I love fresh pineapple. For one, their glorious fragrance will fill a room with a wonderful aroma, and most importantly, their juicy golden flesh has an amazingly refreshing sweet and sour flavour that can transform so many dishes both sweet and savoury.
Pineapple is delicious eaten fresh on its own or added to a fruit salad, pies, cakes, ice cream, yogurt, punches, and other desserts. It is an ingredient used in most sweet and sour dishes and goes well with ham, pork, chicken, and seafood.
Raw pineapple contains an enzyme, which has the effect of tenderising meat and poultry. It also breaks down the protein in products such as milk, so products, such as cottage cheese and yogurt may become watery when fresh pineapple is added.
A word of warning - this same enzyme also prevents gelatine setting, so never use raw pineapple or fresh juice in jellies or dishes that contain gelatine. Canned pineapple and pasteurised juice can be used instead as the enzyme is destroyed by heat processing.
Preparing the fruit can be tricky. I’ve found that the best way of removing the tough outer skin is to slice off the top and base of the fruit and stand it upright on a board. Using a sharp knife cut off the peel in strips, from top to bottom. When all the peel is removed use a sharp knife to remove the spines left in the flesh. Alternatively, cut the fruit in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. I like to use the shells as unusual containers for sweet dishes such as ice cream, or savoury dishes such as curry. The shells can also be frozen for future use.
A core (the original flower stalk) runs through the centre of the pineapple; sometimes this is tender and can be eaten but it can be quite tough and so needs to be removed. Cut the pineapple in half and cut the core from the centre of the fruit with a small sharp knife; work from one end of the fruit and cut around the core, then turn the pineapple over, work from the other end and push out the core.
PINEAPPLE & PUMPKIN CHUTNEY
We often serve this wonderful chutney as a garnish for our duck & foie gras terrine at Marc Fosh restaurant.
- 1 pineapple, peeled & cut into chunks
- 1 small pumpkin, peeled & cut into chunks
- 1 litre fresh orange juice
- 200g brown sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 300g white wine
- 1 tsp saffron powder
- 1 tsp agar-agar
Bring orange juice, sugar, vanilla, saffron and white wine to the boil and add the diced pumpkin and pineapple. Simmer slowly for about 1 hour until the ingredients are soft and all the liquid has almost disappeared. Add the agar agar and boil it for another 2 minutes, cool and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
PINEAPPLE, POLLEN, GREEN APPLE and LEMONGRASS DETOX
- Half a medium sized pineapple
- 2 green apples, cored
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 lemongrass sticks
- 1tbsp pollen
Peel the pineapple and cut the flesh into large chunks. Press it through the juicer with the green apples. Add the juice of 2 lemons, the pollen and stir well.
Pour into tall glasses and garnish with lemongrass sticks.
ROASTED SPICED PINEAPPLE
- 1 pineapple, ripe but firm
- 125g sugar
- 250ml water
- 1tsp fresh ginger
- 20 cloves
- 2 vanilla pods
- 4 star anise
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 50ml rum
Peel the pineapple and remove the eyes with the point of a sharp knife. Stud the pineapple with cloves, star anise and cinnamon. Split the vanilla pods and scrap out the seeds. Bring the water to the boil and add the sugar, ginger and vanilla seeds. Boil for 6-8 minutes to a light caramel colour. Pre heat the oven to 190ºC. Stand the pineapple upright in a baking dish and baste with the spiced caramel. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, basting 4-5 times with the caramel.
Carve the pineapple in slices and serve warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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