“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
Pineapples, juicy, sweet and delicious. There seems to be quite an abundant crop this year with loads for sale on the highways, in the markets and at your local fruit stalls. Different varieties are available, the traditional orange coloured pineapples that tend to be round and the more delicious sugar loaf which tend to be more elongated. The sugar loaf goes from orange at the base to green at the top.
But don’t be fooled by the variegated colour of this fruit, because as deceptively unripe as they may look, cut one open and you’ll find them dripping with juice and as sweet as could be! Sometimes it can be tricky to determine the ripeness of a pineapple, but if you tug at one of the spiky leaves at the top and it releases easily, then your pineapple is indeed ripe. They’re as delicious as they are versatile. You can enjoy them in fruit salads, in pineapple upside down cakes and other delicious desserts, in ice creams and sorbets. You can make pineapple marmalades or preserves and enjoy their juicy goodness in Chinese stir fries. Whatever your desire, the next time you purchase a pineapple, buy two instead and use one up in one of the delicious dishes below!
RUMMY PINEAPPLE SHORTCAKES WITH CREAM
For the shortcakes
2 cups all purpose flour
4 tbsps brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsps baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 to 11/2 cups sour cream or yogurt
2 tbsps milk
Preheat oven to 400F.
Combine dry ingredients. Rub butter and shortening into mixture until it resembles fine crumbs, add enough sour cream or yogurt to make a soft manageable dough. Pat dough or roll into a circle about 11/2 inch thick, cut out rounds 2 ½ inches in diameter or cut into 2 1/2 to 3 inch squares. Brush with milk. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes until golden. Remove and cool.
For the custard
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Beat eggs with sugar until thick, add cinnamon, cornstarch and continue beating, add vanilla. Heat milk, pour into egg mixture and beat, return to pan and heat until mixture thickens, do not boil. Strain and cool.
For the pineapple topping
1 small pineapple, peeled cored and
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp aromatic bitters
1/4 cup dark rum (optional)
1 cup heavy cream or whipped cream (optional)
Heat a nonstick frying pan, add butter and melt, add brown sugar and combine with butter until melted, but not burnt, add pineapple and sauté, add bitters and cook until mixture is thick, pour on rum, if using and flambé, let flames burn down and continue to cook until syrupy. To assemble, halve one shortcake horizontally, spoon pineapple mixture onto one piece, cut side up making sure some of the juices soak into the cake, spoon some custard on top and cover with the other shortcake half. Repeat for other shortcakes. Top with a dollop of cream. For a more hearty dessert use two shortcakes instead of one.
PINEAPPLE AND CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
1 cup un-boiled pasta twists (fusilli
2 cups cubed or stripped cooked
chicken breast or 2 cups small sized
1 cup pineapple chunks, cut into bite
1 small sweet bell pepper, seeded and
1/4 cup thinly sliced celery stalks
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
1/3 cup low fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup low fat sour cream or
2 tbsps Dijon mustard
1 ttbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup sliced green olives
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Boil pasta according to package directions, drain and cool. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar. In a large bowl toss cooled pasta with chicken, pineapple, pepper, celery and chives. Pour dressing over pasta and toss to coat completely, Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle on parsley and garnish with olives. Refrigerate until ready for use. Serves 6 to 8
PINA COLADA SORBET
14 ozs pineapple chunks
1/2 cup coconut milk, fresh
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup dark rum
Place sugar and water into a small saucepan, stir to dissolve and bring to a boil just until sugar melts, one minute, remove and cool, refrigerate until cold. Place pineapple and coconut milk into the bowl of a food processor, process just until pineapple has been crushed into small pieces, remove and refrigerate. Combine pineapple and coconut mixture with cold sugar syrup; stir in rum and lime juice. Pour mixture into a 9 inch X 5-inch baking tin, freeze until firm about 4 to 6 hours. Remove from freezer, and process in a blender or food processor until smooth but not thawed. Place in a covered container and freeze. Makes about 41/2 cups or serves 8-9 persons.