Thursday, 11 February 2010

Caramelized Pineapple with Hot Chocolate Sauce

We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love. ~Author Unknown
That's right, it is Valentine's Day this week. Time to celebrate love in all its forms. Personally I am thrilled that I have found the man that I want to annoy for the rest of my life.

In our own week long celebration of romance - for really, is a day enough? - I have a few treats in mind - first of which is Nigella's Caramelized Pineapple with Hot Chocolate Sauce. The title alone should be enough to start you swooning..

Long spears of pineapple are sprinkled with demerara sugar and grilled (or in my case broiled - it is a mite nippy out there tonight) while dark chocolate melts into velvety smoothness with Malibu rum and whipping cream. I put the spears in after they were broiled, with bows to celebrate the occasion.

The results are luscious, decadent and delicious. Definitely a winner for Valentine's Day no matter who you celebrate with.

There’s no other way to put this: these are fruit kebabs. I know how this sounds, but that’s not how they taste.

Now that we’ve got that over with, I’ll go on: these skewer-threaded chunks of pineapple are sprinkled with sugar and blitzed on the grill or under the broiler till that absurdly yellow, tropical-sunshine flesh is scorched a deep, golden brown. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, there is more. You make a thick, dark coconut-rum-deepened chocolate sauce and dip the pineapple into it as you eat (Malibu is coconut-flavored rum). For hygiene’s sake, and it’s not often you’ll hear me saying that, it might be wise to give each person their own little bowl of molten chocolate sauce for repeated, fondue-style dunkings, though you can simply stick a ladle in a big bowl of the stuff and let everyone spoon the sauce over the pineapple, on their plates, as they eat. To make this less a backyard grill-fest, however, you can forget the bamboo skewer element and simply sugar and broil pieces of pineapple and serve them up to be eaten relatively elegantly, with knife and fork, a pitcher of hot chocolate sauce on the table alongside. Nigella Lawson
Caramelized Pineapple with Hot Chocolate Sauce
Nigella Lawson
Yield: Serves 6–8.

•1 ripe pineapple
•approx. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Demerara or granulated brown sugar
for the chocolate sauce:
•8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
•½ cup Malibu or other rum
•½ cup heavy cream

14 bamboo skewers soaked in cold water to stop them catching fire in the heat of the broiler or grill

Preheat the broiler or grill. Cut the top and bottom off the pineapple and, working vertically, slice the skin off the fruit. Cut into quarters and then into about three pieces again lengthwise so that you have wedges of pineapple. Cut out the woody core and thread the wedges onto the soaked bamboo skewers lengthwise and arrange these in a shallow dish.

Put the chocolate, broken up into pieces, into a thick-bottomed pan along with the Malibu and melt over a low heat. Then, stirring, pour in the cream, plus any juice that has gathered from the fruit. When the sauce is thick, smooth and hot, pour into a bowl with a ladle, or enough little bowls to give one per person.

Lay the pineapple kebabs on a sheet of foil and either broil or grill the pineapple, thickly coating it with Demerara sugar first, until it caramelizes and scorches in the heat.

Take from the broiler or grill and lay them on a large plate and let everyone take them as they want, dipping the pineapple skewers into the hot chocolate sauce as they eat.

My broiler didn't make my spears very dark, even after a long time. Must not be that hot. If I was smart I would have gotten out my blow torch, but I have just thought about that now..
No matter, the pineapple was caramelized to sweet perfection and I sprinkled a little bit of turbinado sugar on top of the cooked spears for some over-the-top sweet crunch. This is no time for self-control.

Caramelized Pineapple with Hot Chocolate Sauce for I Heart Cooking Clubs, A Little Romance..