Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Flavours Column: Pineapple Flowers

Someone once told me I make 'the most edible looking cakes'. It was one of the best compliments they could give. That's what I set out to do. I don't want to make cakes that look gimmicky or fake. I want people to want to eat them. 

Usually I try to avoid overly gimmicky decorations. Or at least what I consider gimmicky. Unless they compliment the flavour or make the cakes look more appealing, I'd rather not have them. I wasn't altogether convinced about these pineapple flowers when I first saw pictures of them but in actuality they are pretty impressive! Who wouldn't want to eat one of these?!

Pineapple Flowers
Published in the Bay of Plenty Times, Wednesday 5th June 2013

So far my columns’ have been very baking-centric, which is only natural as this is the heart of my business and my passion. Second to the art of great baking however is beautiful presentation. When it comes to cake it truly should be a whole package - cakes that both look and taste incredible! As they say, we eat with our eyes first.

This week I thought I’d share with you a fun new decorating trick I’ve discovered, pineapple flowers. I wasn’t sure about these to start with but have to admit they look great and taste good too.

They are easy to make – all you need is a fresh pineapple, a sharp knife and an oven. I used them to top pineapple cupcakes but they could work for so many things. Like cocktails.

You’ll need:
1 fresh pineapple
A sharp knife
Oven tray
Baking paper
12-cup muffin tin

Top and tail the pineapple and slice off all the skin and brown spiky bits. Lay the naked pineapple on its side and carefully cut thin rounds to create perfect circles of pineapple. The thinner you can cut the slices the better. Some of mine were around 3mm thick but still worked fine. Place the slices on lined baking trays, approx 6 per tray, and bake at 120°C. After 30mins flip the slices and bake for a further 30mins. Keep an eye on them. If they start to brown turn the temperature down. You’re aiming to dry them out as opposed to cook them to a crisp! After an hour place the slices into a 12-cup muffin tray to create the flower shape, pop back into the oven and turn off the heat. The remaining heat will continue drying the pineapple so they hold their shape. If you can leave them overnight but mine held well after two hours.  

Weekly Tip: Test your oven’s thermostat every few months. Oven thermometers are inexpensive and you’ll be amazed at how far out temperatures can be. I had a friend whose oven was 40°C out! Even though it was set to 180°C it was actually 220°C. Test for hot spots too. 

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