Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Syrup and Mascarpone Cream Dessert
We hosted a dinner party at home this evening. I wanted to make a "summery" tiramisu parfait, as opposed to the "wintry" coffee tiramisu I made in the past. I found some beautiful sweet Maui Gold pineapple and decided to add a refreshing twist to the classic Italian dessert. I added some fresh mint from the garden, some coconut, mascarpone and crème fraîche.
I served a wide variety of sweet petit fours and other desserts along with the pineapple mascarpone desserts. I know it was a hit because there wasn't a bit left. When everyone went home, I gathered 14 empty parfait glasses. It looked like the guests washed the dishes themselves. I'm definitely going to make this again!
Yields: 141 pineapple, peeled, cored, sliced
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon imitation rum extract
4 sprigs fresh mint, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 egg yolks
4 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups mascarpone cheese
2-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons coconut extract
1 pinch salt
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
42 amaretti cookies
4 tablespoons crème fraîche
1/3 cup coconut shreds
For the mint and rum-flavored grilled pineapple:
With a brush, grease a cast iron skillet grill (or a regular frying pan would work but you won't get the nice grill marks) and heat until it's really hot, almost at the smoking point. Cook the pineapple slices on high heat for 1-2 minutes using tongs. Do NOT pierce the fruit with a fork! Turn the slice 45° to create a fancy criss-cross grill mark. Grill for another 1-2 minutes. Flip the slice on the other side. Turn the slice 45° and grill for another 1-2 minutes. Transfer all the grilled pineapple slices into a large bowl.
Add the chopped mint, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of rum extract. Toss well and the let the fruit stand until the rest is ready. (Do not forget to remove and discard the core on each slice, I use a small ring cookie cutter)
For the mascarpone filling:
Beat the 3 egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of superfine sugar in a small stainless steel mixing bowl. Prepare a double boiler: Fill a saucepan with water, making sure the water barely covers the bottom of the stainless steel mixing bowl. I always like to add a little kitchen towel at the bottom of the saucepan. The saucepan won't jiggle and there won't be any splatter of water in your egg mixture. Bring the water to a boil then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Place the stainless steel bowl in the saucepan and start whisking the egg mixture vigurosly for about 3-5 minutes using an handheld mixer. You'll get a pale yellow foam and the texture of the egg yolk will be thicker. The mixture should fall like a ribbon of sauce when you lift the whisk.
In another mixing bowl, whisk the mascarpone cheese to soften it. Slowly add the egg mixture to the mascarpone, adding just a little egg at a time. Add the vanilla extract.
Clean your handheld mixer in hot soapy water. Always make sure the beater blades are completely clean prior to whipping 2 cups of cream for an optimum result. The whipping cream should be whipped cold. Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar.
Using a silicone spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to get an airy batter.
Plastic-wrap the container and place in the refrigerator until the rest of the components of the dessert are ready.
For the coconut syrup + amaretti cookies:
The macerated pineapple should be completely cool. Remove and discard the mint. Chop the pineapple into 1-inch chunks. Drain and reserve the pineapple juice.
Combine 2 cups of sugar, 1-1/2 cups of water, salt and the previously gathered pineapple juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil then add the coconut extract. Let the syrup cool down for about 5 minutes.
Soak the amaretti cookies in the syrup for about 2-1/2 minutes. Transfer the cookies directly into the glasses or onto a plate using a fork. The cookies should absorb the coconut syrup but should not be soggy.
For the toasted coconut shreds:
In a small pan, place the coconut shreds in a hot pan for about 1 minute or 2 until slightly golden. Set aside until completely cool.
For the crème fraîche (click on the link for the recipe) whipped cream:
Whisk the remaining heavy cream using an electrical blender. As the volume of cream doubles, the peaks become a little stiff. Add 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and the vanilla and rum extracts.
In another bowl, beat the crème fraîche with a tablespoon of powdered sugar, then gently fold the whipped cream into the crème fraîche to get an airy batter.
Reserve a little bit of chopped pineapple for garnish later.
Line up 14 5-ounce parfait glasses. Add a first layer of the chopped pineapple with a teaspoon of the coconut syrup. Cover with about 3 teaspoons of the mascarpone filling. Add 3 coconut syrup-soaked amaretti cookies per glass with 1-2 teaspoons of coconut syrup. Cover with another layer of mascarpone filling. Add another layer of chopped pineapple (about 2 teaspoons). Finish with about 1-2 teaspoons of the crème fraîche whipped cream. Plastic-wrap each individual container and place in the refrigerator for at least 4-5 hours. The fat from the cream may pick up some other odor from the refrigerator if the containers are not sealed properly.
When serving, spoon a few chunks of pineapple and sprinkle toasted coconut shreds on top of the whipped cream.
The method used to ensure that the egg yolks are fully cooked is basically the same procedure as used to make a sabayon.
I prefer using superfine sugar. It is a fine-grained sugar and it dissolves more quickly than regular granulated sugar.
I usually add a little salt to most desserts. Salt brings out all the flavors and will enhance the taste of your sweets.
I find it best to store the tiramisu for at least 4 hours so the amaretti cookies have time to soften and all the flavors of the pineapple blend into the mascarpone filling.
Quick reminder on how to make your own crème fraîche: Just heat about a cup of heavy cream (do NOT boil). Using a thermometer, the temperature should be between 105°F to 120°F. The temperature should not exceed 130°F or the lactobacilli bacteria that curdles the cream will die. Turn off the heat. Add a tablespoon of buttermilk to make it curdle. Transfer the mixture into a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and place it in a warm area (such as next to the stove). Let the bowl rest at least 8 hours. Stir. The longer it stays, the more tart the flavor will be. Depending on the season (it's much faster during the summer), let the mixture stand for a total of one day, up to 1-1/2 days. Plastic-wrap the thickened cream and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It's delicious.
How to cut a pineapple: Pineapple is very common in Asian cuisine, both in savory (such as canh chua) and sweet dishes. My mom taught me at early age how to cut a pineapple. There is a way to slice a pineapple without "wasting" it, as mom would say. First, the most important part is to use a very sharp chef's knife. Remove and discard the crown and cut off the base of the pineapple. Place the pineapple upright, then strip the skin off. The peel shouldn't be too thick; you should still be able to see the eyes of the fruit. Remove the eyes of the fruit 2 by 2 diagonally all around the pineapple, creating several spirals. Quickly rinse the fruit under running water to remove any of the peel. Horizontally slice the fruit into 1-1/2 inch disks. Voilà! You'll never buy canned pineapple again .
Published By: on July 22, 2009.