The Thrifted Kitchen :: Pineapple, Two Ways
As usually happens when we near the end of our co-op produce supply, last week I opened my refrigerator to be greeted by a bunch of fruit. Most noticeable was a very ripe pineapple, with its crazy, spiky hairdo just tilting away on the bottom shelf. Most normal people just dice it up and eat bits here and there for a snack, but this lass can't handle more than one bite. I don't know what happened to my taste buds, if they were betrayed by some rotten fruit or something as a youngin', but I'm just not drawn to it — unless it's covered in some combination of flour, sugar, butter and eggs.
Lucky for me, I had a fresh stock of old cookbooks just waiting to be opened, so I scoured the index of each one to see what they offered in terms of pineapple recipes, and I landed on two: a classic pineapple upside-down cake from the 1950 edition of the Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book, and pineapple drop cookies from the dessert book of the Favorite Recipes from Southern Kitchens series. This one had no copyright date, but I'm gauging it was published sometime in the late 1950s.
But back to the grind...
The former called for pineapple slices, and the latter some crushed pineapple, so I recruited the hubs's knife skills to procure just that (although the "crushed" was more of a puree of sorts...). Once that was finished, I started working on the cake, the first step of which is melting the butter and brown sugar in the bottom of the dish in which you bake it. Ideally, this would be a heavy cast iron skillet, but ours was still sitting in the ol' Weber outside because someone forgot to bring it in after his last grill of the season.
So I went to my stack of round cake pans, certain I had ones that were 10-inch, but apparently I only have 8-inch. I didn't even have a square pan that was the right size. So I went with the too-small round ones, expecting the cake to turn out way too thick (I've never had this cake before, so I had no idea what to expect), but it turned out rather thin. The hubs claims that's how it's suppose to be, but I'm skeptical, especially considering how much thinner it would be if I did have the right size pan. Who wants to set the record straight?
As for the cookies, the first batch was a bit of a surprise because I didn't realize they would spread so much. So make sure you give them a good couple inches between each other on the baking sheet. They turn out a little crispy, which I'm not a huge fan of, so I store mine in some Tupperware with wax paper to keep them soft. As for the taste, the hubs compared it to the cake part of a Twinkie, which...I guess.....is......good?
They do have a very light, subtle flavor, and in the time since I took the photos I've drenched them in a sugar glaze — which, let's face it, can't ever hurt. But you are the master of your own cookie fate, so do as you see fit. :)
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
"A handsome dessert to serve at table." :)
Courtesy of the Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book, 1950
Yields one 10-inch cake
First, prepare the pan:
Melt 1/3 cup butter in heavy 10-inch skillet or baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar evenly over butter. Arranged drained cooked fruit in attractive pattern (their words, not mine), on the butter-sugar coating.
Make the cake batter (see recipe below) and pour it over fruit. Bake at 350 degrees until wooden pick thrust into center of cake comes out clean (about 45 minutes). Immediately turn upside-down on serving plate. Do not remove pan for a few minutes or brown sugar will run down over cake instead of clinging to pan. Serve warm with plain or whipped cream.
Beat until thick and lemon-colored (5 minutes)
Gradually beat in ...
2/3 cup sugar
Beat in all at once ...
6 tablespoons juice from fruit (we used the pineapple puree instead, about 4-5 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sift together and beat in all at once ...
1 cup sifted flour or cake flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pineapple Drop Cookies
Courtesy of Favorite Recipes from Southern Kitchens (Desserts)
Recipe by Mrs. Cecil G. Smith of McEwen, Tenn.
Yields about 3 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening (I used a half cup of shortening and a half cup of butter)
9 ounces undrained crushed pineapple
3 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Cream sugar and shortening; add pineapple and mix well. Add egg and mix. Sift flour with soda, salt and nutmeg; add to mixture, mixing well. Fold in nuts. Chill dough for 2 hours. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until light brown (for me this was about 12 minutes).