IT’S cold, it’s dark and we are in lockdown – but some fresh pineapple can brighten up mealtimes and give them a tropical twist.
So here are some tips on preparing the fruit and some tasty recipes that feature it. It’s so versatile – great for desserts, savoury dishes, salsas and smoothies.
HOW TO PREPARE A PINEAPPLE
LAY the pineapple on its side and, using a sharp knife, slice off the top and bottom. Make straight, even cuts so you create a flat, stable base on both ends.
Stand the pineapple upright on your cutting board. Securing the pineapple with one hand, the knife with the other, carefully cut from top to bottom to remove the skin. Follow the pineapple’s natural curves with your knife. After taking off the skin, remove the brown “eyes” or holes that remain on the flesh.
- FOR RINGS: Slice rounds of the pineapple and remove the core – the tough, woody part in the centre – with a knife or a shaped cutter.
- FOR WEDGES: Cut the pineapple lengthways in halves then quarters. Remove the core by slicing each of these at an angle. Slice into wedges.
- FOR CUBES: Cut each of the four quarters into long batons then slice those into smaller cubes.
Store your pineapple in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to a week. Or freeze for up to a year.
Pineapple upside-down cake
Serves 8 – 30p per serving
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
- 170g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g brown sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ fresh pineapple, cut into ½in-thick wedges
- 200g granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 200g plain flour
- 125g sour cream or plain yoghurt
- Position oven rack in lower third of oven and heat to 180C. Spread 55g of the butter over the bottom of a 9in cake tin. Scatter the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly on top. Arrange the pineapple in an even layer over butter and sugar. Keep it in wedges or chop into chunks. You can also use rings.
- Beat remaining butter, granulated sugar and zest until light and fluffy – should take about 3 minutes with electric mixer on high speed. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until smooth. Once fully incorporated, mix in baking powder and salt.
- Slowly add flour, then egg whites and sour cream or yoghurt. Spoon on to pineapple. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until you can put a knife into centre and it comes out clean.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes before running knife around tin and turning on to serving dish. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 2 – £1.87 per person
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
- 1tsp dried fast-action yeast
- 140ml warm water
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 180g strong white flour
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, extra for greasing
- 250g passata
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried basil
- 200g sliced ham
- ½ pineapple cut into chunks
- 200g grated mozzarella
- To make the dough, mix the salt, sugar and yeast together in a small jug. Add 70ml of the warm water and stir to combine. Leave for 5 minutes for the yeast to activate.
- Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, gradually add the yeast mixture, olive oil and the remaining water. Continue to combine until a dough has formed which is smooth and elastic. Grease a large bowl with a little olive oil. Add the dough. Cover with cling film and leave to rise until it is double in size – about an hour.
- Remove and knead on a floured surface for a couple of minutes. Divide into two and shape each into a disc about 25cm in diameter. Place them on trays lined with nonstick baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas mark 7.
- Combine the passata, garlic, oregano and basil and spread over the pizza bases. Put the ham, pineapple and cheese on top.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is golden and the toppings are bubbling.
Sweet and sour chicken
Serves 4 – £1.78 per person
Preparation time: 20 minutes.
Marinade time: 20 minutes.
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- 500g chicken breast, cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp rice wine
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 425g fresh pineapple cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into cubes
- 1 carrot, cut into thin strips
- 1 bunch spring onions, sliced
For the sauce:
- 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp cornflour blended with 3 tbsp cold water
- Place the chicken in a bowl and add the rice wine and soy sauce. Stir well and leave to marinate for 20 mins. Stir in the cornflour.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and stir-fry the chicken for 3-4 mins until browned and cooked through with no pink showing. Remove from the pan.
- Add the pepper, carrot, spring onion and pineapple chunks to the pan and cook for a further 2-3 mins. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and add to the pan, along with the chicken. Simmer for 3-4 mins.
- Serve immediately with egg fried rice or noodles.
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