The pineapple, ananas comosus, is original to Brazil and Paraguay. Before Columbus arrived, the Indians had already introduced it as far north as Central America and throughout the West Indian islands. The Spanish inaugurated trading ships between Acapulco, Mexico and the Phillipines in 1565
and introduced the pineapple to the Phillipines, Hawaii, and Guam. In the state of Veracruz, Mexico, there are huge fields of the low-growing pineapple plants in the foothills of Xalapa. Pineapple is not only enjoyed as it is, it is made into an alcoholic drink called tepache. On the road from the city of Veracruz to the Río Papaloapan the roadside vendors display beautifully arranged pineapples and corn cob-stopped rum bottles filled with pineapple vinegar. A pineapple is ripe when you can smell it and the center fronds can be plucked out easily. As a snack, the sweetness of freshly cut up pineapple can be enhanced with a light sprinkling of salt. Lime juice and a little chili powder will knock it into another realm.
What can I say about yams? They should be firm, bright,not mottled and not too big. I prefer not to use brown sugar in this dessert because the almíbar, the syrup that results from this decoction, takes on the orange and the gold hues of the two main players. At the end, when you spoon the warm gold liquid over the friséed mint leaves, it drizzles down, releases the mint's volatile oils, and settles in the bottom of the dish and you get color and fragrance to the last spoonful.
2 lb. Red garnet yams, peeled and cut into chunks
1 ½ c. Sugar, organic cane
1 Medium pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 Small cinnamon stick
2 Tbs. Butter, cut in pea-sized pieces
8” square baking dish, brushed with melted butter
Fresh mint, finely shredded
Place the yams, cinnamon, sugar and pineapple in a deep pot and pour over enough water to cover. Cook, covered, over medium heat until water begins to boil. Simmer of medium-low heat, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. When the yams are cooked and soft, drain the pot and reserve the liquid. Beat the yam mixture with the wooden spoon until smooth. Add the pinch of salt, and a little of the reserved liquid to make it smooth. You will still have some liquid. Pour liquid into a small saucepan and reserve. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish, dot with the butter and bake in a hot (425˚) oven for 25 minutes, or until it starts to brown. While the dessert is baking, reduce the reserved liquid over low heat until it is syrupy. Take off heat and let cool. Serve in individual goblets and garnish with a little shredded mint and spoon a little of the syrup over all. Serves 6