adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Once we'd cranked out a batch of Jeni's Salty Caramel Ice Cream, we were eager to try her method for another flavor.
So we looked at what we had on hand in the kitchen. When Zach's parents had come to visit a week ago, we'd purchased a fresh pineapple at the supermarket. Why, exactly? We're not sure. It was one of those "company's coming!" impulse buys that marks the arrival of visitors. ("Oh, maybe they would like to eat fresh pineapple while they're in D.C." "Definitely." "And maybe some string cheese?" "For sure.")
Needless to say, the parents came, the parents went, and the pineapple remained untouched. So there it was, ripening upside down on our counter.
Then, last week, Clay met up with his friend Rachel for coffee, and she showed up with a huge bag of pineapple sage that she'd plucked from her yard. It was beautiful and fragrant, and we instantly knew just what to do with it.
Pineapple sage? It was a sign!
We got to work on a Roasted Pineapple and Sage Ice Cream.
After reading through several recipes in Jeni's book, we decided to roast the pineapple before pureeing it. That evaporates some of the water, bringing out a sweeter, more concentrated flavor. (And after roasting in the oven for 25 minutes, the pineapple became gorgeously caramelized, and our house began to smell like a delicious upside-down cake.)
We pureed the fruit, and proceeded with Jeni's standard ice cream method, creating, cooking and chilling an ice cream base that we infused with the sage. (We loved using pineapple sage here, partly for its flavor, which is sweet and fruity and goes great in this recipe. Mostly, though, we liked the poetry of pairing pineapple and pineapple sage. Regular sage should work fine, too.)
Then it was time to freeze the base, and that's where we made a misstep.
We'd pureed more pineapple than we needed, so we decided to try to ripple the leftover puree through the ice cream. That was a mistake: The water content in the puree was too high, and the finished ripple was a bit too icy. In the recipe below, we've omitted the ripple, instead incorporating a higher dose of puree into the ice cream base.
Minus the ripple, we were extremely pleased with this ice cream. Roasted Pineapple and Sage Ice Cream is sweet, creamy and fragrant. And even better, you can apply the method using other fruits and herbs you have on hand.
That is, if your mother-in-law doesn't eat all the pineapple on her next visit.
Roasted Pineapple and Sage Ice Cream
adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer
Purchase a copy of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Makes about 1 quart
3 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 2-inch pieces
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup packed sage or pineapple-sage leaves
For the pineapple: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss pineapple with 1 tablespoon sugar. Spread in single layer in glass baking dish or a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until pineapple begins to soften and caramelize, 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly. Puree pineapple in blender or food processor until smooth, leaving you with a bit more than 2 cups.
For the ice cream base: Mix 2 tablespoons milk with cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
COOK: Combine remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
CHILL: Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add pureed pineapple and blend well. Add sage. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
FREEZE: Strain out the sage by pouring the mixture through a fine sieve. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker and spin until thick and creamy.
Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.