I’m not sure why we don’t eat more pineapple…perhaps it’s years of being forced fed those God-awful jello-molds with chopped canned fruit. Perhaps it’s my dad’s obsession with the damn things, perhaps it’s that I was unfortunate enough to see “Little Nicky” where Satan crams pineapples up Hitler’s can every day at 5 o’clock. I’m really not sure. However, I will always feel a certain nostalgia when presented with a pineapple upside-down cake. One of my late Papaw White’s favorites.
I was wondering through the BILE-LOW on the way home from work and caught the fragrance of some unusually ripe pineapple and thought to myself, what the hell. I got home, gathered up the girls and started slicing the thing, thinking they’d go crazy. Of course, they wouldn’t even try it (because that’s what I wanted them to do. They learn early). So I rationed they will always try something if you call it CAKE. MMMMMMMM! CAAAAAAAAAAKEEE!
You may recall the gooey, canned pineapple with the bright red Marichino cherries. Decently good, but not quite blog worthy stuff. I thought something more sophistocated was in store, so I turned to my good friend Thomas Keller and his “Ad Hoc” cookbook.
Recipe was easy enough, actually easier than the traditional recipes. Instead of cooking sugar into a caramel, you make a schmear out of butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and rum and “schemer” into the bottom of the pan. Next you layer with fresh pineapple, then top with the cake batter.
Start to finish totals about 1 hour. Not bad for a dessert. I’m not sure if I used enough schmear as the cake didn’t turn out as I expected. It was sugary and gooey on top, the pineapple was tender but not mushy, the cake was moist, but a bit dry…maybe too dry for a real upside-down cake. Maybe it’s the Southerner in me, but this one would be better as an afternoon snack with coffee rather than a true Southern dessert. Or maybe I just miss my “Papaw.”