Pineapple is an underused fruit when it comes to desserts; most often, it’s served only as part of a fruit platter. I once ordered an intriguingly named dessert called pineapple carpaccio: it turned out to be thinly sliced pineapple laid out on a plate – nothing more. Needless to say, I was annoyed.
Fresh pineapple is delicious in the first recipe, a composed dessert, and it shines on its own in the second, as a simple sorbet.
ROASTED PINEAPPLE WITH GULA MELAKA GLAZE, DEHYDRATED PINEAPPLE SLICES AND PINA COLADA SORBET
For the sorbet:
200 grams granulated sugar
300ml canned, unsweetened coconut milk
150ml fresh pineapple juice (from the excess fruit used for the roasted pineapple)
30ml fresh lime juice
20ml white rum
For the roasted pineapple and dehydrated pineapple, and to finish:
1 medium-sized pineapple, about 18cm long (not including the crown)
Gula melaka (or use jaggery), as needed
1 small pineapple, about 12cm long
Granulated sugar, as needed
A few fresh passion fruit and/or some toasted shredded coconut
Make the sorbet syrup. Bring 300ml of water to the boil, stir in the sugar, then cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold.
Remove the skin and eyes from the large pineapple (or have the fruit vendor do it for you). Slice the pineapple into rounds about 12mm thick. Choose the 10 nicest pieces and use a cookie cutter of the appropriate size to cut out the cores. Wrap the pineapple slices in cling film and set them aside.
Purée the remaining pineapple slices in a blender or food processor, then strain the juice and measure out 150ml. Mix this with 300ml of coconut milk and 300ml of the chilled sorbet syrup. Stir in the rum and lime juice, then process the mixture in an ice-cream machine. Transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and freeze for several hours.
Make the dehydrated pineapple. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius. Remove the skin and eyes from the smaller pineapple, then use a serrated knife to slice it into 3mm rounds. Use a cookie cutter of an appropriate size to remove the pineapple core from each slice. Blot the pineapple with paper towels then place the slices close together on a baking tray lined with a silicon mat. Sprinkle the slices lightly but evenly with granulated sugar then turn them over and sprinkle with more sugar. Put the tray in the oven and bake the slices until dry, turning them over as needed. They won’t get crisp – they’ll be slightly pliable. Remove the tray from the oven and leave the pineapple to cool before packing the pieces into an airtight container. Turn the oven temperature to 200 degrees.
Make the roasted pineapple. Lay the slices of the larger pineapple on a baking tray lined with a silicon mat. Crumble gula melaka over the slices until they’re covered lightly but evenly. Bake at 200 degrees until the pineapple is tender and the gula melaka is bubbling and thick (about 15 minutes), then cool to room temperature.
To serve, put a slice of roasted pineapple on a plate. Top with a scoop of the pina colada sorbet. If using passion fruit, slice the fruit in half and scoop out the juice and seeds. Spoon some of the passion fruit over the sorbet and add a sprinkling of toasted dried coconut (if using). Top with a slice of dehydrated pineapple, garnish with mint leaves and serve immediately. Serves 10.
Leftover dehydrated pineapple will keep for several days; if it gets moist, dry it again in the oven. Leftover sorbet syrup should be poured into a bottle and refrigerated. Use it to sweeten fruit juices or mixed cocktails.
This is one of my favourite sorbets. I learned the trick of salting pineapple from a Filipino chef, who explained that the salt draws out the acidity and makes the fruit taste sweeter. I don’t usually salt pineapples for cooked dishes, but I do when the fruit is raw. It’s essential that you rinse the fruit throughly after salting it; it shouldn’t taste salty.
Adding egg white is optional, but it gives the sorbet a lighter texture.
200 grams granulated sugar
1 medium-sized pineapple
Fine sea salt, as needed
30ml fresh lime juice
1 tsp egg white (optional)
Bring the water to a boil, add the granulated sugar and stir to dissolve. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate until chilled.
Peel the pineapple and remove the eyes. Quarter the pineapple lengthwise and remove the core. Cut the pineapple into chunks then put them in a large colander. Sprinkle the fruit quite liberally with salt and mix with your hands. Place the colander over a bowl and leave for 30 minutes, mixing occasionally. Rinse the pineapple under cool, running water, mixing and rinsing until the fruit no longer tastes salty. Drain for about 15 minutes, then purée the fruit in a blender or food processor. Strain the fruit to extract the juice; the most efficient method is to use a food mill. Measure out 450ml of the juice then stir in 300ml of the sorbet syrup. Whisk in the lime juice, vodka and egg white (if using). Process in an ice-cream machine then pack the sorbet into an airtight container and freeze for several hours before serving.
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