March 25, 2013

Bear Essentials: Pineapple
( + Pineapple and Macadamia Nut Tart )

I don't know what's happening around your house...but here in Detroit, Spring has definitely not sprung.  In fact, there's an inch of snow on the ground.  Which, yes, is preferable than having to look at the other things that tend to lay around on the ground in Detroit.  But still.

I've had just about enough of this silliness.

I'm feeling a distinct need for something tropical.  Something fruity.  Something the color of an Easter chick (which, by the way, are not really as cute as they seem because of the terrifying claws, and also because sometimes when you're holding them in an attempt to work through the claw situation, they spitefully poo in your hand, and if you hissed "fricasee" at them when you thought no one was listening, no one could possibly blame you).

That got a little off-tangent.  Where were we?  Ah.  Tropical. Fruity.  Brightly-colored.  And that's why Pineapple is this month's Essential.  This week, I'm sharing with you 5 of my very favorite pineapple recipes, to help you slog through these last miserable weeks of winter.

And to start, here's the prettiest tart I ever have made.  But don't let its frilly golden exterior distract you: there's even more here than meets the eye.  Nestled under all those caramelized layers lies a roasty, rich nut filling: think marzipan.  But with macadamia nuts.  Tropical marzipan.  If ever there was an antidote to snow, I think this might be it.

Make it for Easter.  Make it for a baby shower.  Make it for a Saturday.  It's about time we had a little sunshine.

Pineapple and Macadamia Nut Tart
by Dabney Gough
at Fine Cooking

Macadamia Nuts  [ 1/2 cup, toasted ]
Sugar  [ 1/4 cup ]
Unbleached All-Purpose Flour  [ 1 cup ]
Kosher Salt  [ 1/4 teaspoon ]
Unsalted Butter  [ 1/2 cup, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces ]
Egg  [ 1, lightly beaten ]

Macadamia Nuts  [ 3/4 cup ]
Sugar  [ 1/4 cup ]
Egg  [ 1, at room temperature ]
Unsalted Butter  [ 1/4 cup, softened ]
Unbleached All-Purpose Flour  [ 1 tablespoon +  1  1/2 teaspoons ]
Rum  [ 1 tablespoon ]
Vanilla Extract  [ 1/4 teaspoon ]

Unbleached All-Purpose Flour  [ 1 tablespoon ]
Fresh Pineapple  [ 1, about 3 1/2 pounds, cored, cut lengthwise into halves or quarters, then cut crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices ]
Honey  [ 3 tablespoons ]
Rum  [ 2 tablespoons ]

Make Crust:
1.   In a food processor, pulse Macadamias and Sugar until finely chopped; do not overprocess to the
        point at which they start to form a paste.
2.   Add in Flour and Salt; pulse to mix.
3.   Add in Butter and pulse about 8 times, until Dough looks like sand and starts to clump together.
4.   Pour Egg over Dough; pulse just until blended.
5.   Shape Dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
6.   Chill Dough in refrigerator at least 2 hours.
7.   Remove Dough from refrigerator and press into bottom of  a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable
         bottom.  If necessary, let warm a bit until it is malleable enough to do this.  Do not press Dough up sides
         of pan.
8.   Freeze crust for 20 minutes.

Make Filling:
9.   In a food processor, pulse Macadamias until they start to look like sand.
10.   Add in Sugar, Egg, Butter, Flour, Rum, and Vanilla Extract.  Process until Filling is completely

Construct Tart:
11.   Heat oven to 375 degrees.
12.   Spread Filling almost to the edges of Crust, leaving a 1/4-inch border all the way around.
13.   Sprinkle Flour over Filling.
14.   Starting on the outside and working in, lay Pineapple in concentric circles, overlapping pieces
            slightly and also overlapping circles.  If necessary, when nearing the center, trim Pineapple to fit.
15.   Bake until Crust is golden [ 30-35 minutes ].  Rotate Tart after 20 minutes, and if edges are browning
            faster than the rest, cover them loosely with foil.

Finish Tart:
16.   Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, stir together Honey and Rum.
17.   Over Medium-High heat, reduce Glaze slightly [ about 1-2 minutes ].  Remove from heat.
18.   When Tart Crust is golden, remove from oven.  Brush carefully with 1/2 of the Honey-Rum Syrup.
19.   Return Tart to oven until Crust is deep golden-brown  [ 5-15 minutes ].
20.   Remove Tart from oven and place on a rack.
21.   Brush Tart with more Honey-Rum Syrup.  Don't feel pressured to use it all up.
22.   Let Tart cool completely.  Then devour.

Makes one 9-inch tart, serving 6-8, unless you share my self-control issues.  In that case, serves 1 over the course of a long Saturday.  And maybe a smidge for breakfast on Sunday.

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