Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pineapple Squares with Coconut Streusel seems to make me think of warm summer days in California.  Most likely due to the fact we lived right across the street from an orange grove.  Since it has been overcast and rainy, I was thinking back on those days and wanted something citrus for breakfast.  Not juice but a baked good.  However, I wanted something that was less common than a lemon poppy seed muffin.

Looking in a coffeecake cookbook, this particular recipe caught my eye.  I was quite happy with the 3 kinds of citrus included in the ingredients.  Being in the form of a bar and using sour cream as an ingredient did make for great texture.  Also, what better way to tie all the citrus flavors together by topping the bars with a chewy coconut streusel?

One important tip before going into the recipe, taste test the completed bar instead of the components. I did find myself sampling the streusel more times than I needed to prior to putting it on the cake!

Pineapple Squares with Coconut Streusel
adapted from Great Coffeecakes and More

Ingredients/Coconut Streusel
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1 cup flour
1 cup sweetened coconut
1/2 tsp orange zest
6 tbs butter

2 large eggs (whites separated from yolks)
1/3 sour cream
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple (well drained)
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup plus 3 tbs sugar
1 tsp fresh orange zest
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cup cake flour
3 tbs orange juice

To make the streusel, start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle the coconut evenly into a shallow pan and place in the oven.  Toast the coconut for about 8-10 minutes, but remove every two to three minutes and stir to make sure coconut does not burn.  The coconut should turn a golden brown when done.  Remove pan and let the coconut cool completely.  Then break up any large pieces and set aside.

Place orange zest and butter in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat once the butter is completely melted.  Let cool to a lukewarm temperature.  Add the 3 dry ingredients and the toasted coconut.  Let the mixture sit for about 10-15 minutes before using.

For the cake, turn the temperature up on the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 9X13 inch size pan by buttering the interior.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  Load a food processor with a metal blade and fill bowl with the crushed pineapple.  Run processor for about 10 seconds.  Place pineapple in a small bowl until ready to use.

Cut butter into 1 inch cubes and add to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Then add the lemon and orange zests.  Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes until smooth.  Continue to beat mixture and add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time until the additions total 2/3 of a cup.  Add one egg yolk and beat for 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the other egg yolk, beating again for 30 seconds.  Fold in the crushed pineapple.

In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream, vanilla extract and orange juice. 

Add 1/3 of the sifted ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg yolk batter and stir until no dry streaks remain.  Then mix in 1/2 of the sour cream blend to the batter.  Repeat the process, ending by mixing  the last 1/3 of the sifted ingredients into the batter.  Set aside.

Using a wire whisk or a small handheld mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add one tablespoon of sugar and beat for 30 seconds.  Repeat this process 2 times, using the additional tablespoons of sugar.

Add 1/3 of the whipped egg whites to the batter and fold in, only making 20 turns with a flexible spatula.  Fold in the remaining egg whites for about 40 turns.  Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth out to an even layer.  Sprinkle streusel over the batter, covering top and edges equally. Pat down lightly using a metal spatula to get streusel to adhere to batter.

Bake until tester comes out clean, which should take about 30-35 minutes.  Let cake cool in pan for about 20 minutes.  Should you not want to serve from the pan, recipe suggests inverting twice onto foil covered cooling racks, so coconut streusel is still facing upward.  Either way, cake should be completely cooled before cutting and serving.
                                               **LAST YEAR:Bourbon Maple Bars**