By mid-April, when I have grown weary of winter citrus but the bounty of local berries hasn’t hit the market yet, I like to turn to the tropics for some sweet, juicy variety. My luscious pineapple dessert not only is packed with island flavor, it satisfies a sweet tooth healthfully as well.
Grilling the fruit caramelizes its natural sugars, brings forth its juices and gives it attractive grill marks. A sprinkling of ground allspice adds another dimension with its warm, aromatic Caribbean flair.
Once the pineapple comes off the grill, it’s topped off with another layer of tropical flavor in the form of coconut whipped cream. I don’t use coconut milk because it is more healthful; it isn’t necessarily better for you than regular whipped cream. I use it because it has such an intense, craveable coconut flavor that it makes you see palm trees. Besides, it keeps the dish vegan-friendly.
To make it, you refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk for several hours — long enough for the fat to separate and rise to the top of the liquid. Then you scrape off the solid fat and whip it as you would cream, with a touch of sugar. It is so rich and decadent that you need just a little for this recipe. But the rest keeps well in the refrigerator, so you can have it on hand to dollop on those berries, too, when they arrive at last.
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The pineapple also can be cooked on an outdoor grill. (Remember to brush the grates with oil.) If you have a pineapple corer, use it to remove the core before you cut the pineapple into rings.
MAKE AHEAD: The can of coconut milk needs to be refrigerated for at least 5 hours and up to 1 day in advance. You’ll have whipped coconut cream left over; it can be refrigerated for at least 1 month. Ellie Krieger likes to refrigerate the beaters she uses for the coconut whipped cream; you can chill them along with the canned coconut milk.
From nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.
One 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 fresh whole pineapple
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Canola oil, for the grill pan
2 teaspoons fresh mint leaves (whole or chopped), for garnish
Chill the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours and up to 1 day.
Remove it from the refrigerator without shaking it or moving it too much. Transfer what has congealed at the top to a mixer bowl, being careful not to include any of the liquid. The yield should be about 3/4 cup of solid coconut cream.
Add the sugar to the bowl; whip with chilled beaters (optional; see headnote) on medium-high speed (stand mixer or handheld electric mixer) until the coconut cream is glossy and firm enough for a spatula to leave tracks that remain. The yield is about 1 cup.
Cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple. Cut away and discard the skin and any brown spots on the fruit. Cut the pineapple flesh crosswise into eight equal slices (about 1/2 inch thick). Use a spoon or apple corer to carve out the center core of each slice to create rings. Sprinkle the allspice evenly over each pineapple ring (on one side only).
Brush a large grill pan lightly with the oil and heat the pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches and adjusting the heat as needed, cook the pineapple rings for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until they are nicely browned and grill marks have appeared.
To serve, place 2 pineapple rings on each serving dish. Top each with a small dollop (2 teaspoons) of the coconut whipped cream, and garnish with mint.
Nutrition | Per serving: 90 calories, 0 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 16 g sugar
Recipe tested by Kara Elder; e-mail questions to email@example.com
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