This highly aromatic concoction borrows its spicy persona from masala chai, the Indian blend of black tea, cardamom, cloves, allspice, anise and cinnamon. To up the ante, we use these spices two ways: ground together as a rub and scattered whole over hot coals to create fragrant smoke. They all come together, invading the flesh of the pineapple, a natural grill fruit if there ever was one. Serve the pineapple as is, or alongside a bowl of coconut ice cream for the ultimate tropical treat. The recipe makes more chai spice blend than you will need, but the leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. Experiment with using the blend to make chai tea or season anything from smoothies to a bowl of oatmeal, or sprinkle it on top of your cappuccino or latte.
For the chai spice blend:
- 1 tsp. cardamom pods
- 1 tsp. allspice berries
- 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
- 1 star anise, broken into pieces
- 1/2 tsp. peppercorns
- 1 Tbs. ground ginger
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
For the spice packet:
- 6 green cardamom pods
- 6 allspice berries
- 6 whole cloves
- 6 star anise pods
- 3 cinnamon sticks, broken into large pieces
For the pineapple:
- 1/3 cup (4 oz./125 g) honey
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) dark rum
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
- 1 small pineapple
1. To make the chai spice blend, in a spice grinder, combine the cardamom, allspice, cloves, star anise and peppercorns and grind to a fine powder. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the ginger and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. To make the spice packet, wrap the cardamom, allspice, cloves, star anise and cinnamon in foil to make a flat packet, then poke holes in the foil.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the honey, rum, lime juice and 2 tsp. of the chai spice blend and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until reduced to about 1/3 cup (4 oz./125 g) to create a glaze. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Set aside.
4. Trim, peel, and quarter the pineapple lengthwise. Core, then cut each quarter crosswise into wedges about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick.
5. Prepare a hot fire (400° to 450°F/200° to 230°C) in a grill for indirect grilling. Put the foil packet of spices on the hot coals. If using a gas grill, put the packet directly over one of the gas burners under the cooking grate. Or if your grill has a smoker box, use it. Cover the grill and wait a few minutes for the spices to start smoking.
6. Brush the grill grate and coat with oil. Put the pineapple on the grate over the fire, cover the grill, and cook, turning once, until nicely grill marked, about 3 minutes per side. Brush with some of the glaze and move the fruit away from the fire. Cover the grill and smoke until the pineapple is browned and smoky, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pineapple to plates, drizzle with the remaining glaze, and serve. Serves 4.
For this recipe and other secrets on how to make fabulous food
on the grill, check out our essential guide to cooking over fire,
Grill School, by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim.