This dessert has less fat and is less sweet than the traditional version. Greek yogurt is an excellent garnish because it has the creamy, dairy taste and texture of fromage blanc. The heat of the skillet makes the cake layer evenly browned on the bottom.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-by-1/2-inch chunks
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 cold egg whites
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 16 ounces 2 percent Greek yogurt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the butter just enough to coat the bottom of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Lay the pineapple chunks in the pan so they fit tightly without overlapping. Sprinkle the cranberries over the pineapple, making sure to fill in any holes between pineapple chunks with the berries. Set aside.
Sift the cake flour, 1/3 cup of the sugar and the salt 3 times. (Discard any sugar that remains in the sifter or strainer each time.) Set aside. Place the egg whites, water, lemon juice, cream of tartar and vanilla and almond extracts in a large bowl and beat on low speed for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture increases in volume by 4 1/2 to 5 times and resembles a bowl of slightly translucent, soft foam composed of tiny bubbles, 1 1/2 to 3 minutes. The foam will hold a soft, moist shape when the beaters are lifted. On medium speed, gradually beat in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, 2 to 3 minutes. When all the sugar has been added, the foam will be creamy white and hold soft, moist, glossy peaks that bend over at the points; do not beat until stiff.
Sift a fine layer of the flour mixture (about one-eighth of the total) evenly over the surface of the batter and fold gently with a spatula only until the flour is almost incorporated. Do not stir or mix. Repeat 7 more times, folding in the last addition until no traces of flour are visible.
Spread the batter evenly over the pineapple-cranberry mixture in the prepared skillet. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Separate the cake from the side of the skillet by running a knife around the inside of the pan's lip. Some liquid (less than 1 cup of pineapple juice) will be in the pan. Carefully pour it into a ramekin.
Place a large plate over the skillet and, using two potholders, carefully invert the cake onto the plate. Place the skillet on a burner (use a potholder; the handle of the iron skillet will still be hot) over high heat and add the reserved liquid, cooking it until it thickens into a bubbling caramel, 3 to 4 minutes. Drizzle the caramel over the pineapple. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a dollop of Greek yogurt, if desired, alongside each slice.
Adapted from chef and former restaurateur David Hagedorn, who developed this dessert from two recipes in "The All New, All Purpose Joy of Cooking" (Scribner, 1997), one for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and one for Basic Angel Cake.
Tested by Tracy Dahl and Bonnie S. Benwick.
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