Most fruit desserts need the support of a crust or crumble topping, cream fillings or even chocolate to achieve star status. Not this one.
Pineapple carpaccio is a stand out for its elegance and simplicity. No two ways about it, it is a classy finish to a meal. That was certainly the case when Pineapple Carpaccio in Caramel Sauce capped a perfect dinner at Rome’s famed restaurant Pierluigi. It gets bonus points for being pretty easy to make at home.
The trick is to slice the pineapple so thinly that it drapes over a fork as gently as beef carpaccio does. Theoretically this could be done with the proper knife and expertise. In reality, a mandolin is the way to go.
With slices this thin, a little goes a long way. This recipes officially makes 8 servings, but for a party or on a buffet it can serve many more.
Recipe serves 8
1 ripe pineapple
1 cup sugar
1 – 2 tablespoons brandy or fruit liqueur, such as Chambord or Cointreau
1. Cut the top and bottom off the pineapple. Stand it up on a cutting board and trim off the skin, leaving a nice round column. Cut in half across the middle; the two smaller pieces will be easier to work with on the mandolin.
2. Set up your mandolin. Determine the thinnest setting you can use with the slices still holding together. On my OXO mandolin I used the second from thinnest notch.
3. Slice the pineapple into thin, neat slices. Fan out onto a very large serving platter (there will be a lot of slices) or onto plates for individual servings. Sprinkle evenly with drops of brandy or liqueur.
4. Make the caramel sauce. (Note: never walk away when making caramel, sugar burns very quickly.) Place the sugar in large, heavy saucepan, spread in an even layer. Place pan over medium heat, and keep an eye on it as it melts. The edges of the sugar will turn to liquid first. As the liquid starts to brown, use a wooden spoon to push the unmelted sugar to the center of the pot. Keep a close eye on things, once the caramel starts to color it goes from amber to brown very quickly. Drizzle the hot caramel over the pineapple slices. The caramel will firm up right away.
5. Once the caramel has cooled, cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for an hour or two. Most of the caramel will have melted into the fruit making a sweet sauce. There should be slivers and chips of caramel dotting the top of the slices. Serve cold.