By Jo Cooksey & Clover Hutson
The lockdown has been many things to many people. There has been lots of us finding or rediscovering our love of baking. There have been banana breads and sourdough starters by the thousand. We have been keeping fit doing PE with Joe, (harder than it looked) or trying to bend ourselves double with online yoga tutorials. Many of us, including me, have developed a love of gardening and growing our own. I’ve got all sorts of fruit and veg on the go. Although Eric, the dog does seem to think the strawberries and raspberries are his own personal pick and mix patch.
For weeks, the only time I ventured into the outside world was to do the weekly shop. This trip became the highlight of the week and during one foray around Aldi, I found a limited release bottle of Crossbones Tropical Pineapple Dark Rum. Yes, that’s a dark rum that tastes of pineapple. IT. WAS. AMAZING! It was full on pineapple flavour but not sickly sweet and had a hint of spice. We drank it with ginger beer and a wedge of lime. The perfect summer drink.
And So It Begins
The following week I tried to buy another one because it was a Special Buy and would have a limited time on the shelves. Horror of horrors. It had all gone and wasn’t due back in. Deep breaths. I pootled up the road to Morrisons and searched the shelves of the spirits department and found a bottle of Cornish rum brand, Dead Man’s Fingers Pineapple Rum. This one was quite sweet and went really well with soda water, fresh lime juice and loads of ice. It was nice but it didn’t match the taste experience of the Aldi version. I was still on a mission.
The Search Continues
I went on the internet and started to research if anyone else was making pineapple rum. They are and via the Plantation Rum website I discovered that the drink actually goes back to the 1700’s when rum makers would sweeten the rum by macerating pineapple in it. Pineapple rum was also mentioned by Dickens in his book, The Pickwick Papers. I also noticed a brand called Red Leg Caramelised Pineapple Rum, which has 100% natural pineapple and caramel flavours. Ooo this sounded good.
I ordered a bottle of each from Amazon and waited in anticipation. The Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple is the grown up version of this spirit. Think more single malt whisky, a darkened book lined rooms, a crackling fire, the smell of leather and a good cigar. This is a drink to be savoured and appreciated. A connoisseur’s rum. Serve over ice.
On the other hand, Red Leg Caramelised Pineapple Rum, is all sunshine and steel drums. It is named after the Caribbean native, the Red Leg Hermit Crab, which embodies the relaxed island soul. This rum blends notes of sweet and spice, combined with the best rums from the Caribbean. It is left to rest in oak barrels, before infusing with Jamaican vanilla and ginger. An incredibly fruity yet smooth, versatile rum. This is my new weekend tipple. It’s a good allrounder and sooo pineappley. Serve with ginger beer, ginger ale, cola or mix it into a cocktail, sit back and dream of the Caribbean.
Spreading The Word
Obviously, I was keen to share my discovery with friends and my pal Clover, (top Food Stylist), immediately jumped on board and ordered a bottle of Red Leg. So inspired was she once she had tasted it that she set to work on a recipe. Over to Clover.
Pineapple Rum Cake
This is a recent discovery for me thanks to my good friend Jo.
Naturally I tried it as a drink first - ginger ale and fresh mint were the add ons and I must say delicious…..I’m not a rum fan generally but this was good! So of course, that got the cogs turning on a recipe, and a real favourite is pineapple upside down cake!
A retro classic that I think has stood the test if time in its tastiness and look. In fact, I’m thinking of bringing back many retro dishes, they have a huge place in my heart!
So the difference with this recipe is the caramelizing off the pineapple before popping in the cake tin, normally I would just put this in raw, but we are going to inject lots of flavour using the rum and some butter.
You can use fresh or canned pineapple-both work well and I’m not snobby about canned fruit-canned anything actually, it all has some real benefits.
So here we go……
Prep time 20 mins
Cook time 45 mins
Preheat oven to 170c
Line and grease your preferred baking tin.
100ml pineapple rum- we used Red Leg Pineapple rum
25g soft brown sugar
8 rings of pineapple
8 maraschino cherries
125g self-raising flour
125g soft butter
1 tsp baking powder
75g castor sugar
75g soft brown sugar
1. In a saucepan melt the butter and sugar, pour in the rum and let bubble for a minute. Pop in the pineapple and let cook on a medium heat to just soften and take on a more caramelised colour. Pop to one side whilst we make the cake mixture.
2. In a large bowl add the flour, marge, sugar, eggs and baking powder. Mix well with electric beaters or a stand mixer.
3.Now in your lined tin lay down the pineapple rings to cover the bottom of the tin, pop the cherries into the holes. Pour over the cake batter. Pop this into the oven for 30 minutes, check using a prong, you can always pop it back in for 5 minutes if needed.
4. Once cooked let it rest for a couple of minutes then turn out onto a plate and let cool. Enjoy warm or cold!
Remember folks, always drink responsibly