A Study in Pineapple (Video)

A baby pineapple and a full grown pineapple.

I’m Maui Wowie for pineapple! 

What’s more, I have no riveting pineapple stories!  A food blog needs folksy language, something anecdotal and exclamation points.  With those requirements met, let’s move forward.

This dessert mashes up two American classics, Ambrosia Salad and Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

The idea in combining the two desserts involved taking components from each dish and repositioning them to create a new perspective.  Kind of like a cubist painting or Mrs. Potato Head.   

The video below will help shape a perspective about assembling this dessert. 

If time prevents you from making each aspect of this dessert, two or three parts of the whole would elegantly finish a meal.  In addition, you can prepare almost every component in advance.

Think of the ingredient lists and directions as guides rather than exact recipes.  If you like an ingredient, add more.  If you don’t like an ingredient, substitute or leave it out.  Make it your dessert.  Food should be fun.  Moreover, dessert should emphasize the finale of a satisfying meal.  Like an exclamation point!

Serves four.

Pineapple Semifreddo (recipe follows)

Coconut-Pineapple Cake (recipe follows)

White Chocolate Bowls (recipe follows)

Pineapple Orange Salad (recipe follows)

Grilled Pineapple (recipe follows)

Thai basil oil (recipe follows)

Tiny basil leaves and basil flowers

Optional but helpful tools:  A fine mesh strainer, ring molds, cheesecloth and tweezers (if you want to get all chefy).

Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  30 minutes before you’re ready to serve, remove the Pineapple Sauce, Thai Basil Oil and Coconut-Pineapple Cake from the refrigerator.  Remove the Pineapple Semifreddo from the freezer to make it scoopable.  If needed, reheat the Grilled Pineapple in the oven for four or five minutes. 

Stages of assembling the pineapple orange salad.

To make the Pineapple-Orange Salad, thinly slice the pineapple.  Arrange the pineapple slices, orange segments and dried cherries in a ring mold as in the picture.  You could also gently toss them together. 

Remove the core from the Grilled Pineapple and use a cutter to make a precise shape.

Cut a piece of the Coconut-Pineapple Cake slightly smaller than the Grilled Pineapple.  Just before you’re ready to serve, remove the White Chocolate Bowls from the refrigerator. 

Assembly:  Place a Grilled Pineapple slice on the plate.  Place a slice of the Coconut-Pineapple Cake on the Grilled Pineapple.  Lay down a White Chocolate Bowl and place a scoop of the Pineapple Semifreddo in the bowl.  Place a ring mold of Pineapple-Orange on the plate and remove the mold.  Spoon 3 tablespoons of Pineapple Sauce around the plate.  Drizzle some Thai Basil Oil on the sauce and a few Thai basil leaves around the plate (tweezers help for exact placement).   

Pineapple Semifreddo

½ cup pineapple juice

1  whole egg

1 egg yolk

¼  cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup heavy whipping cream

Whisk the whole egg and egg yolk in a bowl over simmering water until very hot to the touch, about 15 minutes.  Add the pineapple juice and get the mixture very hot again.  Cool in an ice bath and add the vanilla extract. 

Cream whipped to soft peaks.

Whip the heavy cream until you get soft peaks.

Add a little of the cream to the pineapple juice/egg mixture and stir to loosen.  Fold the whipped cream one-third at a time into the egg mixture.  Put the mixture in a container and freeze for several hours.  The semifreddo will keep in the freezer for a month.  Makes one quart.

Ingredients for coconut pineapple cake.

Coconut-Pineapple Cake

One 14-ounce can coconut milk (do not use light)

1 cup (170 grams) almond flour

1/4 cup (30 grams) shredded unsweetened coconut

½ cup dried diced pineapple, reconstituted in hot water

2/3 cup (218 grams) light brown sugar

4 tablespoons (57 grams; 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

3 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder

¼  teaspoon each of  cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander

1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the inside of a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking oil spray. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, then grease the paper’s surface with the cooking oil spray.

Pour the coconut milk into a mixing bowl, whisking thoroughly to emulsify it, as needed.

Put the shredded coconut on a rimmed baking sheet, spreading it in an even layer. Toast (middle rack) for 10 to 12 minutes, until the coconut is fragrant and golden at the edges, stirring halfway through the oven time. Add the toasted coconut and almond flour to the mixing bowl with the coconut milk and whisk to incorporate. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Add the remaining ingredients to the coconut mixture, whisking to form a thin batter. Pour into the prepared pan and bake (middle rack) for 28 to 33 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. The cake’s surface may crack a bit; that’s okay.

Cool (in the pan) on a wire rack for 20 minutes.  Then, run a butter knife around the edges to loosen it. Invert the cake onto the rack, remove the pan and paper. Turn the cake right side up, onto a serving plate.

The cake can be baked the day before and refrigerated. 

White Chocolate Bowls

6 ounces white chocolate


Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler.  Let it cool.  Dip the balloons in the chocolate.  Let them cool in the refrigerator.  Pop the balloons.  Ready to go. 

INgredients for pineapple orange salad.

Pineapple-Orange Salad

One baby pineapple, peeled and quartered.

2/3 cup orange segments

¼ cup dried cherries

A thumb sized piece of peeled ginger

2 star anise

1 cup dry white wine

½ cup sugar

1 1/2 cups water.

Pineapple poaching in syrup.

Place the water, wine, sugar, star anise and ginger in a medium sauce pot.  Bring to a boil and add the pineapple quarters.  Reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.  Remove the pineapple from the poaching liquid and wrap in plastic wrap.  Let cool for at least one hour or up to two days. 

Orange segments poaching in syrup.

Return the poaching liquid to a simmer.  Add the orange segments and poach for ten minutes. 

Put the segments in an airtight container with some of the syrup.  Cool the segments in the syrup for at least one hour and up to two days. Makes about 2 cups of salad.

Note: Reserve ½ cup of the poaching liquid for the sauce.

Grilled Pineapple

4 pineapple slices, about ¼ inch thick

4 tablespoons brown sugar

Rubbing brown sugar on a pineapple slice.

Rub each pineapple slice on each side with ½ tablespoon of brown sugar.  Set them in a resealable plastic bag until ready to use. 

Heat a grill pan or an outdoor grill over medium high heat.  Remove the pineapple slices from the bag and grill them three to four minutes each side.  Halfway through grilling the first side, turn them ninety degrees for the impressive cross hatch effect. When the pineapple sizes look done to your taste, flip them over and repeat the process. You can grill the slices the day before and reheat them when you’re ready to put the dish together. 

Thai Basil Oil

3 cups Thai basil leaves

1 cup canola oil

Blanch the Thai basil leaves in boiling salted water for 15 seconds and shock them in ice water.  Wrap the basil leaves in paper towels and wring out as much moisture from the leaves as possible.  Coarsely chop the basil and place it in a blender with the oil.  Blend for 3 minutes and place in a jar, preferably overnight.  Strain the basil oil through several layers of cheesecloth.  Makes about ½ cup.

Chopped pineapple and poaching liquid.

Pineapple Sauce

1 cup chopped pineapple

½ cup reserved poaching liquid from the salad

Place the pineapple and poaching liquid in a blender.  Blend until smooth and strain.  Makes 1 cup.

If you have any questions about the dish, techniques or ingredients, please free to leave a comment.  If you’re just crazy about pineapple, enjoy!    

Rating: 1 out of 5.

2 thoughts on “A Study in Pineapple (Video)

  1. Wow, lots of great recipes here. I liked the chocolate bowls. Who knew that balloons had a function in the kitchen? As always, the video was fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the chocolate bowls and the video. Balloons are one of several unorthodox, yet useful, kitchen tools. Blowtorches, PVC pipe and bricks are just a few utensils that aid in making show stopping food.


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