Friday, June 10, 2011

PINEAPPLE MOJITO

My absolute favorite fruit is the pineapple. Sweet but with a tang they lend themselves to many different recipes...I use them for classics like pineapple upside-down cakes all the way to a marinade for flank steak (their acidity makes a great tenderizer and their natural sugar makes great caramelization).  Right now Kroger has pineapples on sale-10 for $10. This is a ridiculously good deal as usually pineapples are about $5-6 each. So equipped with ten pineapples and no clear purpose I had to get creative. I thought of various tarts or cakes but wasn't completely sold on any of them. And then I had a complete stroke of genius (if  I do say so myself)--a pineapple mojito. Because of a pineapple's acidity it lends itself extraordinarily well as a substitute for lime juice; however because it does not have the bitterness of lime it lets the flavor of spearmint be a little bit more prominent. And of course if you have mint in your garden there is an endless supply, considering it regenerates practically overnight.

A couple of quick guidelines for pineapples:
-like any acidic fruit it should not be refrigerated, the flavor will be compromised
-they produce the best flavor and most juice when fully ripe (gold on the outside, not green)
-you can buy a greener pineapple and let it ripen a few days on the counter
-once ripe and golden on the outside, you want to use them quickly

INGREDIENTS (makes 4 mojitos)
1 whole pineapple
ice (about 4 cups)
4 cups water
1 cup white rum
2 oranges (optional)
1/3 cup sugar substitute like Splenda (or regular sugar)
about 4 sprigs of spearmint
dash of salt

1. Remove the green top of the pineapple. The easiest way to do this is hold the base of the pineapple with your right hand and twist the top where it meets the fruit. It will pop right off.  Once you have done this, cut off the top and bottom of the fruit,  exposing the flesh and creating a level surface for you to stand it up and peel. 

2. Discard of the green top. Set the top and bottom aside, they'll be used in the syrup. For an optional garnish, at this point cut a disc from the fruit about an inch wide.  Cut that disc in half. Cut each half in half again so there are four pieces (leaving the skin on makes for a more attractive garnish). Set garnish aside. Peel the remaining pineapple by slicing down the sides with a sharp knife.  You want to cut deeply enough to remove the eyes (brown spots from the skin) but leave as much flesh as possible. Save the skin and set aside. Once peeled, stand up and cut in half.  Cut those halves down the middle leaving four triangular columns.  Cut the point (the core) off each column and set the core aside with the top, bottom, and skin of the fruit. Cut each of the four columns of fruit into smaller pieces and place in a food processor or blender and add a pinch of salt (helps extract more juice).


3. In the food processor or blender, either put the juice of one orange or about 1/4 cup water to aid in liquefying the pineapple.  Blend until mixture is smooth.  Place a fine sieve over a bowl and pour mixture into the sieve. Press the majority of the mixture though with a spatula. You should get about 1 cup of pineapple juice

4. in a medium saucepan, add the top, bottom, and skin. Add 4 cups of water, sugar substitute, and the juice of the second orange (optional). Turn to medium heat and cover. Let cook for 10 minutes, turn down to simmer and cook another ten minutes. Strain this mixture into a bowl and chill at least to room temperature.

5. Add to the bottom of 4 tall glasses 1 sprig of mint and 4 or 5 ice cubes. Using a muddler (or the handle of wooden spoon), crush the ice and mint together. Bruising the mint like this in the glass keeps all of the flavor from the oil released in the cocktail.


6. Add more ice, about half way up the glass

7. Add 1/4 cup of the pure pineapple juice (not the pineapple syrup) to each glass and 1/4 cup (about one shot) of white rum

8. Add about one cup of the cooled pineapple syrup to each glass, stir with a straw

9. To garnish, cut a little slit in the end of the pineapple wedge and stick it to the rim of the glass, skin side up

10. Enjoy!

5 comments:

  1. Whoaaaa! What a great photo display of this drink preparation. Just got back from Sardengna where I had a chance to taste their infamous Mirto, but back here on the mainland it is warm and we are needing refreshment. This recipe is great. Headed to the market now!!! You should get your name on this drink!!!!!

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  2. Thank you so much! Hope you loved it :) Cheers!

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  3. Yum. Can't wait to try this one. It is two of my husbands favorite things in one drink.

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    1. Thanks, you'll have to let me know how you guys like it! Thanks for reading!

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  4. Absolutely love this drink and look forward to trying! I lived in Hawaii for a little over a year, many years ago and the best way to check if a pineapple is ripe from the locals, is to gently pick one of the inside stems on the top. If one of them comes out gently its perfect. If your gently tugging and it does not let loose -- pineapple is not ripe enough. This trick works like a charm!

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