Today we are making Pera-Piña Dominicana in two ways. The first is the original recipe that most people know about. The second, equally easy to make and tasty, is a caramel version that kids love!
Pera-Piña juice is an excellent way to utilize pineapple offcuts and still have a delicious, creamy, and refreshing beverage.
What Is Pera-Piña?
The name of this delicious drink is a little bit deceiving. It directly translates to “pear-pineapple” in Spanish, which is why so many people are (rightfully) confused about where the “pear” part went!
This is not a drink that contains any pear in it. And none of the versions do! It’s a simple, refreshing drink made from pineapples and rice.
So, where does this misleading name come from?
From what I can tell, there is no origin for this drink. I cannot find any information regarding the country that first “invented” it or how it was “traditionally” made. It just seems like one of those drinks that came into existence by pure luck – like mango and orange juice!
What I can say, though is that the “pear” part could be explained by the fact that this juice does taste a little bit like a pear. It could fool you if someone didn’t tell you what goes into it.
It’s also one of the most popular Dominican beverages, and every household has its version.
Today, I will show you two ways to make this delicious Jugo de Pera-piña recipe. Both are equally easy to make but yield entirely different flavors. Don’t worry, though. They are both still equally delicious!
Version 1: Original Pera-Piña
This juice requires a couple of ingredients. Of course, the hero ingredient would be pineapple and rice.
Some additional flavors I add include some sugar for added sweetness, some vanilla, and some cinnamon. You will also need water to cook the pineapple and rice in.
For the pineapple, you will use the rind and the core of the fruit. So obviously, you cannot use frozen pineapple chunks or canned pineapple.
You can check out the section below for a more detailed guide on removing the rind and core of the fruit. It’s super easy but does take a little bit of time.
You can use any white rice that you’d like. I prefer basic varietals like basmati or jasmine rice. Avoid short-grain or starchy rice types because they could ruin the drink’s texture.
The sugar in this recipe is very customizable; you can even substitute it with a healthier or vegan alternative. Use less of the alternative if it’s sweeter than sugar.
For example, you will only use a teaspoon of xylitol (potentially even less) for the 1/2 cup of sugar in this Pera-Piña recipe.
How To Make Plain Pineapple And Rice Juice
Once you have prepared the pineapple, combine the rind, core, rice, water, and cinnamon stick.
Then, you can bring the ingredients to a gentle simmer. Leave them to cook until the rice is tender and the pineapple rind soft.
Once cooked, the ingredients can be blended until you have a chunky, uniform liquid.
This liquid is strained to remove the pulp. You will be left with a runny and super creamy juice.
Finally, add the sugar and vanilla extract while the liquid is hot. Give it a good stir so that the sugar can start dissolving.
All that’s left to do is to chill the juice and serve it with some ice. It’s that easy!
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Version 2: Caramel Pera-Piña
This version is another one I grew up with. While it’s just as nice as the original one, it’s better suited for occasions like birthday parties. It won’t go as great with a barbecue as the original one will.
There are two major ways this version differs from the original (other than the flavor).
First, you can use any part of the pineapple for this recipe. That also means you can use the flesh you separated from the core and rind for this recipe.
The second big difference is that you are making and adding caramel to the flavor profile.
How To Make Caramel Pera-Piña
You will melt the white granulated sugar over medium heat to make the caramel. Once it has reached a beautiful amber color, you can add the pineapple chunks and leave them to cook a little bit.
Next, you will add the rice, water, and cinnamon. The remainder of the recipe remains completely unchanged, as mentioned above.
Again, it’s just as easy as the first version. It just has one extra step that takes an additional 5 minutes.
How To Prepare The Pineapple For This Pera-Piña Recipe
To prepare the pineapple for the first version, you will start by cleaning the outside. This step depends on the variety that you use. Some pineapple species are very thorny and trap a lot of dirt.
You can rinse the pineapple under cold running water. Even gently brushing it with a vegetable scrubber won’t hurt. That will also help remove any loose and darkened leafy bits.
Remove the spiky head once you feel like the rind is clean enough.
Place the pineapple upright and use a corer to remove the inside.
When the core is removed, set the fleshy part aside. You can freeze it or use it to make the second recipe.
Next, cut the rind into smaller segments. You can also cut the core into smaller bite-sized pieces. Try making all the pieces the same size.
This is also a great way to utilize leftover rind and core from other recipes. It’s a great opportunity to prevent food wastage.
Tips And Tricks For Making This Refreshing Rice And Pineapple Recipe
- This Dominican rice and pineapple juice can also be made with plain cooked leftover rice. You still need to boil the pineapple rind to soften it up. Just don’t add the rice in that case.
- The darker the caramel is for the second recipe, the more intense and even bitter the caramel flavor will be. I like to only heat my sugar until it starts caramelizing. This is somewhere where you can experiment a lot with different flavors.
- If you want to store leftover juice, adding it to an airtight jug is best. This will prevent the juice from oxidizing quickly and absorbing roaming odors inside the fridge. Use the juice within 2-3 days of when you made it.
More Delicious Juice Recipes
Pera-Piña 2 Ways – Easy Dominican Pineapple And Rice Juice
- 1 pineapple
- 1/2 cup white rice, uncooked
- 7 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp granulated white sugar
- 3 cups pineapple
- 1/2 cup white rice
- 7 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Prepare the pineapple according to the guide above. You can also check out my video tutorial to see exactly how I cut the rind and core.
- Next, combine the pineapple rind, core, rice, water, and cinnamon stick in a large pot. Give the ingredients a stir to make sure all the flavors are well mixed.
- Place the pot over medium-high heat. Allow the ingredients to reach a gentle boil.
- Once it starts simmering, leave the rice and pineapple to cook for roughly 20-30 minutes. The pineapple skin should be soft and tender and the rice should be completely cooked.
- When the ingredients are soft, add the mixture to a blender without the cinnamon stick. Make sure to pulse the mixture until you have a uniform liquid. It will be chunky.
- Next, place a sieve over a large mixing bowl. Sieve the liquid to segregate the juice from the chunky pulp. Discard the pulp.
- Add the sugar and vanilla extract to the pineapple and rice juice. Stir the liquid until the sugar has dissolved.
- Encase the bowl with plastic or cling film. Place the sweetened juice inside the fridge and leave it to chill for a couple of hours.
- This juice is best served chilled over ice. It's also best on the same day as you made it.
- To start, add the granulated white sugar into a large pot over medium heat. Leave the sugar to melt and eventually become a caramel or amber color.
- Once you are happy with the color, add regular pineapple chunks. stir them through the caramel so they are all coated well.
- Next, add the rice, water, and cinnamon stick.
- Bring the contents to a simmer and leave the ingredients to cook for 20-30 minutes.
- Once cooked, blend the ingredients together without the cinnamon stick.
- Strain the blended liquid and add the sugar and vanilla to the juice.
- Leave the pineapple rice juice to chill in the fridge before you serve it.