Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pineapple Roasted in Rum--Cuban Style

I tried a fresh pineapple for the first time many years ago when not much food was on the shelves of Polish food stores. My neighborhood vegetable store with his obnoxious manager was selling them together with all the other typical vegetables that were so dirty that you hardly could see their color.

Those pineapples were coming from Cuba, as did some other strange products that one could find in Polish foodstores even during the worst economic crisis--Cuban cigars, Havana Club Rum, stuffed baby crocodiles, and oranges that looked like grapefruits. But these pineapples were really wonderful. I think that arrogant man must have been a KGB agent to get them for his little smelly shop.

At that time all I knew what to do with those pineapples was to peel them and eat straight. They were my exotic luxury.

Recently, I noticed that it must be a pineapple season somewhere in the world. They are on display in all DC food stores, and on sale for 3-4 dollars a piece. I succumbed to their charm and bought three pineapples in the past two weeks. I let them ripen for a while while and decorate my kitchen. From the first one I made a salad. From the second one I made an upside down pineapple cake. The cake was good, although I am not sure if the pineapple in a cake was an idea that I would ever cherish again. I like them on their own, in particular when they are very mellow and honey sweet.

Following my appetite, I baked yesterday the third pineapple with spices and rum (not the Cuban though). Fruit desserts are already light and zesty, but the day was unusually hot so I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. It did the job but, in my opinion, the pineapple tasted more delicate and all the spices where more detectable when it was served alone, just in the sauce it was baked.

Pineapple Roasted in Rum and Spices
(Serves four)

1 whole pineapple (cut in 8 slices);
3 tbsp honey,
4 tbsp orange juice from fresh orange,
2 tbsp butter,
2 tbsp dark rum,
3 anise star fruits,
1/2 vanilla pod,
1 cinnamon stick.

1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C),
2. Put butter, honey, orange juice, and spices in a small pot and heat just until the butter melts. Take off from the heat and add rum.

3. Cut bottom and top of pineapple and later going from the top to bottom cut off the skin removing all the hard parts.
4. Cut pineapple in half-inch slices and remove the hard core from the center of each slice.
5. Place the pineapple slices on a roasting pan and the rum sauce with spices on them.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the slices are slightly brown.

Serve warm plain with sauce.

or with vanilla ice cream.