At this time of year we wait in anticipation for the goodies of spring and summer to come into our kitchen.
Asparagus, with its short season, will be here soon along with nettle leaves and before we know it strawberries will be dolloped with vanilla cream.
The season of wild mushrooms is all but finished and the only local fruit seems to be rhubarb and a few apples.
This is when I start to look at exotic fruits such as mango, passion fruit and pineapple. They are available most of the year and help me fill the seasonal gaps we have.
I love the juicy fresh flesh of pineapple, especially chilled from the fridge. But I don’t think you would be too impressed if that was on a dessert menu.
I have to do a bit of work to transform it into a caramelised pineapple tart.
The process takes some time, especially if you make the puff pastry from scratch, but it’s well worth the effort and makes an impressive dinner party dessert.
In the restaurant I serve it with coconut sorbet which you can substitute with a quality vanilla ice cream.
Caramelised pineapple tart
1 litre water
250g puff pastry
2 tablespoons water
1. Cut the pineapple into four thick slices.
2. Cut these using a round cutter and remove the centre with an apple corer.
3. Put the litre of water and the 600g of sugar into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.
4 Add the pineapple rings and simmer for eight minutes
5. Turn the rings over and simmer for a further eight minutes and then take the pineapple out of the liquid.
6. In a non-stick pan add the 75g of sugar and the water.
7. Heat slowly until it starts to caramelise.
8. Add the pineapple and cook for one minute. Flip them over and add the butter (if the caramel gets too thick or starts to darken, add more water)
9. Remove from the pan and pour the caramel into four individual tart cases.
10. Once the pineapple is cold roll out the pastry to 2mm thickness and cut discs slightly bigger than the pineapple.
11. Wrap the pineapple in the pastry and put them into the tart cases upside down on to the caramel.
12. Cook for 15 minutes 200C/gas 7 until golden brown. Turn out the tarts and spoon over the caramel sauce.
Lawrence Murphy’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth (fatolives.co.uk) 01243 377914.