TONY STAPLES: Let the sunshine in with this pina colada mousse

Pina colada mousse with boozy pineapple and ginger cake
Pina colada mousse with boozy pineapple and ginger cake

Escape the gloom of February with this tropical island dessert. One taste and you will feel like you’re on holiday, says Tony Staples, executive head chef of the Arora Hotel.

I got the idea for this pina colada mousse when we were preparing cocktails for a photo shoot in the hotel recently. It was a cold, grey day, but the flavours of the drink brought memories of beach holidays flooding back.

Tony Staples

Tony Staples

So, I thought why not bring that holiday vibe to our dessert menu? The mousse tastes exactly like a pina colada cocktail and is delicious eaten with Jamaican ginger cake, which you can buy from most supermarkets, and boozy preserved pineapple.

Eat it with your eyes closed and you can pretend you are on that sunbed sipping cocktails.

The Grill in the Arora is Crawley’s only AA-rosette restaurant. To book, phone 01293 530000.

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Pina Colada Mousse with Boozy Pineapple

Serves two large portions

2 leaves of gelatine

200ml double cream

25ml Malibu or any coconut rum

50g icing sugar

75ml pineapple juice

For the boozy pineapple:

a fresh pineapple, cubed

200g caster sugar

200ml Malibu or coconut rum

100ml water

Few tablespoons of caster sugar for dipping the pineapple

Jamaican ginger cake to serve


First, soak the gelatine in cold water.

Put the pineapple juice and soaked gelatine into a small saucepan and gently heat until the gelatine has dissolved. Leave to cool.

Semi-whisk the cream until it just starts to hold its shape for a few seconds.

Sift the icing sugar and fold into the whipped cream. Then fold this mixture into the cooled gelatine pineapple mix.

Pour into a dish and leave to set for three hours in a fridge, overnight if possible.

For the boozy pineapple, put the water and granulated sugar into a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Leave to cool, then stir in the Malibu.

Dip the pineapple into caster sugar and grill until it caramelises. Then leave to soak in the Malibu syrup for a day.

To serve, put scoops of the mousse onto a plate with wedges of ginger cake and decorate with the boozy pineapple.

Chef’s tip

The boozy pineapple will keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight container and is delicious over ice cream.

Warm the ginger cake for a few seconds in the microwave before serving.

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