Growing up, my only exposure to pineapple was the sour, fibrous, cardboardy stuff you find at continental breakfasts in crummy hotels everywhere. I blame it on being a child of the North. Never did I enjoy the classics which the rest of country was so rightly making—pineapple upside down cake, pineapple and marshmallow fruit salad, or pineapple margaritas.
Hold up on that last one. I was able to score a pineapple margarita as part of an ill-conceived dinner at an inadvisable Mexican restaurant during a meal I sorely regret. The drink sucked eggs. Way, way too sweet eggs. And bad tequila. (Can you suck bad tequila? I don't know. But if you can, don't.)
Something about the drink stuck with me. In thinking about it, I realized it failed utterly as a cocktail because it tasted like melted sorbet. It became, almost by definition, a case of "when life gives you lemons." Why not make it into sorbet? March is the start of pineapple season and a bright, fruity sorbet is a great way to trick your brain into thinking it's summer.
If your pineapple is anything less than achingly ripe, roasting the chunks of cut fruit will draw out their sweetness. A couple minutes of roasting is all you need—any longer and the pineapple will start to taste too "baked." Some tart, tangy aleppo chile adds brightness, warmth, and a gentle heat to counteract all the sugar necessary to make the sorbet scoopable. As for the tequila—the ingredient that started this whole line of thinking—honestly you can leave it out and the sorbet will still taste fantastic. But I appreciate the subtle vegetal complexity that a mere tablespoon of the spirit offers. The result is a pineapple dessert that erases all notions of Holiday Inn's day-glo sins against this noble fruit.
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About the author: Max Falkowitz writes Serious Eats' weekly Spice Hunting column. He's a proud native of Queens, New York, will do just about anything for a good cup of tea, and enjoys long walks down the aisles of Chinese groceries. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.