Do you ever discover a new way of cooking a familiar ingredient, only to become completely obsessed by it? That’s what’s happening with pineapple in my kitchen at the moment.
I thought that nothing could beat the deliciousness of a slice of tart, sweet, juicy pineapple cut straight off the fruit, eaten unadulterated. But then I cut up some pineapple and put it in a pan with hot butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, and my life hasn’t been the same since.
Once you start caramelizing pineapple, a whole new avenue of possibilities opens up. It’s incredible juiciness holds up to treatment in a hot pan, it’s flavour only intensifying, while taking on an amazing toffee/caramel note. It works in both sweet and savoury dishes, too, one of my favourite quick dinners is a bowl of rice noodles served with pineapple that has been cooked with ginger, chilli and garlic and then caramelized in a mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce and brown sugar. A scattering of toasted peanuts, and you have the most incredible mixture of sweet/sour/salty/nutty flavours.
But, in the interests of desserts being infinitely more sexy than anything involving fish sauce, my recipe today lies firmly in that realm. A galette is a sort of rustic, freeform tart that doesn’t require a tin. It is absolutely the easiest thing in the world to do with pastry, and lends itself to all sorts of sweet and savoury recipes. No faffing about with tins or blind baking, you simply put fruit on the pastry and fold the edges up around it, like tucking it into bed. I love galettes because they look incredibly impressive, yet are anything but.
This is the perfect recipe if you’re a bit pressed for time, especially if you buy shop-bought pastry or make your own in advance. All you’re required to do is cook a bit of pineapple, roll some pastry, then let the oven do the work. The crumbly pastry is a delicious contrast to the sugary, spiced sweetness of the fruit, and it will surprise and delight those poor souls who have never had caramelized pineapple in a dessert before. Cold, cold vanilla ice cream is absolutely essential for serving this, I would say. Enjoy!
here's what you'll need...
For the pastry:
- 125g plain flour or spelt flour
- 80g very cold butter, cubed
- A pinch of salt
- 25g light brown sugar
- 1-2 tbsp very cold water
For the filling:
- 20g butter
- 1 tbsp molasses sugar or dark brown sugar
- One medium pineapple or ¾ of a large pineapple
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- A good grind of black pepper
- ½ tsp vanilla extract