Pining Away

I’m just back from the Caribbean coast of Mexico, having been completely off the grid for nine days – no phone, no TV, no computer, electricity only at night and bathing in sea water. With nothing to do all day but swim in the ocean and ponder the meaning of life (…OK, and drink a lot of beer), it’s needless to say that I was instantly pining away for the deserted, sandy beaches and agenda-free days upon returning to the merciless rat race that is my life.

Of the many delicious goodies we ate in Mexico, none was more prevalent than pineapple: an ingredient in drinks, a fruit spread at breakfast, a salad addition, a simple snack, and even a topping for tacos al pastor. Pineapples where abundant at every supermarket and fruit stand – and boy, they were cheap! My favorite pineapple incarnation was a delicious spiced pineapple spread, which was served with our breakfast every morning. I tasted hints of nutmeg, clove and honey, and it was just divine smeared on a piece of buttered toast.

I brought the pineapple obsession home and wanted to incorporate it into one of our own breakfasts. I decided to combine the sweet, fruity flavor of pineapple with fluffy, buttery scones. To intensify the pineapple flavor, I caramelized the pineapple in plenty of butter and a little brown sugar before putting them in the scone batter. Just over 20 minutes in the oven is all it takes before sitting down to a warm, comforting light breakfast or snack.

These scones are fluffy and buttery, and the pineapple lends a deep, sweet flavor. You can also add nuts to the batter, like toasted walnuts or pecans, or other items like raisins or dried cranberries. The possibilities are endless! Even if I can’t live in a palapa on the Caribbean Sea year round, at least I can have the flavor with me at home. Enjoy!

Caramelized Pineapple Scones

1/2 fresh pineapple, diced
3 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. brown sugar
4 c. flour, plus more for kneading
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt (preferably kosher)
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 sticks of butter, diced
4 eggs, beaten
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla

for egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs. water
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Heat butter and brown sugar in a large sauté pan. When butter and sugar are melted, add pineapple and cook until browned on both sides. Cool in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400°. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest together in an electric mixer or by hand until blended. Add the diced cold butter and cut into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the 4 eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla, and add to the flour and butter mixture. Stir to combine.

Coarsely chop the cooled pineapple and add to the dough, stirring just to combine. The dough will be sticky. Dump out the dough onto a well-floured board, and shape into a large square about 1 1/2″ thick. Flour a cookie cutter or a pizza cutter and cut the dough into 10-12 scones. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with a silicone mat or a piece of parchment paper. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake for 24 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Cool on a wire rack.