I tend not to make dessert during the week, but save the calories for Sunday evenings and any leftovers go on to Monday, which helps to cheer up a sometimes glum Monday dinner. This week, because it had been for ever since we'd had one, I bought a pineapple and then pondered on what to do with it. We've had plenty of just plain pineapple with cream desserts and sometimes pineapple with fresh mint sugar (which is lovely) but this time I wanted to involve it in some kind of cooking process. I obviously had caramelisation in my back of my mind, but it took some thought for it to surface!
As I pondered on the best way of caramelising the pineapple - in a pan? Under the grill? In the oven? Use the blowtorch? - I also considered what flavour(s) to put with it and in what form. We had some Greek yoghurt in the fridge, so that would be a tasty accompaniment, but I also wanted something to give the pineapple some juice as the caramelisation process tends to dry the fruit out slightly. Perhaps not surprisingly, I began to consider alcohol and Rum Chatta and Malibu were right up there as choices. I'm so glad I went with the Malibu as the flavours are just made to go together and it gave the pineapple such a great depth of flavour.
I eventually opted to use a combination of the grill and the blowtorch for the caramelisation, which worked perfectly. The grill did the legwork of lightly cooking the fruit, melting the sugar and almost caramelising enough, but a quick go over with the blowtorch added the lovely charred flavour of burned sugar that is essential.
Allowing the caramelised fruit to macerate for a number of hours in a drizzle of the Malibu turned out to be a great decision as the fruit absorbed the alcohol beautifully. When you bit into a piece, the first flavour you got was a fairly intense bitterness from the burned sugar, then the cooling juice combined with the slight heat of the rum alcohol, which turned into sweet pineapple and a hint of coconut flavours. Gorgeous effect!
My son opted for a couple of spoonfuls of rum and raisin ice cream to go with his fruit, which I am quite sure was little short of divine. LOL I am sure that a Chantilly cream would be lovely too. Regrettably, I went for the lower calorie version of Greek yoghurt, which really was no hardship, being utterly delicious and very moreish!
I haven't given quantities in the recipe as it really depends on how big a pineapple you have and how much sugar and Malibu you want to involve.
Pineapples are a good price in the shops at the moment (April), so go on - indulge!
MALIBU CARAMELISED PINEAPPLE (Serves 3)
One large pineapple
soft brown sugar
Prepare your pineapple by cutting off its top and tail, then removing the skin. Discard these pieces. Make sure to take out any "eyes" that remain, along with any seeds that might be hiding in the fruit. Then cut the pineapple into four pieces, each piece having a section of the core down one side.
Turn the pineapple piece to one side and cut that piece of core out. I always have a gnaw on these pieces, as the core holds just as much Bromelain as the flesh does. (Scientific studies have shown Bromelain to be useful as an anti inflammatory, so I'll take as much of that as I can get!).
Once the core is removed, cut the pineapple quarter into bite size slices and put them onto a foil covered baking tray. Repeat with the other three quarters.
Pre-heat the grill (or broiler, if you're American or Canadian!) to maximum.
Next, sprinkle each pineapple slice with a good quantity of soft brown sugar and place the tray high up under the grill. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and become sticky.
If you don't possess a blowtorch, then simply leave the pineapple under the heat until the sugar has burned a little. This may take some time depending on how juicy your pineapple is and how hot your grill gets! However, if you do possess a kitchen blowtorch, this is the time to wield it across the top of each pineapple slice, taking care not to burn the sugar a little too much!
Once you've done that first side, quickly flip the slices over and repeat with the sugar and heat.
Moving fairly swiftly so as to not allow the pineapple to cool and stick to the foil, remove the slices to a dish which can cope with all the slices in one layer. I used my Pyrex lasagne dish, which worked perfectly. Taking the Malibu, drizzle it lightly over the top of the slices and deliver a flourish of rather more to the gaps in between. You don't want to wash the caramelised sugar off the slices!
Cover the dish with cling film and place in the fridge for the fruit to absorb some of the Malibu and become gorgeous. Oh yes, and cool down. I left mine for a good 4-5 hours.
Serve with Greek yoghurt or a compatible ice cream such as rum & raisin, vanilla, or chocolate and remember not to drive anywhere immediately afterwards. *chuckle*