I'm not usually one to buy a whole pineapple — where I live, pineapples are not exactly in season at the moment — but when I was writing The Greyston Bakery Cookbook, I happened to have been pregnant and a craving for tropical fruit must have been coursing through my system.
This is a great sweet treat to take on a picnic, or to eat at home in front of a fan, with your feet up and a tall glass of iced tea, which is how I probably ate them that summer.
Taking their inspiration from pineapple upside-down cakes of our grandmothers' kitchens, this bar gives you all the sweet pineapple flavor you need in just a few bites. With a little careful planning, you can arrange a floral design using the pineapple chunks.
These days you can get pretty decent canned pineapple, so if going that route eases your eating-local guilt, you can swap out the fresh pineapple in the recipe and replace it with wedges of fruit from a can.
Pineapple Macadamia Upside-Down Bars
Makes 1 to 2 dozen, depending on design of topping
For the topping:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
60 1" pineapple wedges (from 1/2 pineapple)
12 macadamia nut halves (or more to taste)
For the crust:
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
Prepare the topping:
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9" x 13" baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving about 1" of paper overhanging the two long sides.
In a small bowl, combine the butter and sugar and spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
Pat the pineapple pieces dry between several thicknesses of paper towels and arrange them evenly on the sugar mixture, either in 24 equal-size pinwheel designs or scattered in rows, leaving space for slicing the pan's contents into 24 bars of equal size. Arrange the macadamia nut halves among the pineapple slices.
Prepare the crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, nuts, sugar, baking powder, and salt and process until combined. Drop in the butter and eggs, and process until the mixture begins to form small clumps. Press the mixture evenly over the pineapple in the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden.
Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool completely. Carefully remove the bars from the pan by pulling up on the edges of the parchment. Cut into bars, and serve them upside down, with the pineapple design facing up.
Reprinted from: The Greyston Bakery Cookbook © 2007 by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan.
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(Image by John Kelly Photography)