Friday, 7 May 2010

Nutty Pineapple Dessert with Caramel Crunch

Hi all,

Hope all’s well out there. Here I am sharing with you a decadent dessert, that I recently discovered on Curryinkadai. You can read her story on the divine dessert as she calls it (and I believe it too) and find her version of the dessert there as well. I prepared this few weeks back when I had canned pineapple and condensed milk that has been sitting in my cupboard for some time. I was so in the mood of preparing some desserts and started blog hopping in search of recipes and this was the recipe that really caught my attention. I fell in love with it at first sight and I knew the flavours are gonna be amazing. Gave it ago and it was much more than I expected. I made few changes though because I am not a fan of frozen dessert much.

When I made it, my husband’s eye wide opened out of bliss and asked me what it was! Now, that was the first time that I saw my hubby so happy after tasting a dessert, as he is not a dessert person himself. After he had them, all he said was ‘ Post it in your blog, it will surely be a hit’! I also served my friends who loved it and made it at another place as well because she so loved it too. The dessert is so simple to make, so easy to put together and tastes real good. It is creamy in texture with lovely crunch from the nuts; and praline adds in a little more luxury and an appealing look. Praline is simply optional, but we loved it

If you all know, I have an inborn affection with the orange zest and I can’t tell you the amazing orangey flavour that the dish gets from the zest. It won’t be over powering, but gives it a mild zesty aroma which is so refreshing. I love it like crazy and you can see the use of it in many other dishes like Palmiers, Pineapple soufflĂ©, mango pudding , orange and raisin cookies, orange cake etc. I never let my orange peel go to the bin without scraping the skinoff. I zest it and I freeze it for later use. For zesting the orange, wash the orange thoroughly before cutting it, use the small holes of your box grader that you grate your vegetables, and grate it like you grate any vegetable making sure not much of the bitter pith underneath the skin is being used. Pith is quite bitter and it can make the dish bitter too. Try it once in your dish and you too will get hooked.

Nutty Pineapple Dessert with Caramel Crunch
Serves 6-8

1 x 405g Condensed milk
1 x 432g can of Chopped Pineapple in its own juice  (check notes)
284 mls double cream / whipping cream
¼ cup whole almonds
¼ cup Cashewnuts
¼ cup Pistachios
½ Tbsp gelatine
4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) Fruit juice (You can use orange juice, pineapple juice, or the syrup from the can. I used tropical fruit juice, a shop-bought one)
1 orange’s zest (Outer thin skin)

For praline:
4 Tbsp caster sugar
1/3 cup of chopped nuts
1 tsp butter


1.In a clean bowl, whip cream using an electric blender until it forms stiff peaks.i.e., when you lift the whipping whisk, it should form a peak (Refer to my Queen of pudding recipe to see the peak there.)

2. Chop the nuts in a food processor or using knife or you can place the nuts in freezer bag or any polythene bag and whack it using the rolling pin until you get coarsely chopped nuts. Reserve 1/3 cup of chopped nuts aside for making praline.

3. Chop pineapple into very fine pieces. Don’t puree, you need little bits of pineapple in the dessert.

4. Take ¼ cup of fruit juice in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatine and mix it with spoon. Place this bowl over simmering water and stir well and cook till all gelatine granules dissolves and you get a clear liquid. DON’T BOIL the gelatine mixture as this will destroy the gelatine’s setting property. You can also heat the gelatine mixture in microwave, if you can do it carefully without boiling and stirring often to avoid lumps. Let it cool.

5. After everything is prepared, combine all the ingredients. i.e. pour the condensed milk over the whipped cream and mix well using a wire whisk. Add the chopped nuts and chopped pineapple and the melted gelatine mixture. Mix well using a metal spoon to combine all. Pour on individual serving bowls and chill for minimum of 4 hours or until set. Serve by sprinkling the praline over.

6. For the crunchy praline: Place a pan on moderate heat and add sugar and butter. You will be tempted to stir, but DON’T. Let the sugar cook until it turns in to amber colour, or honey colour. You have to be quick here because if the caramel goes really dark, it will get bitter. So make sure you don’t burn it. When you get the required colour, add nuts and mix well. Pour this on an oiled aluminium foil, spread it and let it dry. Once dry, break them into pieces, put it in a Ziploc bag, and whack it with a rolling pin until you get chunky bits of nuts as you see in the picture or even smaller.

If you are using fresh pineapple, make sure you cook the pineapple with few tablespoons of sugar for 7-10 minutes or till the pineapple is lightly cooked. If you use the fresh pineapple in the dessert it will impart a bitter taste.
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