Spache the Spatula

Piña Coladas…Molecular Gastronomy Style

I have a weird Friday “drink” for you today!

Piña Coladas...Molecular Gastronomy Style | #recipeA while ago, Mikey got me a couple of molecular gastronomy kits as gifts. I haven’t really used them (aside from in a dressing for this salad), because I’m always a little lost as to what I should do with a ll the strange ingredients. But, a stroke of inspiration hit me recently and I thought of a play on piña coladas (because I can’t stop craving everything tropical and coconut-y).

I actually made two versions: one that is super molecular gastronomy-y, and one that is more accessible to everyone.

So what are they? The first one is a popping sphere of a mixture of pineapple juice, coconut juice (which is really this coconut-grape blend that I really love…you could substitute light coconut milk), and Malibu rum, with a foam made of pineapple juice and Malibu. It looks like an egg which is kinda perfect for Easter.

The popping spheres are pretty much exactly like those popping bobas you can get, only bigger. They’re surprisingly easy to make, and I felt like a crazy chemist in my kitchen while making them—it was AWESOME.

I also think the spheres would be delicious in a little pool of coconut milk or Coco Lopez, instead of the foam, if you want something a bit richer. Then, they would look even more like eggs!

Piña Coladas...Molecular Gastronomy Style | #recipeThe second is the same mixture used for the popping spheres, but just frozen into cubes. I poured some Malibu over them, and topped it all with the same foam. You don’t have to include the foam, but the only “weird” ingredient it contains is soy lecithin, which I know is sold by Bob’s Red Mill if you don’t have a molecular gastronomy kit.

Piña Coladas...Molecular Gastronomy Style | #recipe

Piña Coladas…Molecular Gastronomy Style

Piña Coladas…Molecular Gastronomy Style


    for the popping spheres:
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup Malibu rum
  • 1/4 cup coconut juice (I use this, but feel to sup light coconut milk)
  • 1 gram calcium lactate
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 grams sodium alginate
  • for the foam:
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup Malibu
  • 2 grams soy lecithin


    for the popping spheres:
  1. In a bowl, combine the pineapple juice, Malibu, coconut juice, and calcium lactate. Stir with a spoon to combine.
  2. Portion into circular silicone molds (or really any small molds), and freeze for 90 minutes, or until frozen.
  3. In a bowl, combine the water and sodium alginate. Blend with an immersion blender for 3-5 minutes until combined (it should look all gelled). Let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Drop a few of the frozen spheres into the solution and stir gently. After 5 minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon, and place in a bowl of water to rinse.
  5. Remove the spheres from the water with a slotted spoon and drain by pressing the spoon onto a paper towel. Serve.
  6. for the foam:
  7. In a rectangular dish or tupperware, combine the pineapple juice, Malibu, and soy lecithin. Blend with an immersion blender for 4-5 minutes until foamy. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then spoon off the foam and serve.


*If you want to make the cubes, you can leave out the calcium lactate, freeze, and serve with extra Malibu poured over top.

recipes adapted from Molecule-R Cookbook

Piña Coladas...Molecular Gastronomy Style | #recipe


2 Responses to “Piña Coladas…Molecular Gastronomy Style”

  1. hungryrosa — April 21, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Ooh, how cool! I don't think I understand molecular gastronomy but the end product looks really neat 🙂

    • Rachael replied: — April 21st, 2014 @ 9:12 pm

      Thanks! Molecular gastronomy is basically just food science. A lot of people like to describe it all sorts of fancy ways, but it's just exploring what you can make food do 🙂

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