly because I’m in the breadfruit-can-save-the-world camp. Or at least think it couldn’t hurt if we all incorporated a little more breadfruit in our diet.
Pono Pies probably won’t save the world, but they can spread the gospel of breadfruit. They’re somewhere between a cheesecake and mousse, with ripe, sweet breadfruit as the base. I love them straight from the freezer, where they take on a texture like ice cream pie. They come in flavors including liliko‘i, sweet potato and chocolate, with a crust of ground mac nut and dried coconut.
John Cadman, founder of the Maui-based Pono Pies, used to be the food service director at Kamehameha Schools. A few years ago, he was asked to do a demo on breadfruit. “I didn’t know a lot about it,” Cadman says. “I just never was a super big fan of it. But then, everything lined up, and it was just the right time. I was so inspired by breadfruit … it holds the key to our sustainability and food-security issues. It’s just an amazing plant.” He learned that it grows well in the tropics and produces an incredible amount of nutritious fruit—up to 400 a season.
“I felt like this was my calling,” he says. “I’m 53, so it took a while.”
He sold off some of his old Surfer magazines (including the very first issue ever, printed in 1960, and which fetched a thousand dollars) to start Pono Pies.

He makes his pies with 70 percent local ingredients, most of it from Maui: “I totally believe when you make a product here, you should use as much of the ingredients here,” Cadman says. “Otherwise, what’s the point?”

Pono Pies are available on O‘ahu at Whole Foods, $11 for a 5-inch round.

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