Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pineapple - Mango Delight

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.

--Carl Sandburg
I spent some time this month trying to come up with something original that would qualify for this month's theme of "Fried Food." I actually spent a little more than 2 weeks muddling over all of the ideas and possibilities in my head. At first, I wanted to make a savory dish. I deliberated over shrimp, chicken, and even beef as main course possibilities to no avail. I couldn't think of anything served as a main course other than good 'ole fashioned fried chicken that I actually really enjoyed eating once it is fried. So, in the end, I opted for a more easy route by making a dessert dish.

My opus this month is a dessert egg roll wrapped around ingredients that I find most pleasing and I hope that you find them pleasing too. I am calling it "Pineapple - Mango Delight" simply because I was not able to come up with a clever name spontaneously. I made a glaze for dipping the egg roll also. It is a lemon - ginger glaze with a little punch to it. I will include the recipe for the glaze also. This will easily serve 8 egg rolls if not more.

Firstly, the ingredients for the filling are as follows:

(8) Egg Roll Wrappers
(1) Pineapple
(1) Large Mango
(2) Tablespoons (or more) Dried Chinese Five Spice
(1) Cup Coconut Rum
(1/2) Lemon
(1) Large Bar of Dark Chocolate - Ghiradelli's Intense Dark Chocolate
(1/2) Cup of Chopped Fresh Mint
(2) Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
(2) Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter

(1) Cup of MSG ---->Psych! That's for all the MSG haters.

But seriously optional:
(2) Teaspoons of Kosher Salt

I like to salt the pineapple and mango in the saute pan to make the fruit pop a little more and to help all of that water from the pineapple cook out a little better.

I made the filling first because once it is completed I will have it rest in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour anyways. It will probably keep over night in the refrigerator if you want to make it a day ahead because I add the juice of that 1/2 lemon after the cooking process is completed anyways. The fresh lemon juice should help prevent it from discoloring over night while inside of a covered dish in the refrigerator.

I diced the pineapple and the mango, put vegetable oil (divided) into two saute pans and began sweating the fruit down over medium heat. I then added the Chinese Five Spice to both pans. Chinese Five Spice may not be for everyone. One of the spices is star anise and I am usually not a big fan of anise. I bought mine ground up fresh at our local farmer's market. I was surprised at how strong the anise comes through that spice so I almost didn't put it into the recipe. However, that same anise smell and flavor really transforms under heat and in the presence of the fruit. What comes through is a really complex flavor palette and make it a real winner for this dish. So, if you are like me when it comes to anise, don't worry. It's all good. Heck, I went from 2 teaspoons to 2 full tablespoons after I tasted the dish at the half way point.

The total cooking time depends on how you like to eat cooked fruit. My original plan was to go 10 minutes maximum. If you like your cooked fruit to be a little more al dente then that is what you should do. However, I thought that the mango was still a little too tough after 10 minutes, so I cooked my dish for almost 15 minutes.

I added the coconut rum after 7 minutes cooking time. I really wanted to flambe this dish and I had every intention in doing so too. The problem was that the rum doesn't have enough alcohol content to ignite. Of course, I didn't know that at the time because I was too proud to check into that fact before I started buying the ingredients. It was hilarious watching me try to ignite this dish and I tried to catch that on video but my friend, "Ozzy" didn't realize that we weren't recording during the whole fiasco. However, we did get a little bit of the end result on film for your viewing pleasure.

With about 2 minutes left in the cooking process, I added the butter and melted it into the fruit filling. I wanted the flavor of the butter and I wanted to be sure not to scorch it during the cooking process. I removed the pans from the heat, added the fresh mint, transferred it to another dish, squeezed the juice of 1/2 a lemon over the top, and put the dish into the refrigerator to rest.

I made the lemon ginger glaze next. The ingredients are as follows:

(3) six ounce cans of pineapple juice (not from concentrate)
(1 1/2) lemons (juice and reserve some for the zest)
(2) tablespoons of unsalted butter
(1) Large chunk of fresh ginger diced large (so you can strain it out at the end.)
(1) Tablespoon (or more) of Cinnamon
(1) Tablespoon (or more) of Red Pepper Flake (1 tablespoon is not enough if you want it spicy.)
(??) of Sugar - I like things sweet and I was buzzed with beer so I added to taste.
(??) Corn Starch for thickening. (I don't like it too thick so I went with a teaspoon.)

Originally, it was going to be brown sugar instead of cinnamon and sugar but Ozzy and I got our strings crossed when buying the ingredients so we improvised.

Put the butter in a sauce pan on medium heat. Add the ginger and saute that up for about a minute or two. Next, add the rest of the ingredients (including the zest of one lemon) except the corn starch, raise the heat to high, and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium - low and begin whisking in the corn starch to thicken it. Remove from heat and let stand for at least five minutes.

Here's a picture of me and Ozzy making the glaze:

I used peanut oil to fry up my egg rolls. I brought the oil to 350 degrees while I rolled the egg rolls up at the dining room table.

Add the fruit filling to the egg rolls, put a square of dark chocolate on top, and roll them up. I cooked the egg rolls in the oil for about 1-2 minutes per side and served the dish with glaze and a chopped mint garnish.

I really liked the dish myself. I believe that the fresh mint in the filling helps the coconut flavor in the rum to pop. However, my favorite part has to be the lemon ginger glaze. The glaze was really "lemony sweet" so getting that rich bitterness from the dark chocolate inside the egg roll really helped to compliment the sweetness of the glaze. If I had to do two things differently, I would have gone with the brown sugar in the lemon ginger glaze and I would have added more red pepper flake to really punch up the spiciness. Here are some of the video reviews for this recipe:


  1. These look fantastic! Very creative, and lovely, too. Well done, sir!

  2. Crunch, sweet, gooey! What more could you ask for. I find your dish inspiring and think I will go cook something!