I always say that the true test of a Passover dessert is one simple question: would you eat it not on Passover.
In the case of these macaroons, which I first made last June, again in July, and once again in the fall, clearly the answer is yes. They remind me of those piña cola cookies I made back in October, but – dare I say it? – they’re better.
No surprise there: David Lebovitz masterminded these macaroons, and most everything he makes – especially ice cream – is awesome. Pineapple macaroons, blissfully, are no exception.
Here’s how it all goes down.
The first step is the most important: you’ll be caramelizing pineapple. Think of regular caramel, where you heat sugar until it turns golden. Same concept, except this time, you’ve got little bits of pineapple in the mix. When the pineapple has caramelized, it’ll be stiffer, golden brown, and really fragrant. That’s when you combine it with the usual macaroon suspects (coconut, egg whites, sugar), mush the dough into mounds, and bake them off.
The result? Like a really good chocolate chip cookie, these macaroons have three distinct sections. They have a perfect outer crust, which gets crunchy and caramelized. They’ve got a soft inner core. And then they have that middle, which isn’t quite soft, but isn’t really crunchy either. It’s kind of perfect.
The first time I made these macaroons, I brought a huge tray of them to friends’. I was sure I’d leave a few for them to nibble on the next day, but slowly and surely, the six of us ate every last macaroon. Okay, true story: I made a second batch the very next day, they were that good.
And, with very little effort, they can be the star of the cookie platter at your seder table. I guarantee people will love them. I also guarantee that if, by some off chance, you end up with extras at the end of the holiday, you’ll have no urge to toss them out with that extra matzah. Like all good Passover desserts, these have staying power.
Adapted from David Lebovitz
So David recommends using crushed pineapple, but I found that diced pineapple works much better. The crushed pineapple sort of melts into the coconut, and the texture of the resulting cookies is less…wonderful. The coconut gets less glazed, the pineapple is less distinctive, and the macaroons are generally not as addictive as when I used diced fruit. Either works, though, so use whatever you can find.
One 20 oz. can (about 600 g) diced unsweetened pineapple, with juice
1 cup (200 g) sugar
pinch of salt
3 1/2 cups (245 g) dried unsweetened shredded coconut (available at health food stores, some supermarkets, and online
zest of one lime, grated
3 large egg whites (not whipped)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put the pineapple, juice, sugar, and salt into a large shallow skillet (David recommends nonstick, but I used a regular skillet and it worked just fine) and set over medium heat.
Cook until the liquid mostly evaporates, stirring occasionally. Then keep cooking for 8-10 more minutes, stirring regularly, until the pineapple firms up, turns golden, and gets very sticky. Transfer the sticky pineapple bits to a medium mixing bowl.
Add coconut to pineapple, and use your fingers to combine the two, pressing the coconut into the pineapple. Then add the egg whites and vanilla, and again, use your fingers to combine the mixture until it is uniform. Your fingers will get covered in sticky macaroon batter; do your best to scrape the batter off your fingers back into the bowl, and rinse your hands before shaping the macaroons.
Preheat the oven to 350° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
Take a golf ball’s worth of batter in your clean hands, and shape it into a sphere. Set the sphere onto the baking sheet, flattening the bottom side of the sphere against the sheet. Then cup your fingers around the top half of the sphere, pinching toward the tip until you wind up with a cone shape. Repeat with remaining batter; no need to leave much space between cookies – 1/2 an inch will do.
Bake cookies for 25 to 30 minutes, until their tips are a deep dark brown and their exteriors are mostly golden. Start checking at 20 minutes, to ensure that cookies don’t burn (too much).
Serve cookies at room temperature. These cookies are best the day they’re made, but they’re not half bad the day after. The batter can also be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days and baked off as needed.