Friday, November 6, 2009

Battle Pineapple Gelato

A group of our friends decided to have an Iron Chef potluck dinner party. The battle: Pineapple. We all coordinated between us what course we were to make. How much fun! It was a night of camaraderie and competition with a bottle of pineapple vodka as the prize. Of course!

I chose gelato, which was a straight forward platform to incorporate all flavors I was looking to build. When I was working for a flavor company, in beverage development, fruity tropical drinks were all the rage. To this day one of those flavor profiles I cannot shake. Grapefruit pineapple basil. Thinking about it now just makes me quiver. It is sweet, tart, with a herbal basil aroma. This profile could be boosted with using light coconut milk as the base and potentiating the flavors with salt. The flavors had to steep in the fridge (for several hours), and the texture had to be like velvet. Therefore, nothing could be cut or ground to so fine to the point where I could not strain it. Garnish. This cannot be some plain looking gelato. It needed embellishment. I decided to highlight the two main flavors: pineapple, which was sliced thin and dried in the oven at a low temperature; and basil leaves, which were fried at a very low temperature in vegetable/canola oil. I put the garish in a container of granulated sugar to protect them and sugar coat.

1 whole grapefruit (juice of)
~2/3 pineapple
1 can (low fat) coconut milk (12 oz), unsweetened
1/2 cup basil leaves, chiffonade (cut into very thin strips)
*1/4 cup sugar (*more to taste if needed)
1 tsp Salt

Blend or mill very rough/coarse the fruit + coconut milk + sugar + salt. Turn into large bowl.
Add in the basil. Stir. Chill in fridge for several hours, preferably overnight.
Strain before putting into ice cream maker.

Garnish with crystallized pineapple and basil leaf.

And the end of the night I was declared champion of Battle Pineapple. Now I need to think of some cocktails using that nice Skyy Pineapple Vodka.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure


Unknown said...

Thank you for posting, sounds truly delicious. Just curious: was the entire Iron Chef potluck dinner gluten-free?

Erin Swing said...

Yes, it was.

Brooke (at Brilliant By Brooke) said...

Just finished trying this recipe out - I found it to be way way too sweet! I almost couldn't eat it. :( Very disappointing, since i was really looking forward to it! I would defiantely omit or drastically reduce the sugar next time. I feel like because the pineapple is so sweet, and the coconut milk is also sweet, that would probably be enough.

Thanks for the suggestion of flavor combos, though. Pineapple, basil and grapefruit is definately intriguing.

Erin Swing said...

Brooke - Thank you so much for your feedback. Much appreciated! I know that the coconut milk that I usually buy does not have sugar in it. Maybe the grapefruit I used was extremely sour, too. Hmm.... Will definitely note on recipe.