Why It Works
- The floral sweetness and mellow acidity of fresh pineapple give this ice cream a balanced flavor.
- Cornstarch reduces the need for eggs, keeping the flavor fresh and the texture smooth.
- A splash of lemon juice cuts through the dairy's richness, helping the pineapple's flavor stand out.
- In small doses, vanilla extract can amplify the aroma of fresh pineapple.
This light and fluffy pineapple ice cream tastes tangy and bright, as refreshing as sorbet but ultra creamy. It's the perfect summer scoop all on its own, or the base of a fizzy pineapple float when combined with a splash of pineapple syrup topped with club soda.
- 6 ounces plain or very lightly toasted sugar (about 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons; 170g)
- 3/4 ounce cornstarch (about 3 tablespoons; 20g)
- 1/4 teaspoon (1g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
- 2 large eggs (about 3 1/2 ounces; 100g)
- 10 ounces fresh pineapple purée (about 1 1/4 cups; 285g), from about 1 small pineapple (see note)
- 2 ounces fresh lemon juice (about 1/4 cup; 55g)
- 8 ounces heavy cream (about 1 cup; 225g), straight from the fridge
- 1/2 to 1 ounce light rum or rhum agricole (about 1 to 2 tablespoons; 15 to 30g), optional
- 2 or 3 drops vanilla extract
In a 3-quart stainless steel saucier, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs, followed by pineapple purée and lemon juice. (If you like, save the pineapple core and lemon rind to make a no-cook pineapple syrup.) Cook over medium-low heat, whisking gently but constantly, until warm, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium and continue whisking until thick and steaming-hot, about 2 minutes longer. When the custard begins to bubble, set a timer and continue whisking for exactly 30 seconds to neutralize a starch-dissolving enzyme found in egg yolks.
Strain through a nonreactive sieve into a nonreactive container, then whisk in cream, rum (if using), and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until no warmer than 40°F (4°C), then churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Meanwhile, place a 1-quart container and flexible spatula in the freezer.
When the ice cream looks thick and light, shut off the machine and, using the chilled spatula, scrape ice cream into the chilled container. Enjoy as soft-serve, or cover with plastic pressed directly against surface of ice cream, then close lid and freeze until firm enough to scoop, about 4 hours.
To purée a pineapple, trim off the ends, skin, and eyes, cut out the core, and crosscut it into slices, then process with a blender until smoothly puréed. The pineapple can be puréed just before use, or up to 3 days in advance. In the latter case, refrigerate the pineapple purée with the lemon juice in a nonreactive, airtight container until ready to use. If you like, save the leftover pineapple core and lemon rind to make a fresh, no-cook pineapple syrup.