Last week on sale at a grocery store, I bought three one-pound bowls of fresh fruit, one of which was pineapple. I ate the melons from two bowls and decided to roast and caramelize the pineapple chunks, some of which were used in a Moroccan-spiced couscous, steamed broccoli, caramelized red bell, onion and pine nut salad with spicy peanut dressing. Doesn’t it look tasty?
I saved half to try an experiment based on the memory of pineapple and orange juice, which I loved in my youth but haven’t had for years. Bless her again: I used my late Aunt Dorothy’s recipe for whole wheat banana bread* as a template and the result was the most delicious, tender, fragrant quick bread I’ve ever made and a big hit with everyone who got a slice, starting with my Chinese lady friends at Sunday mahjongg.
My original recipe: Pineapple Orange Bread
NO MIXER NEEDED. USE WHISK AND WOODEN SPOON
Dry ingredients: smaller bowl: whisk 1 cup each whole wheat and unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teas. baking powder
Wet/other ingredients: bigger bowl: 1/2 cup canola oil, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce, zest of one orange, 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped caramelized pineapple, 1/2 teaspoon pure orange extract and 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Method: 1) Roast fresh pineapple chunks at 400 to 425 degrees for about 30 minutes. First butter your cast iron skillet, pop in the pineapple and sprinkle a couple tablespoons of brown sugar over it, as if you were Bob Ross painting the fruit chunks with small bits of sugar. Attention to detail. Using spatula, stir after 10 minutes, then stir again after another 10 minutes and it should be lovely and golden brown at the end of 30 minutes. It needs to cool before use and chopped in small pieces for the bread. Turn off the oven as it will be too hot for the bake. You’ll want it to cool down!
2) Zest and juice the orange while you’re waiting for the pineapple to roast. 3) Lightly butter and put parchment in your glass breadpan. I run the parch right up the long ends so it’s easy to lift the bread out of the pan and onto the cooling rack after it’s been out of the oven for 15 minutes.
4) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Proceed: 5) Whisk oil and egg into a lovely emulsion, then add the brown sugar til it’s caramel-y. Whisk in the applesauce, pineapple, orange zest and orange extract. 6) Alternate the dry ingredients with the orange juice, beginning and ending with the dry. 7) Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread evenly.
Bake for ABOUT 60 minutes, testing with a bamboo skewer in the middle until it comes out clean. (My oven is temperature persnickety and sometimes finishes breads in an hour and sometimes it’s less or more. I start testing at 50 minutes after having turned the pan back to front 30 minutes after I put it in the oven. Aunt Dorothy’s recipes calls for 1 hour, 10 minutes bake time. Some ovens take that long.)
I won a blue ribbon for an orange coconut quick bread at the State Fair in Puyallup when I was 11 or 12, in a 4-H club run by Mrs. Hammer. (Yep, I’m an award-winning baker thanks to late grandmother and the fun of entering baking contests.) This new bread is better than the orange coconut and that’s why I’m sharing the recipe for those who also like the taste of pineapple-orange.