Pineapple isn't a staple around here and I really didn't know what to do with it. So it just sat there, all prickly and spiky.
Then there was a call for volunteers to cook for the teachers' appreciation lunch. Right on the possible menu items was a pineapple upside down cake, made in a cast iron skillet.
Now that's my kind of contribution. [Seriously, I don't think there's an end to the pleasure I derive from cooking in cast iron or Mason jars. Weird. Right?]
It was my first pineapple upside-down cake -- with a splash of dark rum (recipe below). My favorite part, besides getting to use the fresh pineapple, was grinding my own cardamom seeds. Oh how fragrant that made my house.
|New favorite banana bread recipe.|
After the first pineapple experiment seemed to turn out so well, I started researching other things I could do with pineapple...I mean besides put it on a ham or toss it in a salad. That's how I found a whole category of Hawaiian banana bread with pineapple and tropical nuts and all sorts of deliciousness.
I picked a recipe from Taste of Home and was not disappointed. The pineapple melts away into the bread, just like the banana, and leaves the slices extra moist.
VFG Test Kitchen Note: For the bread recipe, I used fresh pineapple from half of a medium pineapple. I rough chopped the pieces, the mashed them with a potato masher to get the crushed pineapple consistency.
Here's the recipe for the cake.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored (my pineapple came with a diagram, which was surprisingly useful)
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 to 3 tsp ground cardamom (I ground seeds in an old coffee grinder)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 tbsp dark rum
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
2 tbsp dark rum for sprinkling over cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make topping: Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly. (I really made sure there was plenty of overlap so the bottom of the pan was covered in pineapple.)
To make the batter: Sift together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (The recipe said the batter may be curdled, but I didn't experience this.)
Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet 5 minutes.
Invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet. Sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.
Serve cake just warm or at room temperature.