Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dessert 101

This next recipe epitomizes one of my stated goals, which is to provide easy recipes, especially good for the easily intimidated (like me). This little gem, courtesy of Real Simple Magazine, is called Caramelized Pineapple with Coconut Sorbet. It is indeed "real simple," with only 4 ingredients (2 of which are butter and brown sugar, so you simply can't go wrong), and takes only about 15 minutes to throw together. I made it during 3 commercial breaks of Mad Men, and didn't even need to attend it while I was watching the show. What could be better? And not that I'm an expert on 1960s food, since I wasn't exactly around then, it almost seems to me like something Betty Draper (or my grandmother) might make, although with infinitely tastier results that some of the fare from that generation (like my Gran's wonder bread rounds with cream cheese and canned mandarin orange slices).

So now the recipe (in its unadulterated version. More thoughts to follow):

Caramelized Pineapple with Coconut Sorbet (Real Simple Magazine, April 2009)
Serves 4

* 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 4 canned pineapple rings (or fresh, if you know how to butcher a pineapple--I don't)
* 1 pint coconut sorbet

1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook for 1 minute (the butter and sugar will remain separated).

2. Cut the pineapple rings in half and place in pan. Cook until the pinapple is tender and the sauce is smooth and golden, about 4-5 minutes per side. Cool slightly. Serve the pineapple over the sorbet and drizzle with extra sauce from the pan.

And now my thoughts, since I can never resist. Neither Erik nor I actually like coconut, so I thought that I'd replace it with lemon sorbet, because that is one flavor I love, but I went into total sticker shock when I saw how expensive sorbet is--$5.19 for a pint! Is this normal? I don't know. So then I remembered that I still had some plain vanilla kicking around in the freezer from my slightly less-than-successful homemade ice cream sandwiches, and I said, "that will do." And it did, with flying colors. It was delicious! While I was savoring my dessert I got to iming with my friend Jes, who started suggesting other fruits for which this easy technique would also work. I haven't tried any of these yet, but I've never met a caramelized fruit I didn't like. I mean, it's butter, sugar, and fruit. Foolproof!

- Apples & Vanilla ice cream. (Also could throw raisins and/or cinnamon into the sauce while it's cooking for an autumnal twist.)

-Pears & ginger ice cream (I don't know where one finds ginger ice cream outside of Chinatown, but I think it could be delicious nonetheless.)

- Bananas & vanilla ice cream or mango sorbet (Bananas should be cut on a diagonal for bitter pieces thus more surface area for caramelizing.)

This is just what we came up with, please suggest more! And of course, Enjoy!

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