Tag Archives: pineapple

Pineapple Sweet Rolls

Pineapple Sweet RollsYou won’t believe the intense pineapple flavor of these Pineapple Sweet Rolls! Or maybe you will—I mean, they have four doses of the stuff.

These are for serious pineapple lovers only. I absolutely count myself as one and yet, somehow, these rolls were something I didn’t know I wanted.Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsBut then a grocery store display of King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls caught my eye and I had a craving for pineapple sweet bread. Instead of purchasing a package of rolls though, my “baker brain” took over and I went home to make a buttery, sweet pastry dough with pineapple juice.Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsThat went so well that I wrapped it around a layer of soft crushed pineapple filling…Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet Rollssliced it into rolls and let them rise…Pineapple Sweet Rollsbefore baking them until golden.Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsThen I topped them with a simple pineapple icing…Pineapple Sweet Rollsand sprinkled them with sparkly, sugar-coated dried pineapple.Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsAnd then I had the gall to put them on the internet in the middle of a work day so you’d have a craving, too.Pineapple Sweet RollsSorry, not sorry.Pineapple Sweet Rolls

Pineapple Sweet Rolls
makes 12 rolls

16 ounces canned crushed pineapple in juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 3/4-2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/3 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (reserved from making filling)
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature

2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4-5 tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice (reserved from making filling)

Sparkling Pineapple Garnish:
1/3 cup chopped unsweetened dried pineapple (about 1 ounce)
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (I use turbinado)

Make the filling. Set a sieve over a mixing bowl. Pour canned crushed pineapple into the sieve and use a spoon to press out excess juice. Set juice aside.

Combine pineapple, sugar, ginger, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until juices are clear and mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until cold (about 1 hour). Filling may be made up to a day in advance.

Make the dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until they reach 115F and are hot to the touch. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients, followed by pineapple juice and beaten eggs. Stir in remaining flour in 2 tablespoon installments, just until a smooth, soft dough forms. Dough is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Knead dough on a floured surface for 5-6 minutes. Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 8×14-inch rectangle. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Use an offset knife or spoon to spread filling mixture over the dough, using a 1/2-inch perimeter on all sides. Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes, tenting the pan with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Let rolls cool for 10 minutes while you make the icing and garnish. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar, salt, vanilla, and 4 tablespoons of pineapple juice. Mixture should be very thick, but pourable. Add more pineapple juice by the teaspoon, up to 3 teaspoons (aka 1 tablespoon) until desired texture is achieved.

For the garnish, toss chopped dried pineapple with coarse sugar until well-combined and sparkly.

Pour/spread icing over warm rolls. Top with garnish. Serve immediately. Leftover rolls will keep for about a day, covered at room temperature. Icing will sink in over time.
Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet Rolls


Coconut Pineapple Cake

Coconut Pineapple CakeAbout two years ago, an acquaintance called and asked me to make a Coconut Pineapple Cake for his birthday party.Coconut Pineapple Cake
In retrospect, I should have asked more questions. In our brief phone call, there was no mention of whether it should be layered or in a bundt or flipped upside down, just that it should be full of tropical flavor and generally resemble a cake.Coconut Pineapple Cake
Instead of doing the logical thing and calling to clarify, I just tried to channel my grandmother and go with my gut.Coconut Pineapple CakeCoconut Pineapple Cake
My gut said to flavor my favorite vanilla cake with coconut, layer it with pineapple filling, coat it in coconut buttercream, and decorate the crap out of it with sweetened flaked coconut. And so I did.Coconut Pineapple Cake
To this day, I have no idea if this is what my acquaintance had in mind when he made his initial order. Not a clue.Coconut Pineapple Cake
What I do know, though, is that he loved it.Coconut Pineapple Cake
I can say that with confidence because he has consistently ordered a Coconut Pineapple Cake every two months since, just because he has a craving.Coconut Pineapple Cake
That may sound a little ridiculous—ordering a whole layer cake for yourself just to fulfill a craving—but if you try this cake, it might suddenly seem very logical.Coconut Pineapple Cake

Coconut Pineapple Cake
makes 1 9-inch round layer cake

Cake Batter:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut extract
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

Pineapple Filling:
16 ounces canned crushed pineapple in juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Cake layers and pineapple filling may be made up to a day in advance.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla and coconut extracts. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk in two alternating installments, combining completely after each addition.

Divide batter among prepared pans. Tap pans on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake cakes 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cake layers cool in the pans for fifteen minutes before inverting onto a rack to cool completely.

Make pineapple filling. Combine crushed pineapple in juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until juices are clear and mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let cool to room temperature, or place in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Slice each cake layer in half equatorially (this is called torteing). Place one half-layer on a serving plate and top with about 2/3 cup of pineapple filling. Repeat layering until you have 4 thin layers of cake and 3 layers of pineapple filling. Tent cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Mix in confectioner’s sugar and salt, followed by vanilla and coconut extracts. Add heavy cream and beat frosting for one minute, or until fluffy. Use an offset knife to frost cake. Press sweetened flaked coconut onto the frosted surface of the cake.

Serve immediately. Leftover cake will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Coconut Pineapple Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down CakeThere’s just something about Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.Pineapple Upside-Down CakeI don’t know if it’s the buttery cake or the mosaic of canned fruit that I would otherwise never eat or the way the brown sugar glaze caramelizes perfectly during the 50 minute bake time.Pineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakePerhaps it’s the way that it somehow straddles the line between Everyday Cake and Celebration Cake.Pineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakeOr that it doesn’t need to cool much after baking and doesn’t need any sort of adornment to make it complete. A scoop of ice cream doesn’t hurt though.Pineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakeMaybe it’s that making one of these beauties lets me channel the TV ghost of June Cleaver. The undeniable retro-ness of this cake nearly has me reaching for my string of pearls.Pineapple Upside-Down Cake(That’s really something, considering that this blog could easily be sponsored by Lululemon, Birkenstock, and ten year old college t-shirts.)Pineapple Upside-Down CakeYep, if I were a cake, this would be the one.Pineapple Upside-Down CakeWhy all this Pineapple Upside-Down Cake love? Well, all the things listed above and because today is National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day. Yes, that’s a thing now. As far as I’m concerned, it’s as good a reason as any to stash a homemade cake in your fridge and snack on it all weekend.Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

1 20-ounce can pineapple slices in juice
1 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
1/2 cup pineapple juice (reserved from topping)
1/2 cup milk (not skim or fat free), room temperature

For serving:
vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a deep 9-inch round cake pan (or a springform). Set aside.

Make the topping. Open the can of pineapple rings and drain the juice into a small bowl. Drain maraschino cherries (or just fish them out of the jar).

In a small saucepan, combine butter and light brown sugar. Place over medium-low heat and stir constantly until butter and sugar are melted, 3-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Transfer mixture into prepared pan, using a silicone spatula to spread it over the entire bottom of the pan. Top the brown sugar mixture with a single layer or pineapple and cherries. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in granulated and light brown sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. Combine pineapple juice, milk, vanilla and almond extracts (if using) in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low, alternate adding dry ingredients and the pineapple juice mixture in two installments. Mix just until combined.

Pour batter over pineapple and cherry layer, and spread with a silicone spatula to even out the top. Tap pan on the counter two or three times to release any large air bubbles. Depending on the depth of your pan, you may want to place it on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any light overflow of caramel.

Bake cake 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Tent loosely with a layer of foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan a couple of times before inverting onto a cake stand or large serving plate. If any fruit sticks to the pan, just nudge it back onto the cake with your fingers.

Serve cake warm, room temperature, or cold, with ice cream, if desired.

Cake is best the day it’s baked, but will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Bars

Pineapple BarsThis has been the best summer I’ve had in years. I turned 31, spent a week on a sparsely-populated island off the coast of Maine with close friends (is it too early to start planning next year’s trip?), ended a four year stint as a nanny, and got to help my sister move much closer to me. I’m not ready for this incredible season to end. When I was having a rough time earlier this year, a wise friend of mine said “Remember, summer is coming. Magic happens in the summer.” I’m not sure that this is exactly what he meant, but for me, this summer has indeed been magical. Thank goodness there are technically three weeks left.

But it’s September, and that means fall is coming and bringing pumpkin everything with it. Pumpkin is already all over my social media, on the blogs I read, and popping up at coffee shops in my neighborhood. It seems everyone in America is ready for everything they eat and drink to be burnt orange and cinnamon-scented. Except for me, apparently.

Pineapple BarsDon’t get me wrong, I am all about pumpkin, but I’m not exactly craving all the flavors of fall right this minute. It’s 80 degrees out. All of my sweaters are in a box under my bed. I don’t need a scarf or a pair of boots, nor do I want any warm beverages. Not yet. I’m still firmly in summer-mode…at least for another week or so.

So today, I’m leaving my cans of pumpkin in the cabinet and enjoying the unofficial last weekend of summer with these Pineapple Bars: a dreamy pineapple filling baked over a shortbread crust, sliced into bars and dusted with confectioner’s sugar!

Pineapple BarsThis recipe is a tropical adaptation of the Lemon Bars I posted while on vacation a few weeks ago. Instead of the usual citrus, they’re made with unsweetened pineapple juice and crushed pineapple. These bars quicker to make than those that inspired them. Once the four-ingredient shortbread crust goes into the oven to set, the filling comes together in just a few minutes. Where Lemon Bars (and citrus desserts in general) involve lots of tedious zesting and juicing, the filling for these Pineapple Bars just involves whisking ingredients together. Pour the filling over the crust and bake it for 40 minutes, until it’s no longer jiggly. Then pop them into the fridge for a few hours before slicing them up. All that’s left to do is sift some confectioner’s sugar over the tops!

Pineapple Bars are cold, sweet, and tangy–the perfect treat to salute the end of this fantastic summer! Make a batch this Labor Day weekend.

Pineapple BarsAre you ready for fall?

Pineapple Bars
makes one 8-inch pan, about 16 bars

Shortbread Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cubed

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons half-and-half (or heavy cream)
1/2 cup no-sugar-added pineapple juice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained

For Topping:
1/4-1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving overhang at the edges. Grease foil with butter. Set aside.

Make the shortbread crust. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Mixture will be very dry and crumbly. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and use clean fingertips to press it into one even layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack while you prepare the filling.

Place sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in eggs and egg yolk one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. Whisk in melted butter, followed by half-and-half (or heavy cream), pineapple juice, and vanilla. Mix in all-purpose flour and salt, followed by crushed pineapple. Mixture will be thin. Pour filling over the shortbread crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes, tenting with foil at the 10 minute mark. Let cool completely on a rack before chilling for at least four hours.

Set a cooling rack over a piece of wax paper. Use the foil overhang to remove bars from the pan to a cutting board. Peel foil from the edges. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice bars. Set bars on prepared rack. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the tops of the bars.

Serve bars immediately or refrigerate for up to three days.

Pineapple Salsa Fresca

Nine years ago today, I moved to New York. I was 22 years old, fresh out of college, and convinced that as soon as I got to my first Manhattan apartment, my life would really begin. I was starting film school, and my biggest dream was to be the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director. Clearly, that did not happen (shout out to Kathryn Bigelow!), but a lot of other things did.

I’m pretty sure New York City is the only place in the world where people celebrate the anniversary of their moving date. It’s hard to live anywhere, but New York is a special case. The crowds, the noise, the cost of living, the constant need to compete professionally–nothing is easy here. In the last nine years, I have:

  • lived in eight apartments.
  • moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Then back to Manhattan. Then back to Brooklyn.
  • had twelve jobs in five different fields.
  • realized that I enjoy cooking far more than I ever enjoyed film production.
  • learned to bake in the tiniest kitchen ever.
  • abandoned my filmmaking dreams in the name of butter and sugar.
  • met some of the most incredible people on earth.
  • fallen in love. And fallen out of love.
  • had really high highs and horrifically low lows.
  • survived.

 The life I have is not what I envisioned nine years ago (or anything close to it), but today, I am living the life I want. I live in a beautiful apartment in a safe neighborhood with good people. I work as a personal chef for a very nice family. I have an unbelievable support system, without whom I’m not sure I would have accomplished anything. I have a lot of goodness, generosity, spontaneity, and love in my life. Every once in a while, I dream of moving somewhere else–Austin, Chicago, Maine–but then I realize that moving would mean leaving everything I’ve accomplished in New York, all the people I’ve met, and all of the opportunities I might have here in the future. And so, I stay. New York, I’m not done with you yet.

But as they say, “You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the girl.” As much as I couldn’t wait to move out of Fort Worth nine years ago, growing up in Texas has molded my identity in ways I will never be able to shake. My whole family lives there (until E3 moves to Boston next week!), as do most of my closest friends, so as much as I love New York, a lot of my heart is in the Lone Star State.

Another thing I’ll never be able to shake? My deep, abiding love of Tex-Mex. It’s one thing New York can’t ever seem to do right–I get my fix by making homemade versions of my favorite dishes. My recipe index already has my red and green salsas and my favorite guacamole, in addition to a fantastic posole and an easy southwestern chicken soup. I have big plans to put a couple of enchilada recipes on here when the weather cools down a little, but it’s hot today, so I’m keeping it simple with this Pineapple Salsa Fresca.

   This recipe is a sweeter, tangier twist on traditional pico de gallo. Fresh pineapple is used instead of tomatoes! Combined with red onion, a serrano pepper, a little garlic, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt, it’s a match made in heaven! Everything comes together on the cutting board in about ten minutes–no need for a food processor. Let it sit at room temperature for an hour to let the flavors meld a bit, and then dig in with your favorite tortilla chips!

Pineapple Salsa Fresca is a magical combination of flavors: sweet, tangy, spicy, and a little salty. The chunky, slightly crunchy texture is perfect with crispy tortilla chips! This salsa would also be great with grilled fish or shrimp. Oooh! Or pork tacos!

Yes. Even after nine years in New York, I’m definitely still Texan at heart.

 Pineapple Salsa Fresca
makes about 3 cups

3 cups fresh pineapple (about 1 pound), 1/2-inch dice
1/2 small red onion, 1/4-inch dice
1/2-1 serrano pepper,* minced, seeded (optional)
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
juice of one lime
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
tortilla chips, for serving

Combine pineapple, onion, serrano, garlic, cilantro, lime, and salt in a medium-large mixing bowl. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to toss all ingredients together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let salsa sit at room temperature for one hour so the flavors can meld. Serve with tortilla chips.

Leftover salsa will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to two days.


Jalapeño may be used instead of serrano pepper. You may want two jalapeños, depending on your spice preferences.

Pineapple Salsa Fresca