My fruit-as-dessert “aha!” moment took place in Greece. Years ago, at a modest, family-owned taverna, I was served a complimentary after-dinner treat of thinly sliced apples sprinkled with ground cinnamon.
A nice gesture of hospitality, the dish was not something I expected to wow me. But what hit me in that moment, and has stuck with me to this day, is how appealing and utterly sweet-tooth-satisfying it was, so much more than the fruit eaten out of hand had ever managed to be.
The simple steps of slicing the apple, fanning it out on the plate, and treating it to a sprinkle of warm, fragrant spice transformed the fruit to dessert.
I’ve been reliving the moment at home regularly ever since, varying the fruit as well as the herbs and spices. This version takes the idea in a tropical direction, using tangy, fresh pineapple. The pineapple is thinly sliced, then drizzled with warm honey infused with Caribbean flavors – lime, thyme and allspice. A pinch of chile adds a teasing tingle, and a sprinkle of salt at the end ties it all together.
If you never looked at a fresh pineapple and thought “dessert” before, this recipe might just change your mind.
Fresh Pineapple with Warm Spice-Infused Honey
Time: Active: 25 minutes | Total: 35 minutes
Turn thinly sliced fresh pineapple into an elegant dessert with a drizzle of warm honey infused with Caribbean flavors – lime, thyme and allspice – along with just enough chile for a seductive tingle. A finishing sprinkle of salt brings it together.
Make Ahead: The infused honey may be made up to 2 weeks ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Warm over medium-low heat before serving. The pineapple may be sliced up to 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator; bring the pineapple to room temperature before serving.
Ingredients:½ cup mild honey2 strips lime peel, white pith removed3 tablespoons fresh lime juice3 to 4 fresh thyme sprigs, plus 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, for garnish6 whole allspice berries4 slices fresh habanero peppers or 6 thin slices jalapeño chile peppersOne (2½ pounds) pineappleFlaky sea salt, such as MaldonMethod:In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the honey, lime peel and juice, thyme sprigs, allspice and sliced pepper and, stirring occasionally, bring to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat and steep for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, discard the seasonings from the honey.
Trim the top and bottom from the pineapple and cut away the peel. Quarter the pineapple lengthwise and remove the core from each quarter. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice the pineapple very thinly.
When ready to serve, warm the honey over medium-low heat, if necessary. Evenly divide the sliced pineapple among the serving plates and drizzle each serving with about 1 tablespoon infused honey. Garnish with ¼ teaspoon thyme leaves and season lightly with salt and serve.
Nutrition: Calories: 110; Total Fat: 0 g; Saturated Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 40 mg; Carbohydrates: 28 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 24 g; Protein: 0 g.
Source: Nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.