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Grilled Pineapple

grilled pineappleThis is such an easy, no fuss, and delicious dessert to make. Grilled pineapple can be served on its own, with ice cream or a dollop of yogurt.  I’ve been grilling pineapple for years and it’s always a crowd pleaser.  I have been asked before how to pick a ripe pineapple.  When we lived in Asia fresh pineapple was never an issue but if you don’t live near a plantation, it can be a hit and miss.  Because ripening stops once it has been harvested, the best way to choose is buy fresh-looking pineapples with green leaves and a firm shell.  If you’re planning to eat the pineapple within a few days, store at room temperature otherwise place in the refrigerator and it will keep a bit longer.  Grilling makes the pineapple sweeter and with it covered in sugar you end up with a caramelized flavor coming through.  Yum!

Serves 4 to 6
1 pineapple – peeled, cored and cut into wedges
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
pinch of ground cardamom (optional)
vanilla ice cream
handful of mint leaves, chopped (chiffonade)

pineapple wedgesIn a bowl toss pineapple wedges with cinnamon, brown sugar and cardamom.  Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Preheat a barbeque over medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.  Make sure the grates are clean otherwise the pineapple will pick up the flavors of the last time it was used.  Grill pineapple wedges until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes per side.  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, spoon over some of the pineapple juice and sprinkle with mint.

pineapple wedges on the bbqThe Culinary Chase’s Note:  The longer the pineapple sits, the more juice it makes.  For sheer decadence, melt dark chocolate and pour over using a spoon.  Enjoy!

Pineapple Cherry Upside-Down Cake

pineapple cherry upside-down cake by The Culinary ChasePineapple skillet cake has been around since the early 1920s. Dole held a pineapple recipe contest in 1926 and among the 60,000 submitted, 2,500 were for pineapple upside-down cake. And by the mid 1930s, it was the most widely cake made in America. It was still quite popular in the 1950s and 1960s. I’m sure some of my readers have fond memories of this – I know I do especially when my mom added maraschino cherries inside the pineapple rings. You can use whatever fruit you like. I stuck to the familiar pineapple, using a freshly cored one and frozen cherries in lieu of the maraschino ones. A fuss-free and fun dessert.

Serves 8
adapted from The Kitchn

Glaze
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
pineapple slices and frozen cherries, enough to cover the base of a 9-inch pan or skillet
1 teaspoon cardamom (optional)

Cake
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°f. If using frozen fruit, do not defrost.

pineapple skillet cakeTo make the brown sugar glaze take a baking pan or oven-proof skillet and melt the butter over low heat. Add brown sugar and stir. When sugar has melted add cardamom then remove from heat. Arrange fruit in the baking pan.

For the cake, cream butter and sugar. In a separate bowl measure flour, baking powder, salt and stir to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between, followed by the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.

Spread cake batter all over the fruit and bake 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let the cake sit for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake. You don’t want the cake to stick when you flip it over. Place a serving plate over the cake and use your oven mitts to flip the cake over. Serve this with ice cream or whipped cream.

upside-down cakeThe Culinary Chase’s Note:
If you have any leftover, cover in plastic wrap. It will keep for a couple of days. Don’t worry if the batter isn’t smooth. I made a mistake by adding the flour before the eggs went in…didn’t seem to make a difference in the taste. Enjoy!