Pineapple Cheese Crumb Cake

Monday March 22, 2010

Popular in all the cuisines of the hot regions of the world, the juicy, tart-sweet pineapple fruit is really showcased when used in sweet breads.  Most coffee cake recipes call for canned pineapple, but here the colorful fruit layer is made from scratch and accented with vanilla, a most agreeable pairing.  When you cook this fresh fruit filling with the sugar and vanilla, you just wont believe the delicious aroma. This coffee cake is quite perfect in flavor and texture, and easily serves a large crowd. I published this recipe in Veggie Life magazine in the 1990s and it ended up being chosen as one of the best ever of their published recipes, to my delight.

Makes one 12-by-18-inch pan, serving about 15.

Ingredients

Pineapple Filling

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pound fresh pineapple (1 medium fruit)
  • 3/4 cup sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Dough

  • 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or soy margarine
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs

Cheese Filling

  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) fresh cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Cinnamon Crumb Top

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter or soy margarine, chilled and cut into pieces

Instructions

For the filling, peel, core, and chop the whole pineapple.  Use a sharp knife to cut off both the crown and bottom.  Stand the pineapple upright and, using a sharp chef’s knife and a sawing motion, remove the tough outer skin, all the way around and carve out the “eyes.”  Cut into four quarters lengthwise, catching all the juice, and core.  Coarsely chop and place in a large heavy nonreactive saucepan.  Add the sugar or honey and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is almost completely evaporated, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes.  Stir in the vanilla and set aside to cool completely.  May be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before using.

For the dough, combine 1 cup of the flour, the sugar or honey, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Heat the milk with the butter to 120º in a saucepan or microwave oven.  Using a large whisk if mixing by hand, add the hot milk and vanilla to the flour mixture and beat until well combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.  Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time to make a very soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl, switching to a wooden spoon when the whisk becomes clogged.

Turn the soft dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently until just past sticky, yet smooth and very soft, 30 seconds, dusting with flour only 1 tablespoon at a time, just enough as needed to prevent sticking.  Place the dough in a greased container, turning once to grease the top.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.  Meanwhile, prepare the cheese filling and the crumb top.

For the cheese filling, beat the cheese, sugar or honey, eggs, and vanilla in an electric mixer until very smooth and creamy.  Refrigerate until needed.  For the crumb top, in a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Cut in the butter pieces with your fingers, a pastry cutter, or a food processor until dry coarse crumbs are formed.  Do not overmix or the crumbs will clump.  Refrigerate until needed.

Preheat the oven to 350º.  Line a 12-by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with parchment and grease the sides.  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half.  With a rolling pin, roll out half of the dough to a 13-by-19-inch rectangle.  Fit into the prepared pan, pressing to fit up the sides.  With a large spatula, spread all of the cheese filling over the dough in an even layer, leaving a 1/2 inch margin all around.  Spread the pineapple filling over the cheese filling.  Roll out the remaining half of the dough to a 12-by-18-inch rectangle.  Gently set atop the fruit layer and tuck the edges into the sides of the pan to contain the filling.  Crimp the edges.  Sprinkle with the crumb top and set aside to rest at room temperature 15 minutes.

Bake the cake on the center rack of the preheated oven 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch.  Place the pan on a rack to cool.  Serve in squares cut from the pan, warm or at room temperature.

print by chris palmer


Your Comments

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  1. Megan 25/03/2010 at 12:19 am

    I love that this is made with fresh pineapple! I’m bookmarking it now and hoping I have an opportunity to make it soon!

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