A light way to finish off a meal

DESSERT: Dial down the flames to a slow burn and watch pineapple luxuriously transform. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)



Grilled pineapple with rum and long pepper glaze

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4 to 8

Note: Dried long peppers are available at Surfas in Culver City, Nicole's in Pasadena and Cube in Los Angeles, as well as select Indian and Asian markets. Also online at salttraders.com and le-sanctuaire.com. If any glaze is unused, it will keep for a week, refrigerated, and makes a great topping for ice cream; rewarm before using.

1 large ripe pineapple

1 or 2 dried long peppers (to yield 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground pepper)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup dark rum

1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)

4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

1. Peel and core the pineapple, then cut it into 16 lengthwise spears. Using a spice or clean coffee grinder, grind the long pepper to a medium fine powder. In a small, dry skillet, stir the ground pepper and cinnamon and toast over low heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the rum, brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil. Remove the glaze from the heat and stir in the toasted spices.

3. Brush the pineapple spears lightly with the glaze, allowing any excess to drip off. Using long-handled metal tongs, place the pineapple spears on a clean, oiled grill over medium heat. Cook for 1 to 3 minutes per side, carefully basting the spears with additional glaze as they cook. (The rum in the glaze can create flare-ups if it drips into hot coals, so use a long-handled brush to apply the glaze and stand back.) The pineapple is done when it is slightly softened and golden brown, with grill marks. Drizzle with more glaze before serving, if desired.

Each serving: 87 calories; 1 gram protein; 17 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 1 gram fat; 0 saturated fat; 2 mg. cholesterol; 13 mg. sodium.