GRILLED POUND CAKE WITH PINEAPPLE "SALSA" AND TEQUILA-WHIPPED CREAM

Adapted from: Raichlen's Indoor Grilling
Method: direct grilling
Serves: 4

3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon tequila (preferable gold)
8 slices pound cake (each slice 1/2-inch thick, preferably Sara Lee)
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pineapple "Salsa" (recipe follows)
4 fresh mint sprigs for garnish

1. Place the cream in a chilled mixer bowl or in a large metal bowl. Beat with a mixer until soft peaks form, starting on the slow speed and gradually increasing the speed to high. The total beating time will be 6 to 8 minutes. When soft peaks have formed, add the confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, and tequila. Continue beating the cream until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes longer. Don't overbeat the cream or it will start to turn to butter. The tequila-whipped cream can be made several hours ahead. Refrigerate it, covered, until ready to serve.

2. Lightly brush each slice of pound cake with butter on both sides.

3. Prepare the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Brush and oil the grate.

4. Cook the pound cake until lightly toasted. If desired, rotate each slice a quarter turn after 1 minute to create a handsome crosshatch of grill marks. You may need to cook the pound cake slices in batches.

5. Place the pound cake slices on plates. Top each serving with a spoonful of Pineapple "Salsa" and a dollop of tequila-whipped cream, garnish with a sprig of mint, and serve at once.

Pineapple "Salsa"

Yield: 2 cups

2 cups fresh pineapple cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons thinly slivered fresh mint or lemon verbena
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers (preferably red for color contrast), seeded and minced; for a hotter salsa, leave the seeds in
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, or more to taste

Place the pineapple, mint, jalapeño(s), lime juice, and brown sugar in a nonreactive mixing bowl, but don't mix them until 5 minutes before you are ready to serve. Taste for seasoning, adding more lime juice and/or brown sugar as necessary.

Variation: Slivered mint keeps this "salsa" in the realm of a salad. If you really want to push the limits, try substituting chopped fresh cilantro for the mint.

© 2006 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort