It is said that our taste buds are completely replaced every 10 years.
While there is no official evidence that our tastes change in that period, there is certainly enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that perhaps as our taste buds change so do our tastes.
And because I never know when that change will happen, every few years I re-try things that I have not liked in the past.
Sometimes, it even works.
Much to my delight that was exactly what happened with this roasted pineapple.
I must preface this by saying that I LOVE pineapple. I love it canned, dried, and candied. But most of all I love it raw. Straight up and sliced thin.
I have never, however; liked it cooked. Especially not on pizza.
So I don’t know what came over me the other night.
I had just sliced open a pineapple when I realized that it was severely under ripe and mouth-puckering sour. This coming from a girl that eats raw lemon wedges meant that for the rest of my family the pineapple was pretty much inedible.
It might have been that the oven was on anyway because I was roasting chicken or it might have been the desperate desire to not let the pineapple, no matter how pathetic, go to waste… but before I knew it I was pouring sugar and vanilla into a sauce pan.
Almost in a daze I boiled the raw sugar and water into a thickened simple syrup, pouring it over the pineapple and stuffing the whole mess in the oven.
I am not even sure what I was expecting. I half thought that the pineapple would absorb the most of the liquid while the rest thickened into a gooey syrup.
What actually happened was far different and far more delicious than that. The pineapple shed its juiced which mixed into the simple syrup then reabsorbed into the pineapple over the long cooking time concentrating the flavor of the pineapple.
And the smell….
The scent of roasting pineapple rose even above that of the chicken, perfuming my kitchen with the heady scents of sugary tropical sunsets and keeping me slaverishly circling the oven like a half starved animal.
But despite the scent I was not really expecting to like it. Even as I sunk my teeth into the supple, nearly translucent flesh, I was expecting to be disappointed.
What I got instead was a pineapple boot to the head. As intense as dried, the paper thin slices of pineapple were infused with the subtlety of vanilla. A hint of cinnamon seemed to play up the fruitiness balancing with the caramel notes of the raw sugar.
This was pineapple raised to the pinnacle of pineappledom. This was pineapple worthy of a last meal.
It was stunningly delicious.
I would have liked to say that I showed great restraint, awaiting the rest of the family to return and serving it decorously over neatly arranged scoops of picture perfect ice cream or cloud like slices of toasted pound cake… the truth is I ended up eating half the pan standing right over the stove top, still holding my blue Orca silicone mitt in one hand.
It was that good.
Caramel Roasted Pineapple
1 large pineapple
1 cup sugar 
2 teaspoons vanilla paste 
1 cup water
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Cut the top and bottom off the pineapple. Stand the pineapple on the cut bottom and going from the top down, slice off the thick peel. Slice the resulting pineapple log in half. Thinly slice each half in ¼ inch slices.
Arrange the slices in a shallow rectangular pan so they overlap slightly.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, vanilla and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and reduce to slightly, about a quarter of its original volume.
Pour the syrup over the pineapple and bake for 1 hour, turning the pineapple occasionally to coat it in liquid.
Once the pineapple is very tender; turn the oven up to broil or turn on the boiler. Broil just until the edges of the pineapple begin to caramelize.
Serve over ice cream, drizzled with the pan drippings or over pound cake.
 I prefer to use either brown sugar which for this should be loosely packed or raw sugar. I prefer the caramel notes that these sugars bring.
 Vanilla paste is a seasonal product and is a non-alcoholic sugar based vanilla preparation. To substitute you can either use 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped.
 I like my edged a little on the dark side so I left it in there just a little longer for that lovely dark sugar taste.