The pineapple is one of the world’s most popular and bizarre dessert fruits. The Ananas Comosus is a tropical plant, native to Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. The plant is a bromeliad (family Bromeliaceae), a short, herbaceous perennial with 30 or more long, spined and pointed leaves surrounding a thick stem. The fruitwas named “pineapple” because of its resemblance to a pine cone. The native Tupi word for the fruit was anana, meaning “excellent fruit”, this is the source for words like ananas, common in many languages.The natives of Southern Brazil and Paraguay spread the pineapple throughout South America, and it eventually reached the Caribbean. Columbus discovered it in the Indies and brought it back with him to Europe. The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines and Hawaii (introduced in the early 19th century, first commercial plantation 1886), Zimbabwe and Guam. The fruit was cultivated successfully in European hothouses and pineapples pits, beginning in 1720.
Pineapple is a good source of manganese, as well as containing significant amounts of vitamine C and Vitamine B1. Most pineapples are canned, juiced, or eaten raw. Sugar-syrup from the excess pineapple juices may be used to produced alcohol or pineapple wine via fermentation or to extract citric acid. On interesting by-product is bromelin, a protein-digesting enzyme similar to papain (Papaya, Carica papaya) that occurs in the juice, and this enzyme stops gelatin from solidifying, which is why you cannot use raw pineapple for those recipes. Leaves of bromeliad relatives of pineapple can be used as hard fiber for commercial uses.
Spain’s Emperor Charles V, the first monarch to try one, thought it tasted very nasty. But by 1642, pineapples were grown in the Duchess of Cleveland’s hot-house. When England’s King Charles II tried the fruit, it was subsequently immortalized by the court painter. France’s Louis XIV is said to have asked La Quintinie to grow this exotic marvel for him in the frames of the Versailles vegetable garden. Pineapples became extremely fashionable in the second half of the eighteenth century and market gardeners asked very high prices because of their great cost of growing them. Due to the difficulties in importing the fruit from the West Indies, it remained an expensive delicacy until after the advent of the steamship and after World War II.
Recipe for Pastry
400g plain flour*
50g corn flour
1/4 (heaped) tsp salt
280g cold, unsalted butter (do not allow it to soften)
3 egg yolks, beaten
3 tbsp cold water (or iced water)
6 tbsp icing sugar**
1/2 tsp cognac or pure vanilla extract
For glaze, mix 1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp water
Sift the flours, icing sugar and salt. Mix well to combine.
Using the pointed ends of a fork, rub the butter into the flour until it looks like fine bread crumbs. If necessary, use fingertips to continue rubbing lightly the bigger pieces into finer pieces. Basically, just scrape / flake the butter with your forks. You essentially want to coat the butter crumbs in flour. Using forks prevents the cold butter from melting since there is no contact with heat. If you want to rub the butter into the flour using your hands, make sure you use only your fingertips.
Beat together egg yolks, cold water and cognac (or vanilla extract). Add it into the butter-flour mixture. Using your finger tips, gently coax all the crumbs into one large dough ball. Do not knead. As long as all the crumbs come together, stop. Chill in the fridge for about 10mins, covered. Roll out to desired thickness (mine was about 8mm thick). Cut out dough using cutter. Arrange neatly onto baking tray, with at least 1.5cm apart. Since this is a very buttery, oily pastry, it would be good to use a small portion at a time. Keep the rest covered in the fridge, otherwise it will ooze oil.
Once you have arranged the tart shells on your tray, glaze them (the entire surface, not just the rims). Place the pre-rolled pineapple jam balls onto the centre of each tart shell.
Bake at 160°C for 20 minutes, turning the tray halfway through baking. According to the original recipe; when placing jam onto the pastry, take caution not to smear jam onto the sides as this will easily “burn” and render the sides of the pastry (the flowery design) darker.
250 grammes granulated sugar
a dash of cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Skin pineapple and scrape out the flesh. Drain flesh on a sieve for 10 minutes to obtain ½ cup of juice. Place the scraped pineapple flesh in a non-stick pan and add granulated sugar, pineapple juice, lemon juice, cloves and cinnamon. Place pan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally for about ½ hour until pineapple jam is sticky and can easily be rolled into a ball. Set aside to cool.
The skins and core of 1 pineapple, organic if possible and well washed
½ to ¾ lb of panela or brown sugar, whole or in chunks – more or less to taste
Assorted spices: cinnamon sticks, all spice peppers, cloves, anise, etc
10-12 cups of water
Combine all of the ingredients in large saucepan or pot
Bring to a boil and simmer partially covered for at about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Let cool down, unless you are drinking it warm or hot, you can drink it immediately or let it rest refrigerated to allow the spices and pineapple flavor to concentrate.
Milk – 3/4 cup
Butter, unsalted – 1/2 cup, or 8 tablespoons
Sugar – 1/4 cup
Salt – 1 1/4 teaspoons
Warm (110°F) water – 1/3 cup
Active dry yeast – 1 (1/4-ounce) package
All-purpose flour – 5 to 6 cups
Eggs, lightly beaten – 3
Pineapple preserves or marmelade – 1 1/2 cups
Ground cinnamon – 2 teaspoons
Egg – 1
Milk or water – 2 tablespoons
Sugar, regular or turbinado – 1/4 cup
Add the milk, butter, sugar and salt to a saucepan and heat, stirring until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool until lukewarm.
Mix the warm water and yeast together in a small bowl and set aside for 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast.
Add 4 cups of the flour to large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast mixture, warm milk and beaten eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients and bring the dough together. Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead, adding extra flour as needed until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands and is silky and elastic. Remove the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm corner until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and punch it down with your fists to deflate it. Cut the dough into 2 equal-sized portions. Roll out one of the portions out to fit the bottom of a greased, 11×17-inch baking pan. Place the dough in the baking pan and trim it to fit, saving the trimmings. Mix together the pineapple preserves and cinnamon and spread over the bottom dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges.
Cut about 1/4 of the dough off the second doughball and set it aside. Roll the remaining dough out to fit the baking pan as a top for the semita. Lay the second layer over the pineapple filling and trim it to fit the pan. Press down the edges of the semita with a fork to seal. Knead the remaining dough and trimmings into a ball and roll it out to around 1/4-inch thick and about 10 inches long. Cut the dough into long strips about 1/4-inch wide.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat the remaining egg with the milk or water. Brush the top of the semita with the egg wash. Lay the strips of dough on the semita in a criss-cross pattern, trimming them to fit. Brush the dough strips with egg wash and sprinkle the whole top of the pastry with a liberal amount of sugar. Set the semita aside to rest for about 30 minutes. Poke the semita all over with a toothpick to prevent the pastry from overpuffing as it bakes. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the semita is golden brown on top. Remove and cool. Cut into 12 portions and serve with coffee, tea or hot chocolate.