Monday, 15 August 2011

The Stomach friendly Pineapple

While holidaying in Fiji recently, we feasted daily on the most divine crop of pineapples. The fruit virtually melted in your mouth including that hard bit in the centre, the core. Christopher Columbus is credited with introducing the fruit to Spain from the Antilean island of Guadeloupe (the Indies) during the 15th century.
Unlike other fruits such as bananas and peaches, pineapples do not ripen after picking hence to gain the full nutritional benefits allow it to ripen on the plant. Choose the fruit carefully when buying. It should have an intense pineapple smell about it, the fruit should be soft enough to finger pressure and in addition, the leaves can be easily picked off the plant suggesting that this one is a RIPE one.  The sugar content of pineapples  increases during the final weeks of ripening and will not increase if left standing on your kitchen bench despite the fruit turning yellow over the next few days.

The main vitamins in pineapples include C, B1 and B6. It also has a high content of folates and is one of the richest sources of Manganese. The latter is a trace element important in reproduction, in the formation of sperm and ova hence pineapples should be recommended in infertility situations.  

Pineapples are stomach friendly because they inhibit the formation of nitrosamines which are powerful cancer producing chemicals (carcinogens): Carcinogenesis, 13: 2277-2280 (1992). While the effect is also seen with Vitamin C, pineapples appear to be much more effective.  Pineapples are also said to decrease appetite and may play a role in Obesity.  Hope you enjoy the pineapple tart. 

Pineapple Tart

Preheat oven at 180 degrees celsius

Equipment needed
Mixing bowl
Rolling pin
Food processor
Medium/Large saucepan 
20 to 23cm two piece tart pan with removable bottom

Short crust pastry
2 cups sifted unbleached plain flour
2 teaspoons healthy baking powder
155g cold butter substitute
1 1/2 tablespoons rapadura sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup cold water approx. 

Place sifted flours with baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Add butter substitute to flour, use your finger tips and rub butter and flour together until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add sugar and mix gently. Slowly add cold water using a folk to bring mixture together. Use your hands to form a dough do not knead as this toughens pastry. Place in plastic wrap and let rest in fridge 20 minutes, this helps prevent pastry shrinking while cooking.

Remove pastry from fridge. Place dough on lightly floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin. Once pastry is rolled out, wrap it around the rolling pin and transfer to the tart mould. Press pastry into lightly greased mold prick with a fork around edges and base of tart to help prevent air bubbles forming when it bakes.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and cool. 

Tart Filling 
1 fresh medium to large pineapple
1/4 cup rapadura sugar or xylitol (sugar substitute)
2 heaped teaspoons cornflour
cold water
Peel and dice pineapple. Place in a food processor and blend until fruit becomes mushy. Put fruit and sugar in a saucepan, place over medium heat until it begins to boil. Place lid on saucepan, lower heat to a simmer and allow fruit to cook, about 5 minutes. Mix cornflour with enough water to make a thin paste, slowly stir into pineapple mixture until it thickens. Pour into pre-baked pastry shell. 

Before serving you may need a knife to gently separate the edges of the tart from the pan before removing the rim. Place tart on a serving plate and serve with your favourite cream, non-dairy of course. Enjoy.

Posted by Yiannoulla Burness

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