Pineapples are a New World fruit. Columbus brought some samples back to Europe in 1493, giving Europeans their first taste of the fruit. Despite its long history, the pineapple is still thought of as being an exotic fruit. Used extensively in Asia for savoury specialities as well as simple dishes, its tart taste is always welcome as a refreshing end to any meal.
When pineapples are cooked briefly, their tartness is mellowed and the texture softens. They are transformed into a luscious cooked fruit. For a lighter dessert, omit the ice-cream or clotted cream.
Peel the pineapple and cut it into thick pieces, discarding the tough core. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways.
In a large, non-reactive wok, combine the vanilla pod, water and sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the pineapple and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve warm with either ice-cream or clotted cream.
© 1996 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.