RECIPE: Fresh pineapple with warm spice-infused honey
By Ellie Krieger
My fruit-as-dessert "aha!" moment took place in Greece. Years ago, at a modest, family-owned taverna, I was served a complimentary after-dinner treat of thinly sliced apples sprinkled with ground cinnamon.
A nice gesture of hospitality, the dish was not something I expected to wow me. But what hit me in that moment, and has stuck with me to this day, is how appealing and utterly sweet-tooth-satisfying it was, so much more than the fruit eaten out of hand had ever managed to be.
The simple steps of slicing the apple, fanning it out on the plate, and treating it to a sprinkle of warm, fragrant spice transformed the fruit to dessert.
I've been reliving the moment at home regularly ever since, varying the fruit as well as the herbs and spices. This version takes the idea in a tropical direction, using tangy, fresh pineapple. The pineapple is thinly sliced, then drizzled with warm honey infused with Caribbean flavours - lime, thyme and allspice. A pinch of chilli adds a teasing tingle, and a sprinkle of salt at the end ties it all together.
1/2 cup mild honey
2 strips lime peel, white pith removed
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 to 4 fresh thyme sprigs, plus 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, for garnish
6 whole allspice berries
4 slices fresh habanero peppers or 6 thin slices jalapeño chilli peppers
One (1,3kg) pineapple
Flaky sea salt
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the honey, lime peel and juice, thyme sprigs, allspice and sliced pepper and, stirring occasionally, bring to a gentle boil.
Remove from the heat and steep for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, discard the seasonings from the honey.
Trim the top and bottom from the pineapple and cut away the peel. Quarter the pineapple lengthwise and remove the core from each quarter.
Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice the pineapple very thinly.
When ready to serve, warm the honey over medium-low heat, if necessary. Evenly divide the sliced pineapple among the serving plates and drizzle each serving with about 1 tablespoon infused honey.
Garnish with 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves and season lightly with salt and serve.