organic coconut palm sugar, grilled pineapple and banana, chilli and lime sorbet

(december 2010)

December, and the quality of pineapples and bananas in local markets is great so this recipe went on a cooking class or three over the last month. It works really well with a few mango cheeks thrown in as a variation and is a perfect warm weather desert with a hint of savoury flavours (chili and black pepper).

If you don't have an ice cream machine just head to a decent gelati bar and get a lime sorbet or gelati. The rest of the recipe is a no-brainer so it's perfect for a Christmas Day desert; most of it's done over a chargrill, so fire up the BBQ.

Don't forget to be nice to orangutans, their habitats and the farmers in South East Asia at Christmas time; buy hand tapped, small batch, fair trade coconut nectar palm sugar. It costs a little bit more but the flavour is big and the impact small.

organic coconut palm sugar, grilled pineapple and banana, chili and lime sorbet

serves 6

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 limes, juice and zest
2 big mild red chili seeded and brunoised

Combine sugar and water in saucepan, stir and cook over high heat until sugar is dissolved. Boil without stirring for 1 min. Remove from heat and set aside.

Grate the lime zest and set aside. Juice limes and stir into sugar syrup. Add zest and chili (for a hotter sorbet add the chilli to the sugar syrup at the start). Add extra water to make 3½ cups total. Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn until firm (according to machine instructions).

125 g Beach Organics traditional ground coconut palm sugar
50 ml dark rum
150 to 200 ml pineapple juice (from 1 pineapple; just chuck peeled fruit in food processor and strain)
pinch of coarse ground dry chilli flakes (seeded red chili)
4 star anise
2 pandan leaves tied in a knot (or a couple of vanilla beans scraped, or both!)
1 lime, juice and zest

Melt palm sugar in a fry pan with a touch of water. Bring to the boil, reduce slightly to a dark caramel and add some rum, pineapple juice, star anise, chilli flakes, and pandan leaves. Reduce to a syrupy consistency. Add lime juice and the zest.

pineapple and banana
½ baby pineapple, cut into long wedges along the poles, core removed
3 ripe lady finger banana, cut in half down the length
bamboo skewers soaked in water overnight
1/3 cup roasted crushed peanuts
5 sprigs of Vietnamese mint
2 kaffir lime leaf, chiffonade
2 big red chilli, julienne
coarse black pepper

Skewer pineapple and banana with bamboo skewers, brush with a little of the palm sugar syrup. Place on barbecue plate. Turn and cook until slightly burnt. Transfer to a plate, coat with remaining syrup and sprinkle with mint leaves, pepper, chilli, kaffir lime and peanuts. Serve with sorbet.