Vanilla Roasted Pineapple with Coconut Whipped Cream Recipe

In 2005, Maxence and I traveled to New York so I could meet with the editor who would be publishing my first cookbook. I had just given notice at my office, and I only had a few more weeks to go before I made the jump to full-time writer. The trip crystallized this momentous turning point, and we enjoyed it accordingly.

My editor invited my agent and me to Jean-Georges for a sublime lunch in the sun-drenched dining room, and eight years later I still remember it in great detail. One of the things that stuck with me the most was the fresh pineapple that was carved table-side and served as a pre-dessert.

I almost clapped at the picture-perfect slices the waiter brought to us, flecked with crystallized mint and rose petals.

Working from a nearby cart, our waiter sliced off the bottom of the fruit, stuck two facing forks in it to serve as a handle, and conducted the rest of the procedure in mid-air: wielding a knife effortlessly in his right hand, he sliced off the outer bark, then carved out the eyes in a spiral ribbon all around the pineapple. I was amazed by his dexterity, and almost clapped at the picture-perfect slices he then brought to us, flecked with crystallized mint and rose petals.

Jean-Georges Pineapple on Chocolate & Zucchini

It is the spirit of that waiter that I tried to channel as I carved my own pineapple for a dessert of roasted pineapple I recently served. I winged it from memory and was pretty pleased with the result, but if you want to try it yourself, I recommend this video and Elise’s instructions. (Instead of tossing the trimmings, run them in a blender and filter to make pineapple juice.)

Once I’d carved the pineapple, I sliced it into six wedges, and brushed them with a honey and vanilla syrup infused with the spectacular vanilla that I use, and spiked with a little rum and lemon juice. The wedges went into the oven until the fruit was softened, its juices concentrated and verging on caramelization.

I considered serving the wedges with a dab of crème fraîche or a scoop of coconut ice cream, but instead opted to make the coconut “whipped cream” I’d been reading about. The idea is to retain only the solids from a can of coconut milk, and whip it like you would ordinary whipping cream. (I found this tutorial helpful, especially the can-flipping trick.)

The coconut whipped cream was a revelation: fluffy and delicious, it didn’t need any sort of flavoring or sweetening. It served as the perfect companion to my roasted pineapple, but I can see it adorning an apple slice or a wedge of chocolate cake just as beautifully.

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Vanilla Roasted Pineapple with Coconut Whipped Cream Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves 4.

Vanilla Roasted Pineapple with Coconut Whipped Cream Recipe


  • 40 grams (2 tablespoons) honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • one ripe large pineapple
  • one 400-ml (13.5-oz) can coconut milk, placed upside down in the refrigerator at least the day before


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the honey, lemon juice, rum, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the honey dissolves completely. (The syrup can be prepared a day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)
  3. Peel the pineapple, carve out the "eyes", and cut into 6 wedges. Slice off the fibrous core along the spine of each wedge. Place in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate them comfortably. Brush with the syrup and insert in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden, flipping the wedges to a different side and brushing them again with the syrup halfway through.
  4. Let cool to warm room temperature.
  5. Flip the can of coconut milk so the top is back on top, and open it. Pour out the liquid part of the coconut milk (reserve for use in smoothies, rice pudding, tapioca pudding, etc.) so all that remains is the congealed coconut solids.
  6. Transfer the solids to a deep bowl; make sure you only keep the solids, or your whipped cream won't hold as well. Beat with an electric whisk until fluffy, and serve with the roasted pineapple.
  • Jean Georges is one of my all-time favorite chefs! I so love the idea of this desserts… And it’s beautiful, too :)

  • Been thinking about coconut cream too. Sanctioned, huh. I guess I’ll really have to give this one a go! And the pineapple…why do I always forget about pineapple?

  • We love to toss pineapple on the grill for a summer barbecue treat, but for some reason it hadn’t occurred to me to roast it in the oven. Thanks for the great idea, I’ll have to try when I next come across a good pineapple.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever had grilled pineapple, it must be wonderful!

  • Molly

    You’re keeping good company amongst Michelin-starred chefs. :) Here’s another interpretation from Raymond Blanc.

    • Wow, what an inspiring video, thanks for sending the link! I’ll definitely try roasting it whole next time.

  • Jan

    Ooh, this is like a deconstructed piña colada! Love the idea!
    Recently, I’ve been on a fruit poaching/roasting kick, and I just blogged about simple poached quince with vanilla ice cream. This reminds me of that. Such a simple dessert, yet so flavorful and comforting!

    • Ha, deconstructed piña colada, I love that! ^^

  • Indulgent and mouth-watering. How wonderful this is!

  • Donna Martemucci

    My favorite chocolate bar (please don’t shun me) is a plain old Hersey ‘s chocolate bar.
    I have traveled all over the world. Paris 8 times but to me….it is Hersey’s!!!

    Congrats on 10 years!!!! Been following for a few.


  • This recipe sounds like dessert heaven.
    Would you not suggest adding actual cream to the coconut solids before whipping or bad idea?

    • You certainly could! It wouldn’t be dairy-free anymore, obviously, but it would be lovely.

  • This is such a wonderful post Clotilde! I can’t believe that I didn’t find your blog sooner; it’s such a wonderful source of French and international cuisine, techniques and stories. I’ll have a look through your e-books too! :) I love fresh pineapple. It’s been a long time since I ate it as it’s been winter over here, but I am looking forward to eating dishes like this as the sun sets on a warm day. Thanks xxx

  • Joe

    Oh yes please! Bring it on! Fruit for dessert. I love this and it looks so fresh and yummy.

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    this really helped curb daytime cravings for sweets which normally constant.
    There are tons of coupon and mommy blogs out there that can help
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  • elle

    Yes! I second grilled pineapple – it caramelizes and needs nothing because the smokey flavor adds so much. And I’ve been using coco cream in my ISI canister for years – works perfectly!

  • Lil

    This is a huge success at this evening’s dinner, and my, I am so thankful for the introduction to coconut whipped cream.

    I now need to stock the fridge with a few cans of coconut milk so I can whip up a batch whenever the mood strike. ;)

    • That is great to hear Lil, thank you!

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