Pineapple in Iced Jasmine-Infused Syrup (สับปะรดลอยแก้ว)

Ask any random older Thais who grew up eating traditional Thai sweets — the types that are wrapped and steamed in banana leaves or served from clay pots — to comment on the state of Thai desserts, and you’ll get an earful. They’ll express to you either outrage (“Thai desserts are more fattening than Western desserts? Bollocks!“) or a combination of scorn and despair (“Kids these days don’t know [insert the name of a traditional Thai dessert] anymore. They just want panna cotta and tiramisu!“). Often, you’ll get both.

This discussion is probably best reserved for a later time in a different post. For now, let me just say one thing. Different desserts may have come and gone, but as long as the weather in Thailand remains as hot and humid as it is, one category of traditional Thai desserts will never ever go out of popularity: fruit loy kaew [1] (ผลไม้ลอยแก้ว).

A loy kaew is essentially a fruit (or a mélange of loy kaew-able fruits) cooked gently in simple syrup and served cold, topped with crushed ice along with the syrup in which it’s cooked. The concentration of the syrup and the length of cooking time vary according to the fruit. Firmer, astringent fruits, such as santol (kra-ton กระท้อน) which is often served loy kaew-ed, would require sweeter syrup and longer cooking time than more delicate fruits like papaya, lychee, or pineapple would.

The syrup is often infused with aromatics, most commonly in the form of fresh tropical flowers such as jasmine. Sometimes, dried spices are used. This pineapple loy kaew which you’re looking at here is inspired by a unique recipe in an old cookbook belonging to my mother; it calls for whole cloves which I’ve found to be a brilliant spice with which to infuse pineapple. But being used to the scent of jasmine in my fruit loy kaew, I felt compelled to also infuse the cooled syrup with fresh jasmine flowers. Luckily, the jasmine scent and the warm aroma of cloves don’t clash at all.

Pineapple in Iced Jasmine-Infused Syrup (สับปะรดลอยแก้ว)
(Serves 6-8)
Printable Version

thai dessert
One large under-ripe pineapple
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 whole cloves (optional)
About 1/4 cup fresh jasmine flowers or 1 teaspoon jasmine extract
Crushed ice

  • Peel, core, and cut the pineapple into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Place the sugar, water, and cloves in a large pot; bring to a gentle boil.
  • Add the pineapple pieces to the syrup, bring the mixture to a gentle boil once more, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and allow to cook, uncovered, for 5-8 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and let the pineapple cool completely in the syrup. Do not cover the pot.
  • Once the mixture has cooled completely, fish out the pineapple pieces and set them aside.
  • Fish out and discard the cloves.
  • Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer.
  • Stir the jasmine flowers into the strained syrup and let the mixture infuse at room temperature for about 2-3 hours, then strain out and discard the flowers. If you don’t have jasmine flowers, simply add the jasmine extract to the syrup and you’re done.
  • To serve, divide the pineapple pieces between 6-8 dessert bowls, add the syrup to each bowl, top with crushed ice. Serve immediately.
  • [1] The official transliteration for ลอยแก้ว is loi kaeo.

    9 Responses to Pineapple in Iced Jasmine-Infused Syrup (สับปะรดลอยแก้ว)

    1. virginiawillis July 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

      This looks delicious — and perfect for Georgia summers, too!
      Bon Appetit, Y’all! Virginia Willis

    2. Marilou Garon July 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

      Mon Dieu!!!! Just for my information, are jasmine flowers easy to come across? Do you buy them… at the florist? Will post results soon, this looks fantastic.

    3. Admin July 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

      Marilou – In Thailand, yes. In North America, not really. 🙁 You either have to grow a jasmine plant or, in my case, know someone who does. Jasmine is pretty easy to grow indoors, though.

    4. Michael July 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

      This is the perfect link for all of the people in the Midwest and East Coast of the US suffering in the sweltering heat. This is a simple dessert that showcases the use of florals in desserts.

      If you cannot buy malee (Jasmine) fresh or don’t have a friend that can supply it to you, you may be able to purchase Jasmine essence/syrup at your local SE Asian grocery. Be careful as a little will go a long way.

      Speaking of Thai desserts, one of my most treasured items is an old copy of สารคดี magazine which showcased Thai desserts along with a history and significance of each one. I still look at the magazine occasionally carefully turning the pages to preserve its condition. I love that magazine like your mom loved her cookbooks, Leela.

      A couple of weeks ago I was at a Thai restaurant and told the girl in Thai, “I would like one order of sangkhaya fak thong.” She looked at me and responded to me in English and said, “What’s that?” Then I told her in English, “Pumpkin custard.” She then said, “Oh, I don’t know what its called in Thai.” I didn’t show it but instead I rolled my eyes in my mind and thought to myself how sad it is that some Thai kids in America don’t know the names of common Thai food. I guess I would fall into the second group of people at the introduction of your post. I must be getting old!

      Thanks for sharing a simple yet wonderful dessert with everyone.

    5. Admin July 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

      Michael – I love it when you drop by. 🙂

    6. raimoungpineapple October 31, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

      I was very happy to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
      Raimoung Pineapple

    7. online job January 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

      I have never tried to add jasmine! But it looks very nice and smell wonderful!


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