Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dried Pineapple

Want a painstakingly timely garnish that is both tasty and fun??

I can never resist a challenge...  I found a link (in Chinese) to make pineapple flowers.  Now, with a new search, I find a Martha Stewart link, so that's probably the best one to connect with.

First of all, on a random side note, do you know how to pick a ripe pineapple?

My mother has this magical combination in her mind that consists of color, smell, and weight.
 Since I have no idea what works in my mother's head, here's my trick:

Hold on to the pineapple.

Pull a leaf.

If you can remove it (with only a little resistance), it's ripe.

If you have to use effort, or grunt while pulling it, leave it be...it's not ready!
 Now, unless you plan on eating your dried pineapple flowers, they don't have to be ripe for this project.

However, I thought it'd be nice so I could eat any cut offs and cast asides.

Plus, who doesn't love a great pineapple?!
The first thing you need to do is cut away the skin of the pineapple.

To remove those brown spots and seeds, you can just dig them out with the end of a veggie peeler, or a knife.

Or you can just keep cutting, like I did.

Be lazy.  Embrace it!
The next part was the hardest for me.

Thinly slice the pineapple into even slices.  You should be able to see through the pineapple slice, or at least it should be a little translucent.

I'm not so great at that.  If I had a steadier hand, or maybe even an electric knife, I could have gotten there.

Didn't bother me, though.
 Thicker slices just make the next part longer.

Lay out parchment paper on two cookie sheets.

Then, spread out your pineapple slices and put them into the oven, preheated to 225 degrees.

Every 35-45 minutes, you'll need to turn over the pineapple.

Thin slices may only need to be turned once.
 My hefty slices, however, went in for four sessions of 40 minutes a piece.

I wait until they have a nice golden hue to the edges, and they had that almost rubbery consistency of dried fruit.

If they still looked juicy, I just kept turning them and putting them back in.
 The cool part is that the center of the pineapple rises throughout the cooking process, and little "splinters" come up out of the core, making it look like pollen in the center of an actual flower.

From here, you have two options.

You can leave them in muffin pans to help them curl up, or you can throw those muffin pans back into the oven for one final curing session.
 I chose option two.

I really wanted a color that was more orange.  I wasn't concerned about anyone eating the garnish, so if it was overly "done," that didn't bother me too much.  I was in it for the color.
 When they finally achieved this color, I removed them and let them cool.

I then stacked them in a quart sized zip lock bag and left them in the fridge for two days until I needed them.

Not a terribly tricky process, just one that took a few hours longer than I had originally anticipated.  If only I could slice them all thinly and evenly!

Oh, and one lady did eat the garnish.  Multiple times.   So it must have still been good!

One of my flowers, on top of a sliced brie wheel.

Two more, on the edge of another appetizer platter

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