PAN-FRIED PINEAPPLE WITH CARDAMOM ICE CREAM

The joy of this dessert is in the beautiful contrast of the spiced, hot, tropical pineapple with the cold, sweet, exotic cardamom ice cream. I tend to whip this up after dinner when friends come over, because the ice cream can be made in advance and the fried pineapple in 5 minutes (and the end result looks far more impressive than the effort required).

NOTES: You’ll need to begin this dessert a day ahead to allow time for the ice cream to freeze. An ice-cream maker will make life easier too.

Serves 8

1¼ cups whole milk
1¼ cups heavy cream
1¾ teaspoons ground cardamom (or finely ground seeds from 20 pods)
¾ cup superfine sugar
5 egg yolks
1 large ripe pineapple
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
a pinch of ground cloves
seeds of 1 pomegranate

If you’re making the ice cream by hand, clear a big space in your freezer for a large, flat plastic container. If you’re using an ice-cream machine and you need to freeze the bowl beforehand, put it in the freezer now. Pour the milk, cream, and cardamom into a saucepan and heat gently until small bubbles start to appear around the rim of the milk, but it’s not yet boiling, stirring frequently. Take the pan off the heat and leave to infuse for 15 to 20 minutes.

Strain the mixture to sieve out the cardamom seeds. Then whisk the sugar and egg yolks together in a mixing bowl until pale and fluffy. Very slowly whisk the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar. Pour all the mixture back into a saucepan on very low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, then take off the heat. Whatever you do, don’t let the custard boil, as you’ll end up with sweet, cardamom-y scrambled eggs.

Leave to cool in the fridge overnight, then either churn in an ice-cream machine or pour into a plastic container and freeze, beating furiously once every 30 minutes for 3 hours, or until frozen solid.

To make the pan-fried pineapple, cut off the top and the base of your pineapple and discard, then stand it upright and cut away the skin from top to bottom. If there are “eyes” still left in the sides, gouge them out with the tip of a knife. Cut the pineapple into quarters lengthways. Remove the hard core from each quarter, then cut each into four, to make 16 wedges.

Put the butter into a large frying pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the pineapple wedges. Turn every couple of minutes until they start to caramelize and brown, then add the honey, lime juice, and cloves. Stir-fry for another minute and take off the heat. Serve the pineapple alongside a scoop of cardamom ice cream and scatter liberally with pomegranate seeds.