Fresh Pineapple Gratin is a fabulous showstopper dessert, but it’s quick and easy, has a minimum of ingredients, and takes only about 20 minutes of hands-on time. It’s definitely suitable for company, but is easy enough to serve to family on a weeknight. I often buy a fresh pineapple at my favorite warehouse store where they are cheap, thinking I’ll cut it up to use in a fruit bowl or salad. Then I get busy, the fruit bowl or salad never gets made, and I find that the pineapple is getting riper by the day. This dessert is the perfect way to use that pineapple.
While many of us associate the term gratin with dishes like potatoes au gratin, the term gratin actually refers to a dish with a browned top. The top can be cheese and breadcrumbs which turn brown as they bake, a béchamel sauce put under the broiler to make the top brown and bubbly, or, as in this case, brown sugar which melts under the broiler to form a brown crust. In fact, this dessert will remind you of the classic crème brulée, but it is much easier to make and has the bonus of a layer of delicious caramelized fresh pineapple under the creamy topping.
If you’ve never tried to cut a fresh pineapple, it’s really easy. Just use a large sharp knife such as a French chef knife; cut off the bottom end, then the top with the fronds. Place the pineapple upright on the cutting board and cut the rind off from top to bottom in strips, making sure to cut out the eyes. With the pineapple still standing upright, cut it in half (top to bottom), then quarters. Cut down the middle of each of the quarters to remove the core. Then the pineapple can be cut into small pieces for this dish. Incidentally, canned pineapple cannot be used for this dish as it is precooked and will not caramelize properly.
Fresh Pineapple Gratin can be served warm from the oven, but my family prefers it room temperature. In the unlikely event of leftovers, refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before serving.
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup dark rum
3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
4 cups ripe fresh pineapple, (about 1 medium) cut into 1/2" pieces
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat; add the rum and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar.
- Stir to mix, then add the pineapple and ginger.
- Turn the heat to high and let the pineapple caramelize, stirring every 2-3 minutes at first, and then more often as the liquid evaporates and the pineapple pieces begin to turn golden and caramelize (see picture). It will take 8-10 minutes.
- Transfer the pineapple to a 1 quart gratin dish or shallow casserole dish.
- Mix the heavy cream, sour cream and lemon zest; spread over the pineapple in the gratin dish.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar evenly over all.
- Place on a middle rack in the oven (10-12 inches from the broiler) with the heat set to broil; shut the oven door, and let the gratin cook until the brown sugar is dissolved and the topping is bubbly, 6-10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: For individual servings, you may divide the mixtures among 6 small ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and proceed as in the recipe above.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 332 Calories from Fat 183
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 55% Protein 3% Carb. 36%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 20 g
Saturated Fat 10 g
Cholesterol 48 mg
Sodium 88 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 2 g
Vitamin A 12% Vitamin C 28% Calcium 0% Iron 5%