By Riki Shore
I recently posted about using pineapple in a pork stir-fry. Pineapple, with its sweet-tart tanginess, is a great addition to savory foods. It pairs naturally with pork and makes a great salsa for fish and shrimp.
Another great use of pineapple is to roast it with a little sugar and spice for a delectable dessert topping. The sugar mellows out the acidic note, while the spices accentuate the tropical flavor. Roasting slowly softens the fruit and brings it to the edge of caramelization.
I used to make this all throughout the Chicago winters at Charlie Trotter’s, where we’d serve it on top of buttermilk panna cotta or rice pudding. It’d also work well in a yogurt and granola parfait, or as part of a fruit cup for breakfast, maybe alongside some gluten-free banana bread.
Last week I served this with toasted coconut, chopped crystallized ginger, and coconut sorbet. Recipes for coconut milk-based ice creams and sorbets abound, and they’re a healthful substitute for those avoiding dairy. It was a refreshing and light dessert, and no one missed the real cream.
When buying pineapple, check for ripeness first by plucking an inner leaf from the top of the fruit. It should come off easily. Then smell the bottom for the definite aroma of ripe pineapple.
1 ripe pineapple
1 – 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
1 star anise
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Trim the top and bottom of the pineapple. Standing it on end, trim away the brown skin in long strips. Quarter the fruit lengthwise and trim the tough core from the inside edge of each quarter. Lay each quarter down and slice it into three long wedges. Now cut 1/2-inch chunks out of each wedge.
2. Place the pineapple in a baking dish with the remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine everything. Bake pineapple, stirring occasionally, for 30 – 40 minutes, until it is soft and just starting to brown at the edges.
3. Serve immediately, or allow to cool to room temperature then store, covered, in the fridge for several days.