Charleston is known for a laundry list of attractive qualities, from great seafood and famous restaurants to its steeple-dotted skyline to its rich history, sandy beaches and fairy tale weddings. But one of its most endearing elements is the charming hospitality that defines all that is truly 'Charleston' and has been ingrained in our blood since the beginning. That is where this recipe comes in -- a pineapple is the symbol of hospitality, not only in the Lowcountry, but up and down the east coast. In the early days, when ship captains returned home from a trip to Barbados or the Caribbean, they would spear a pineapple from their travels onto the gate as a symbol that the family was ready to welcome neighbors into their home to celebrate. It later evolved into popular decor when entertaining, and pineapples were even available as a display rental for those who could not afford to buy the delicious imported fruit. Today, pineapples subtly dot the Lowcountry on logos, jewelry, and of course (one of my favorites), the big Pineapple Fountain at Water Front Park.
The Pineapple Upside Down Cake was not born in Charleston, nor is it considered a typical 'must have' on most tourists' to-eat lists. Actually, it's a rare find at most restaurants, but that's why we make it at home. A fitting dessert that shows you want to welcome guests into your home. Made by the hostess with the mostess. This recipe came from my grandmother's cookbook, and I remember barely being able to see over the counter as she flipped that big cast iron skillet over and the cake suddenly changed from a plain, blank round of cake into a brown and golden wonderland...covered in a caramel-y pecan syrup that was irresistible to sneak a 'taste test.'
- 1/4 Cup (One Half Stick) Unsalted Butter
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
- 1 x 15.25 oz. Can of Pineapple Rings, with Juice
- 3 Eggs, Separated
- 1 Cup White Sugar
- 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 6-8 Pitted Cherries