When selecting a fresh pineapple, the best tool is your nose. If the pineapple smells like pineapple it's ripe. Remember though, cold mutes scent so if you're choosing a pineapple from a refrigerated case it may be more difficult to tell. Other clues in ripeness are fresh-looking, deep green leaves and brightly colored skin. In addition, your pineapple should feel plump and heavy for its size and should give slightly when you squeeze it.
Makes 2 to 4 desserts
2 Tbsp butter
4 1/2" thick slices of fresh pineapple
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground allspice
a pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup coconut or spiced rum
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
4 Tbps chopped macadamia nuts
4 slices of pound cake (optional, see note)
Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add pineapple slices and cook for 5 minutes. When the pineapple has started to soften and begun to brown, turn over the slices and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar, allspice and cloves. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pineapple to serving plates.
Stir in the rum. (If you are using a gas stove, move pan off heat to add the rum so it doesn't flare up before you are ready.) Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum using a long lighter or the flame from the gas burner. Be careful because the flame will shoot above the rim of the pan. When the flames subside, spoon the warm sauce over the pineapple. (If the sauce seems too thin, cook for another couple minutes until it is syrupy in consistency.) Top each pineapple slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and chopped macadamia nut. Serve immediately.
Note: A friend of mine said she'd like a way to sop up all the delicious rum sauce. If you are so inclined, serve some sliced pound cake on the side for the extra rum sauce.