Molasses-roasted Pineapple with Dark Brown Sugar Cream
I had the privilege to grow up in a country (South Africa) that has a suitable climate to grow exotic fruits such as pineapples, mangoes, guavas, passion fruit, paw paws, avocados, bananas, and plenty more. My grandfather experimented with growing most of these exotics and if it did not work he would just pull it out and try something else. I loved his approach and have adopted a similar theory and technique in my cooking and gardening. The British Isles do not have the right climate to grow pineapples, so when they are in season and come from a Fairtrade supplier, then I’m more than happy to buy one.
This recipe is fun and with the availability of so many different varieties of Fairtrade sugars on offer, one cannot do anything other than have a good play with the exotics. For this recipe, I use muscovado, dark brown and molasses sugars, all made from cane sugar. These sugars give this recipe its all-important character. I’m also a chef who loves gadgets – in this recipe I’m using one of my favourites, a cream whipper.
Ingredients & Method
For the salted peanut brittle biscuits (makes about 26 biscuits)
- 200g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 450g dark muscovado sugar
- 100g salted roasted peanuts
- ½ vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 250g smooth peanut butter
- 1 large egg
For the dark brown sugar cream
- 3 leaves of gelatine
- 400ml milk
- 250g dark soft brown sugar
- 100ml double cream
For the molasses-roasted pineapple
- 120g molasses sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 500g fresh pineapple (prepared weight/flesh only), peeled, quartered lengthways and core removed
- 400g natural yogurt
- sumac, to decorate
Make the biscuit dough. Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, muscovado sugar, peanuts and vanilla seeds into a food processor and process until you have coarse breadcrumbs. Add the butter, peanut butter and egg and process until the mixture forms a soft, sticky dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and push it all together, but do not knead.
Divide the dough in half and roll each portion into a sausage shape, about 5cm in diameter, then wrap each sausage tightly in cling film and refrigerate overnight. (It’s very important that the dough rests well, otherwise the biscuits will bake unevenly and will spread a lot during baking with the potential for burnt edges.)
When you are ready to bake the biscuits the next day, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper (or place a silpat on each baking tray).
Remove the cling film from the well-rested biscuit dough sausages and slice each one into thirteen 5mm-thick rounds (to make a total of 26 biscuits), then place the rounds on the prepared baking trays, leaving plenty of room between each one for them to spread (you will probably need to bake them in batches). Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
Remove from the oven and leave the biscuits to cool on the baking trays for 2 minutes, then carefully remove them to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Repeat to bake the remaining biscuits. This recipe makes about 26 biscuits. If you wish to make the biscuits in advance, they will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container, stored in a cool, dry cupboard.
Meanwhile, make the dark brown sugar cream. Soak the gelatine in cold water until it has softened. Gently heat the milk, soft brown sugar and cream together in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat, bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Squeeze the gelatine gently to remove the excess water, then add the gelatine to the hot milk mixture and stir until dissolved. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve, then pour it into a cream whipper. Secure the lid, charge with 2 gas pellets, shake vigorously, then refrigerate for 4 hours so that the mixture thickens.
While the cream is chilling, make the molasses-roasted pineapple. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.
Sprinkle the molasses sugar and ginger evenly over the prepared pineapple quarters and then use your hands to rub the sugar into the pineapple. Transfer the prepared pineapple to a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and roast it in the oven for 25 minutes. Glaze the pineapple twice during roasting by spooning the melted sugar back over the fruit.
Remove from the oven and let the pineapple cool for 5 minutes, then shred it using 2 forks. Transfer the shredded pineapple to a sieve and leave it to drain and cool completely, then transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for 4 hours before use. Shake the cream whipper vigorously and squirt the foam into a glass to check if it is ready (if the mixture has set solidly, then hold the cream whipper under warm running water to loosen the mixture inside, then shake and use as directed).
To serve, spoon the roasted pineapple into the bottom of 6 serving glasses, then divide the yogurt between the glasses.
Shake the cream whipper vigorously and squirt the dark brown sugar cream on top. Crush 2 peanut brittle biscuits, then sprinkle the crumbs on top of the desserts. Decorate each with a sprinkling of sumac, then serve the desserts, serving 4 biscuits with each glass.
For this recipe, I use a cream whipper and they are inexpensive enough for the home cook to have some fun with. With a cream whipper, nitrous oxide gas is released into a sealed metal container – this blows gas into a liquid that contains a high fat content (which helps the liquid to set and keep its foamy, mousse-like texture). As the gas expands in the liquid, this also intensifies the flavour, so when you eat the cream, you will experience an interesting texture as well as a more intense flavour. Cream whippers are available from good cook shops or online.