Roasted Vanilla Pineapple with Passion Fruit

Caramelised, roasted vanilla pineapple with passion fruit in dark rum and a brief history of pineapples at Versailles.

sliced of caramelised pineapple with vanilla pods

As we’re enjoying the pineapple season, I can’t help noticing pineapples in all sorts of different forms on gateposts, staircases and even teapots during teatimes in Paris.

Ever since Christopher Columbus brought the pineapple to Europe from Guadaloupe in 1493, this exotic fruit has symbolised wealth and generous hospitality.

Brief History of Pineapples

By the 18th century, pineapples were such a rare, expensive delicacy that they weren’t always eaten straight away.

Pineapples were seen as a wealth indicator and the utmost symbol to welcome guests.

So they adorned dinner tables as centre-pieces and could even be rented out by the day. Royalty and the aristocracy wanted to be seen with such a rare – and exotic – status symbol, so set about discovering how to grow them.

roasted caramelised pineapple dessert

Growing Pineapples at Versailles

The Sun King, Louis XIV, wasn’t too enamoured with pineapples, apparently all-too-eagerly biting into one – spiky skin and all – so Jean-Baptiste Le Quintinye, botanist of the King’s Fruit and Vegetable Garden at Versailles had no pressure to grow them.

Louis XV, however, learned from his predecessor and adored the sweet pineapple. So in 1735, his gardener, Louis Le Normand made a breakthrough at Versailles. Instead he grew them in a layer of fermented manure, trapping heat under glass bells.

Welcoming gateposts. Which has the best wealth indicator: the security camera or the pineapple?

Pineapples in Architecture

How many pineapple motifs have you seen recently? They’re normally carved out of stone and wood, decorating front doors, gates, bed-posts, staircases and linens – all to symbolise the ultimate hospitality to guests.

Have you seen the Scottish Pineapple? It’s a wacky stone building with a pineapple roof that was constructed by the 5th Earl of Dunmore in the 1760s. This is a place I’d love to stay in Scotland, as it has been beautifully restored. For much more fruity fascinating facts about the pineapple, I recommend Gary Okihiro’s book, Pineapple Culture.

Roasted Vanilla Pineapple with Passion Fruit

Inspired by the roasted pineapple recipe, Ananas Rôti from Larousse des desserts by Pierre Hermé. I replaced banana with passion fruit, used half the amount of vanilla pods and omitted the ginger and spice. However, if you like your pineapple with some heat, add a good pinch of cayenne pepper and some crystallised stem ginger, according to taste.

Delicious served simply on its own or with vanilla or coconut ice cream.

 Love pineapple? Try a French-style rice pudding, Pineapple Riz Condé.

How do YOU like your pineapple?

roasted pineapple with vanilla pods


sliced of caramelised pineapple with vanilla pods

Roasted Vanilla Pineapple with Passion Fruit

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : French
Keyword : roasted pineapple, how to roast a pineapple, vanilla pineapple
Servings : 6 people
Calories : 148kcal


Caramelised, roasted vanilla pineapple with passion fruit in dark rum. Either add a touch of ginger and cayenne pepper if you like it exotic and spicy.


  • 1 large pineapple (or 2 small pineapples)
  • 2 vanilla pods (beans)
  • 150 g sugar
  • 250 ml water warm
  • 2 passion fruits
  • 2 tbsp dark rum


  • Prepare the syrup: carmelise the sugar with a couple of drops of water over a low heat without stirring. Meanwhile, cut 2 vanilla pods down the middle and scrape out the seeds using a sharp knife. Reserve the emptied pods.
  • As soon as the caramel turns a dark golden colour, add the scraped vanilla seeds then the warmed water (it's important it's warm-hot, otherwise the caramel will instantly harden.) Stir using a wooden spoon and bring to the boil.
  • Take off the heat then add the passion fruit and rum.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C. Prepare the pineapple by cutting off the outer skin with a sharp knife.
  • Cut the remaining 2 vanilla pods in half vertically and stick them into the pineapple along with the other reserved pods. Place the pineapple in a roasting tin, pour over the syrup (if you don't like the passion fruit seeds, strain through a sieve) and roast in the oven for about an hour, spooning the syrup over the pineapple every 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.


Serve either warm or chilled. When ready to serve, cut the pineapple into slices. Delicious with vanilla or coconut ice cream.

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Comments (20)

I love this dessert so much.

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