June 12, 2011 § Leave a comment
So candying a large fruit whole involves exactly the same steps as candying small, soft fruit, just (lots) more time. Prepare the fruit, boil it, make the syrup, douse with increasingly-sweet syrup daily for three weeks, then every second day for ten days, then dry it, covered for… as long as it takes. I cheated a little and let her spend an hour in a warm-ish (120 F or so) oven because our summers are humid and I hate fruit flies. Also, I’m waging war on the ants and don’t want the ant equivalent of El Dorado drying on my counter. Also, I need the counter space back.
Note the sugar crystallization on the leaves; I’m especially proud of that.
May 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
May 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
May 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
I started with a whole, enormous and not-very-sweet-looking fruit:
Trimmed off its skin and scales, as prettily as I could:
… which turned out not to be very prettily. I mean, I’m aiming for something along these lines:
So, I’ll maybe see if I can whittle it into a more pleasing form at some point. Anyway! Onwards!
Given this specimen’s heft, I needed to trim a bit off its headdress, too, in order to wedge into my largest pot and bowl. But even that was too tall, so:
I also removed a couple of inches from the core on both ends, and pierced the remaining core twice with a long bamboo skewer.
Then, into the pot. I simmered the whole package in water just to cover for 10 minutes, flipping halfway. I’ve had some trouble in the past following this direction with other fruits that completely disintegrated during a very gentle simmer, so I was probably too cautious here, as the pineapple is a relatively sturdy fruit.
But it’s going to be soaked in hot syrup daily for two weeks, and I err on the casual side when it comes to food safety anyway. Total risktaker. Indeed, the pineapple should technically be fully submerged in the syrup, but I don’t have a vessel up to the task. So I flip it whenever I think of it. No mold so far.
Anyway, then I measured out seven cups of cooking liquid and brought that to the boil with two cups of sugar. I didn’t take a photo. It looked like slightly yellow water in a pot. Use your imagination.
Then, I poured the sugar-syrup over the pineapple, resting serenely in this bowl.
Note how unattractively olive-colored the leaves have become. Sadness.
Now I add a further quarter cup of sugar to the syrup and bring it to the boil every day for a week or so, before moving on to the next step. We’re now on Day Three. I shall update later with a new photo.
May 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
Since this post we’ve had a few good days. We visited a Lebanese restaurant, borrowed a baby for the day, looked at lots of photos of her parents’ tiny native village in Lebanon, and, on Friday, we made spinach fatayer.
The crust wasn’t much good (too crunchy, not pillowy), but the filling was good. I also made a couple of feta fatayer which I thought turned out perfectly. A little sumac made all the difference.
Next up: borrowing the baby again and heading up Citadel Hill. If my calculations are correct, four of us can get into the park for $20 during the month of May. Fingers crossed for decent weather.
May 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
To celebrate Jane Brocket putting her yarnstorm archives back online, and my purchase of her first book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity (on super-discount, yay), I shall attempt to candy a whole pineapple, as glowingly pictured in this post. After my success with kumquats the Christmas before last, I’ve been looking forward to something more ambitious. We’ll see how it goes.
Now that I’ve finally been able to look at the picture again, though, I’m having some doubts. The leaves are candied, too! It looks as though it may be one of those pudgy baby pineapples not the giant specimen Richard just brought home from Costco, impeccably fresh though it may be. Nevertheless, I shall make the attempt. With pineapples at these bargain prices ($2.99, down from $6.99 in 2006), Ireally can’t go wrong. Though I suspect I’ll always prefer a fresh pineapple to any cooked preparation, Horace Slughorn ruminations aside.
May 12, 2011 § Leave a comment
The secret to a good crisp topping: use enough butter that when you squeeze the mixture, it forms a clump. Gently break the clump as you scatter it over your fruit, but leave larger bits throughout.
The secret to a good rhubarb crisp: use ¼ cup or so of ground almonds when you toss the rhubarb with sugar and flour. Don’t be too generous with the sugar. Rhubarb is supposed to be tart.