“Peppercorns add a special tingly heat that brings pineapple to the next level,” says the chef, who will be making this cake at the 2018 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen (June 15-17).
Alex Guarnaschelli’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
½ cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened and divided
1 large pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 7 (¾-in.-thick) rings
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup whole buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1¾ cups granulated sugar, divided
¼ cup cold water
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tsp. pink peppercorns (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter, and cook until melted. Place pineapple in a single layer in skillet; sprinkle with brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until pineapple is slightly brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn slices over; remove from heat.
2. Beat eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and 6 tablespoons butter in a medium-size bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth, 1 minute. With mixer running on low, gradually add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ¾ cup granulated sugar, and beat until smooth. (The batter will be fairly stiff.) Pour batter over pineapple, spreading to edges of skillet.
3. Bake in center of oven until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, before inverting cake onto a parchment-paper-lined rimmed baking sheet.
4. Stir together water, lime juice, corn syrup and 1 cup granulated sugar in a medium-size stainless-steel saucepan. Stir in peppercorns, if using, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar mixture just turns light amber in color, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour caramel over warm cake.
Serves: 6 to 8
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes