Growing up in the Northeast there’s been certain summertime staples that I’ve looked forward to. In the Philly area one thing that was always rewarding was water ice. Once upon a time it was made with real fruit, it was flavorful, sweet, cold, and it really seemed like a naturally delicious treat. As I’ve gotten older I’ve began noticing that you find less and less fruit in the ice’s, it tastes more and more artificial and its just not the same. I know its not only my aging taste buds playing tricks with me, the taste is drastically different, its not even close. They hook you with delicious freshly made frozen treats and then go to shit like every other chain in the universe. Quantity vs. quality, its an age old duel where unfortunately quantity almost always takes the cake… or in this case, water ice. I’ve seen the tubs of colored corn syrup flavorings, I’ve missed the fresh fruit chunks, and that’s that, I have to make it myself. I’ve made a good variety of “ice-ee like” frozen desserts. I’ve never quite figured out the difference between water ice, Italian ice, granita’s, sorbets or …whatever else these fruity ice treats might be called. To me they all seem pretty much the same, this to me is a sorbet or water ice. The distinguishing factor for me is that it can be easily frozen in individual cups, and its not creamy or smooth like an ice cream. It is light, and not heavily flavored, its natural and fairly simple. This is a very easy homemade recipe that could not get any tastier, you don’t need an ice cream machine, you don’t need pop molds, all you need is really great quality fruit. I simply puree’d a pineapple and tossed in some mint that I had on hand. Originally I’d anticipated adding some simple syrup however, I find that when you add simple syrups it dilutes the flavor. By adding just sugar it can get a bit grainy. Luckily it is summertime and I had the absolutely perfect pineapple. It was so sweet and ripe, and entirely willing to surrender itself to greatness.
Pineapple & Mint Water Ice:
About 4 cups of pineapple (strawberries, or any other fruit will work)
2-4 mint leaves (depending on size, about 3 medium-large leaves)
Blend pineapple in a blender until it is puree’d, you can leave it somewhat chunky. Once its mostly smooth add the mint and run the blender until you see that the mint has vanished into specks. Add simple syrup as needed. The more you add the more you will dilute the flavor. If you have very fresh fruit you may not need any at all. You should have approximately 2 cups of puree’d fruit mixture. Pour into a freezer safe vessel, I used a standard bread pan. Once the mixture is entirely frozen allow to thaw slightly. To smooth the mixture out break it up with a fork, or even toss it into a food processor. This allows it to smooth out some more and become softer on the mouth. This is entirely optional, you can also just place them into cups and freeze them. They will be much more solid without softening it.
You can serve it scooped, or place it into individual cups and re-freeze until ready for serving.
To Make this into a sorbet- simply chill the fruit mixture until its cold and place in an ice cream maker and freeze according to your machines directions.
Simple Syrup: (If necessary)
You can use a simple syrup for just about everything, you can flavor it with citrus zest for an added pop of fresh, crisp flavor. Lime might be particularly delicious with pineapple and mint. Pineapple mojito anyone?
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
Place sugar and water into a pot or microwave safe bowl, stir together and bring to a boil. Allow to cool entirely. Add to fruit, tea, or cocktails as needed.