The concept of matching the flavours of food and beverages is as old as the concept of dining itself. Traditionally, this has been the domain of wine and fine dining, but innovators such as Spain’s El Bulli and Singapore’s Tippling Club bought cocktail and food matching into its own. With a host more flavours and textures at the hands of such chefs and bartenders, the results are often astounding and altogether more exciting than the traditional matches of food and wine. This concept has, however, been tending towards the molecular and is hardly the domain of the home chef and bartender.
So in the spirit of this column, where we provide readers with an easy ‘at home’ recipe, we sought out a collaborator who could help us deliver a food and cocktail matching that the common cook would be capable of re-creating. With the thought of a dessert-style drink in mind, I was desperate to contract the services of Ian Burch and Darren Purchese (Burch & Purchese). Their star has been rapidly rising, especially since the recent launch of their Sweet Studio on Chapel Street in South Yarra.
My invitation for collaboration was met with an enthusiasm I didn’t expect. Their willingness to create something was inspiring and after much communication a perfectly formed pineapple and coconut mousse emerged from their Sweet Studio-cum-laboratory. This was a response to my proposal to make a pina colada in one of its alleged original forms – which involves the use of a fresh, hollow pineapple as the vessel – and incorporating some of their delicious retail products.
Why a pina colada in winter? The dawn of cold months conjures thoughts of dark spirit drinks drunk silently by a roaring fire, but I wanted to move away from these classic spirits that dominate winter drinking and instead create something capable of transporting you to a warmer, more inviting environment – even if only in spirit.
Moreover, the pina colada itself is an amazing drink that has fallen victim to some hideous substitution and bastardisation. You see, the key to the whole pina colada puzzle is an ingredient known as Coco Lopez, which is sadly not available in this country. This ingredient formed the basis for the original recipe and is effectively a coconut-flavoured sweetened condensed milk invented in 1950s Puerto Rico.
Translated literally as “strained pineapple” the pina colada name speaks volumes for the original simplicity of the drink. It’s my wish that you use this recipe to get a little closer to the drink in the form it was originally intended.
500 g pineapple puree
300 g whipping cream
50 mls Malibu coconut rum
100 mls sugar syrup
5 sheets leaf gelatine
Whip the cream with 100ml of the pineapple puree. Warm the Mailbu and sugar syrup, and dissolve the gelatine in the liquid. Combine the rest of the pineapple puree and Malibu solution. Add both to the cream/pineapple mix and blend to a smooth, creamy consistency. Allow to set in moulds in the fridge.
2 large scoops Burch and Purchese coconut ice cream
1 tablespoon Burch and Purchese spiced pineapple jam
45 mls pineapple juice
25 mls lime juice
60 mls Sailor Jerry spiced rum
Combine all the ingredients in a blender, milkshake maker or a cocktail shaker and mix.
Strain into a glass, or for the full tropical transportation effect try a hollow pineapple or empty coconut.
A trip to the Sweet Studio will be met with delight and intrigue as you’re faced with an ever-changing array of cakes, individual desserts, chocolates, jams and preserves, ice cream, sorbet and anything else that takes the fancy of these whimsical pastry chefs. Their creative processes are most commonly shared on Twitter and following their stream is a constant source of intrigue and escapism. Their handle is @burchpurchese, if you’re that way inclined.