Jul 072009
 

UPDATE: I have changed the cutting pattern to a far more useful (and more obvious, I don’t know what I was thinking before) layout that gives four equal portions and is easier to finish. New pictures included!
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GRILLHEAD ALERT: This one is a pure grilling recipe and takes direct heat, so all of you non-barbeque guys can jump on board today. You will knock your guests out when you serve this up as either an after-meal treat or as an appetizer.

This is a super-simple combination of pineapple, maple syrup, cinnamon, and a hot grill. It brings a smorgasbord or bold and subtle flavours to the party, and looks fabulous on the plate. It gets served in it’s own skin and looks faboo. The only real challenge here is the cutting, and anyone with a couple of sharp knives will do just fine.


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UPDATE: After I shot these pics I figured out a much better way to make the original cuts in the pineapple. When I cook my next one I will replace these pics with the new slicing strategy, but for now you will have to made do.

As mentioned, we only need three ingredients here:
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A whole fresh pineapple
Some maple syrup
A bit of cinnamon

You also want some sort of neutral-flavoured non-stick spray – canola oil, grapeseed oil, either will do.

And when I say maple syrup, I mean maple syrup and not some “maple flavoured” bullshit. You need actual juice from an actual tree that has been boiled down to make actual maple syrup – some fake Mrs. Butterworth’s crap is not going to work here. Period.

Okay. Heat up your grill – charcoal only, don’t use any wood here because you are going to overpower the maple flavour if you do. While the girll gets hot, slice off the top of the pineapple, far enough down that you can see the core to guide your next cuts. Save the top for a garnish if you are going to stick these onto a platter en masse.
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Next, cut the pineapple in half top-to-bottom.
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Then cut those pieces in half so that you get four pie-shaped quarters.
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Then slice down the “point” of each quarter to take the hard core off. Make sure all of the hard woody part is gone. If you have dogs, they will probably love it as a sweet and messy crunchy treat.
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Now – the first delicate part: Use your knife to score across the quarters all the way through the flesh, but do not puncture the skin. The skin is pretty tough, so this isn’t as hard as it could be – just take your time and you will be fine. The result should look like this. Remember – do not puncture the skin!
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Spray the cut sides of the fruit with your oil and plop them face down on the grill – you want a medium high heat, for about 10 minutes. You want to get a good char on the exposed face of the fruit – see the picture at the very top or the very bottom of this post to see how much it should caramelize.
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When they are ready, pull them off and sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on the cut side each one, and then drizzle maple syrup over top of that. Do it nice and slowly so that the syrup gets down into the cuts – this is why you didn’t want to puncture the skin, you want maximum syrup retention. And be sure to put the syrup on after the cinnamon so that the liquid drives the spice down into the cuts. Then take them back to the grill and put them onto the heat with the skin side down. Let them roast here for about 20 minutes. You want the pineapple to be heated and softened all the way through, but not turning to mush, so keep an eye on them.
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When they are done, take them off the grill and let them rest for about 5 minutes. Then carefully take your knife (a grapefruit knife works wonders here) and slice along the bottom of the fruit to separate it from the skin. Leave the pieces arranged on the matching piece of skin, sprinkle with a half of a dash more cinnamon, and serve warm. Vanilla ice cream or orange sherbet is an optional but absolutely perfect accompaniment. You can plate them individually or platter them up and let people grab as they will. Warm, sweet, tangy, with hints of maple and cinnamon spice – just make sure you buy two or three pineapples. You are going to want more. Trust me.
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