Pineapple was a favorite of mine as a kid. Identical yellow rings from a cold can. Perfect circles of exotic sweetness. I remember the first time I had a fresh pineapple I was surprised at how amazing they could be. I am still a fan of pineapple, but this recipe for roasted pineapple with pink peppercorns is about as far as you can get from those perfect canned slices.
I love dessert recipes that get you thinking about familiar ingredients in new ways . Claudia Fleming recommends transforming slices of fresh pineapple by roasting them in caramel sauce infused with vanilla bean, bay leaf and pink peppercorns. The finished dessert is incredibly complicated and rich. The sweetness of the caramelized pineapple is countered with the spice of a few pink peppercorns. I followed her suggestion and served the pineapple with some black pepper ice cream to smooth out the finish of the plate.
Truth be told, I think the amount of pepper in this will be too much for some people. I think the pineapple would be equally delicious with vanilla ice cream or some whipped creme fraiche. I also found that I liked the addition of cold fresh pineapple to the already caramelized fruit and imagine that pineapple sorbet could be a really amazing accompaniment. Any way you plate this you’ll enjoy it. And for something so impressive looking, it is very easy to prepare.
Roasted Pineapple with Pink Peppercorns (another Claudia Fleming wonder)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 8 rings
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, pulp scraped
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
Preheat oven to 375° F. Place 1/3 cup water in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over low heat. Add the sugar and the corn syrup and increase heat to high. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture is a amber brown color, about 7 minutes. Add the pineapple, vanilla pod and seeds, and bay leaf. Bake for 40 minutes, basting every 10 minutes, until pineapple is tender and translucent.
Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the pineapple to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm. To prepare the sauce, whisk the butter, rum, pink peppercorns and salt into the hot pan juices until smooth. Return the pineapple to pan to heat and serve with sauce spooned over the top.