Thursday, July 3, 2008

Piña Colada Sherbet

or possibly sorbet. Whether coconut milk counts is a point on which reasonable men can disagree.

This recipe was inspired by a poor freezer packing job that popped the door open while I was at work a few days ago. Nothing got above refrigerator temperature so no bacterial bonanza, but the impromptu defrosting did no good for the texture of some of my freezer's contents, most notably the bananas (awaiting their turn as smoothie components) which turned into mush.

Well, that's perfect for making ice cream so off I went. Also on hand was a pineapple that I wanted to do something with beyond just eating in chunks so a tropical flavor was in order. In Lebovitz's Perfect Scoop I found a tropical sorbet that used bananas and pineapple, but also tangerines and passion fruit which I didn't have. There was also a Piña Colada sherbet that didn't use banana (as the traditional drink recipe doesn't) but did have the intriguing inclusion of coconut milk. So I decided to improvise something somewhere in between with a few touches of my own.

2 bananas, frozen and defrosted so they get all glorpy
1 1/2 cups pineapple, cut in chunks [fresh is best and the Golden Sweet variety is a good choice.]
1 cup canned coconut milk [not Coco Lopez which is sweetened. I should look into fresh. If I'm going to live in a town where I risk getting conked on the head by falling coconuts I should at least reap the benefits.]
juice of 1/2 lime
1/3 cup Splenda blend or 2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon dark rum [I'm still using up the bottle of light rum I bought last year so I used that]
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 shots vinegar-based hot sauce [for this application I chose Dat'l Do-it Devil Drops which have a bright fruity flavor and lots of heat.] or a little mint extract or just a shot of vanilla if you're not feeling adventurous

Just put everything in a blender, blend until smooth, chill to 40 degrees F, churn as per your machines instructions and ripen overnight.

And here's the end result. The texture is impeccably soft, creamy and smooth with not a hint of ice crystals or fruit fiber and the flavor is that lovely tropical synergy of banana, pineapple and coconut with a just noticeable note of pepper and a trace of burn to round it out. Neither the rum nor the off chemical taste Splenda can have are at all noticeable. If you want to taste the rum, I'd suggest making a rum float instead of adding more to the mix. And it's low fat and relatively low calorie. A big hit in my Weight Watching office.

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