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Kitchen Mailbox: Simple Pineapple Squares a pan full of juicy, fruity delight

Thursday, April 20, 2000

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

If you're up for a new dessert for Easter, try Pineapple Squares. It's similar to a pie, but only because it's made with fruit and has a pie dough-like base.

The dough for this dessert was easy to make, especially if you use a food processor as we did. Before rolling out the dough, you must dust your board and rolling pin with flour because this dough is soft and will stick if you don't. What we really liked about this dessert is that it's perfect for a crowd -- it's made in a jelly roll pan, then cut into squares (size is up to you). You also have the option of drizzling a thin icing over the pineapple squares or just a light dusting of powdered sugar and chopped nuts.

If you ever need to prepare a fresh pineapple, here are a few tips.

Lay the pineapple on its side in a shallow dish to catch the juices. Holding the pineapple steady, cut off its crown. Slice through the pineapple crossways at 1/2-inch intervals. Cut away all the tough rind.

Stand a slice on its side and flick out the tiny eyes with the tip of a knife. Repeat this process with the remaining slices. Lay each slice flat and cut out the hard core with a small pastry cutter, apple corer or small knife.

To serve in wedges, quarter the whole pineapple lengthwise -- remove the core. Separate the fruit from the rind -- cut into wedges.

Source: "The Great Food Almanac" by Irena Chalmers

Eileen Julian of Clairton sent us her scrumptious recipe for Pineapple Squares.

Pineapple Squares

4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks butter or margarine
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk

2 (15-ounce) cans crushed pineapple, juice included
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Combine flour, sugar and baking powder, then cut butter into the dry ingredients. (We used a food processor.) Mix in the eggs and milk. Form dough into a ball and chill.

Combine filling ingredients and cook until thickened; let cool.

Divide dough in half. Roll out to fit a jelly roll pan. Spread cooled filling over dough. Roll out remaining dough and cover filling (see note). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. When cool, dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with a thin powdered-sugar icing.

Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Note: We used a lattice top.

Martha's Vineyard Salad With Raspberry-Maple Dressing was requested by LaVerne Porta of McKees Rocks. Jill Diskin of Squirrel Hill sent Kitchen Mailbox the recipe, which was published in the Post-Gazette's Restaurant Row column in 1997.

Martha's Vineyard Salad With Raspberry-Maple Dressing

The dressing also doubles as a marinade for seafood and poultry. The maple syrup in the recipe caramelizes and glazes grilled foods.

1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons dried tarragon (or 4 tablespoons fresh)
Dash salt, or to taste
1 head Bibb lettuce, washed and dried
1/2 head red leaf lettuce, washed and dried
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
12 rings red onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or walnuts

First prepare raspberry vinegar: combine red and white vinegars and raspberries. Cover and let sit for 48 hours. Strain the vinegar and store at room temperature. (You can also use commercial raspberry vinegar, which we did for testing, and start recipe with next step.)

To make Raspberry-Maple Dressing, whisk together in a bowl 1/2 cup of the raspberry vinegar, the oils, maple syrup, mustard, tarragon and salt.

Tear lettuce leaves by hand and toss in a large bowl with 3/4 cup of dressing.

To serve, divide lettuce evenly onto 6 chilled plates and top each with blue cheese, onion rings and toasted pine nuts. Serves 6.

Source: "The Simply Great Cookbook, Recipes from the Kitchens of Chuck Muer"


Helen Kutrufins of McKees Rocks had a recipe for Spiced Peach Jam that she clipped from the Pittsburgh Press in the '70s. Kutrufins lost the recipe and hopes one of our readers may have a copy.

M.L. Lococo of Brighton Heights would like a recipe for date nut rolls. The cookies are rolled in powdered sugar while hot. If anyone has this recipe, please send it to Kitchen Mailbox.

Geoffrey Keyes of Mt. Lebanon is searching for stone-ground hominy grits and Durkee's charcoal seasoning. Can anyone help?

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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