April 1 is my new January 1. I have imposed a second quarter New Year’s Day upon myself because I have failed miserably at my New Year’s Resolutions. I have not forgotten the goals I set to make small improvements, it just seems as though I had to peel back a layer of life junk before I could get to them.
Sort of like how you have to peel the prickly skin from a pineapple to reveal the sweet fruit inside. The goodness is there all along, but you have to do a little work to find it.
One of the reasons I continue to blog is the fact it keeps me accountable to the ever-mounting pile of recipes I clip, copy, bookmark, and otherwise collect. Oftentimes, I simply enjoy the experience of a new recipe, and it is somewhat rare that I think to make it again. This spiced poached pineapple I will make again. And again and again.
Poaching pineapple in a simple spiced sugar syrup is a breeze. Granted, it takes a bit of time (four to five hours split across three steps) to allow the flavors of the vanilla, star anise, cinnamon, and white peppercorns to infuse the syrup and then the pineapple.
Active cooking time, however, is only about 15 minutes. Then you are left with richly spiced, sweet piece of fruit to enjoy alone, over ice cream, with cottage cheese, or any other way you enjoy your pineapple.
Despite my new found love for this dessert, there are two things to note. The first is the intense sweetness that results when you soak a naturally sweet piece of pineapple in liquid sugar. The second is the amount of sugar syrup the recipe yields. I could have easily poached two pineapples in the amount of liquid I got.
I will halve the sugar syrup recipe the next time I make this dessert, but if you like having a simple syrup on hand, there are plenty of ways to use up the extra. Stir it into iced tea or lemonade or mix it with club soda or sparkling water. I am sure there are plenty of ways to use it in a cocktail as well. Enjoy!
Spiced Poached Pineapple
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 pieces of star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
- 1 ripe pineapple
- 1 pint vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)
- Stir together the water and sugar in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar, then remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Stir in the star anise, cinnamon stick and white peppercorns. If using vanilla paste, stir it into the sugar syrup along with the spices. If using vanilla extract, hold tight - you will add the extract at a different step.
- Allow the mixture to steep for one hour.
- While the spices infuse into the sugar mixture, prepare the pineapple. Cut off the top and bottom and remove the prickly peel. Quarter the fruit lengthwise, cut out the core and chop into one-inch chunks.
- After an hour has passed, set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and pour the syrup into the bowl. Reserve the spices for later, then return the sugar syrup to the saucepan.
- Add the pineapple chunks to the saucepan with the syrup.
- Bring to a simmer and cook until a fork or skewer easily pierces the pineapple, about two to five minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the contents back into the large bowl. Allow this mixture to sit for one hour to cool to room temperature.
- Now add the reserved spices back to the bowl. If using the vanilla extract, stir it into the mixture at this time.
- Refrigerate the pineapple and syrup until cold, about two to three hours, before serving alone or with ice cream. Be sure to remove the spices with the strainer before serving as well.