When it comes to flavor, there are very few ingredients that can match the versatility of pure vanilla. Whether it’s the straight forward, heady punch of the Madagascar bean, or the more subtle perfumed harvest from Tahiti, Vanilla is at home in both sweet and savory applications.
Vanilla can stand on its own, or add structure and depth to other flavors. And while pastry chefs often look for the newest, hippest flavor combinations for their desserts, a simple survey reveals that most of them will reach for the comfort of old fashioned vanilla ice cream when it comes to satisfying their own sweet tooth. Simply put, it’s the most important ingredient in my kitchen.
Here’s a recipe that showcases one of my favorite fruits, the pineapple, married with vanilla and caramel. It makes a beautiful presentation and is wholly satisfying on its own, or can be paired with shortbread cookies, pound cake or, my favorite: French Toast.
Whole Roasted Pineapple With Vanilla and Caramel
Yield: 10 Portions
- Pineapple 1
- Clarified butter 2 oz.
- Sugar 8 oz.
- Water 8 oz.
- Butter 6 oz.
- Nielson Massey Vanilla beans, scraped 2
- Crème fraiche 4 oz.
- Cream 1 oz.
- Nielsen Massey Bourbon Vanilla extract 1 tsp
- Sugar 1 tsp
- Pull stem from pineapple and wash to remove the bloom. Trim core end of stem into a sharp point and set aside.
- Remove top and bottom from pineapple and carefully trim away the skin, working from top to bottom, trying to maintain the shape of the fruit. Remove core.
- Carefully sear pineapple on all sides in clarified butter.
- Caramelize sugar in a sauté pan, then quench with hot water. Return to a boil, and stir in the butter and vanilla bean seeds. Cut vanilla bean into 1” lengths and poke into the pineapple “eyes”.
- Roast pineapple in the caramel syrup at 300°F for 60-90 minutes. Baste often, and be careful not to allow the syrup to reduce too far and burn.
- Combine crème fraiche, cream and vanilla extract and whip to soft peaks.
- Remove pineapple from the oven. Transfer to a clean serving pan, fitting reserved stem into open core, and pour over a bit of the sauce.
- Cut pineapple lengthwise into ¼’s. Slice, crosswise, very thin. Garnish with whipped crème fraiche and some of the sauce.