Pineapple Napoleon with Coconut Sherbet and Tahitian Vanilla Sauce
This elaborate and beautiful dessert combines pineapple and coconut in pineapple-shaped napoleons, accompanied by coconut sherbet. Diplomate cream is pastry cream lighted with whipped cream; for this dessert, it is flavored with pineapple puree and used to layer the pineapple napoleons. While there are many steps to achieving this presentation, many can be completed ahead of time. Make the sherbet, tuiles, hippenmasse, and chocolate cigarettes a day ahead. Be sure to let the tuiles and hippenmasse cool completely before storing, and store them in air-tight containers, as the least bit of humidity will cause them to lose their crispness.
- Coconut Sherbet
- Milk - 5 cups
- Water - 5 cups
- Sweet Flaked Coconut - 12 ounces
- Sugar - 2-3/4 cups
- Unsweetened coconut milk - 1-3/4 cups
- Coco Lopez or Pina Colada mix - 3 ounces
- Coconut Extract - 1 tablespoon
- Sweet Flaked Coconut - 6 , finely processed
- Coconut Tuiles
- Sweet Flaked Coconut - 3 ounces
- Sugar - 2/3 cup, scant
- All-purpose Flour or Bread flour - 1/3 cup
- Egg - 1
- Egg Whites - 2
- Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons (1-1/2 ounces), melted
- Chocolate Hippenmasse
- Almond paste - 14 ounces
- Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Egg Whites - 5
- Bread flour - 1/3 cup
- Cocoa Powder - 1/3 cup
- Chocolate Cigarettes
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 2 ounces
- White Chocolate - white chocolate
- Pineapple Flavoring and Tahitian Vanilla Sauce
- Water - 2 cups
- Sugar - 1 cup + 2 tablespoons
- Pineapple - 1/2, peeled, cored, and sliced
- Tahitian vanilla beans - 1-1/2
- Cornstarch - 1 tablespoon
- Pastry Cream
- Milk - 2 cups
- Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons (1-1/2 ounces)
- Flour - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
- Egg Yolks - 5
- Pineapple Diplomate Cream
- Pastry cream - (above)
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 3/4 cup, beaten to firm peaks
- Pineapple Puree - 1 cup
- Unflavored gelatin - 1/2 packet, softened in 2 tablespoons cool water (optional)
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 1 ounce, melted
To make the sherbet: Combine all ingredients except the coconut extract and finely processed coconut in a heavy saucepan and bring to the point of boiling, then set aside and let cool. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve, then stir in the extract. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions, adding the finely processed coconut when the sherbet just reaches the point of freezing. Pack in an airtight container and store in the freezer.
To make the coconut tuiles: Draw a chunky oval, like a pineapple shape, on a piece of paper. Trace the design on a sheet of stiff plastic, like the lid of a whipped topping container, and cut out the shape. If you are using a lid, trim off the rim to leave a flat piece of plastic with the oval stencil hole in the center, leaving a 1-inch-long piece of the rim to use as a tab to facilitate lifting the stencil.
Chop the coconut very fine. Combine the dry ingredients. Add the eggs and melted butter. Fold in the chopped coconut. Let the batter stand for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper. Place the stencil on a baking sheet and spread a thin layer of batter through the stencil with a thin spatula, then lift the stencil. Repeat to make at least 15 stenciled forms to allow for breakage.
Bake until golden, checking frequently; the tuiles will be baked in about 3 to 5 minutes. The tuiles are very delicate, burning easily; lower the oven temperature if necessary. If they spread as they bake, stiffen the batter with a little more flour. Remove from the oven. Let the tuiles cool for 1 minute, then lift with a thin spatula and cool completely on a rack or sheet of parchment paper. Store in an air-tight container until needed.
To make the chocolate hippenmasse pineapple tops and triangles: Working as you did for the coconut tuiles, draw a series of curving triangles, like pineapple leaves, on a piece of paper, ending with a long pointed oval like the top leaf of a pineapple. Make four leaves on each side, with one final top leaf, scaling the size of the pineapple leaf template to match with the coconut tuile pineapple shapes. Trace the design on sheet of stiff plastic, like the lid of a whipped topping container, and cut out the shape. Cut another stencil for a triangle, 3 inches on each side. If you are using lids, trim off the rims to leave a flat piece of plastic with the stencil hole in the center, leaving a 1-inch-long piece of the rim to use as a tab to facilitate lifting the stencil.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the almond paste and sugar. Slowly add the egg whites to make a smooth paste. Add the flour and cocoa powder and blend. The mixture can be thinned with an additional egg white if necessary. Let rest 15 minutes. Proceed as for the coconut tuiles, using the pineapple leaf template. Make at least 6 leaf patterns to allow for breakage. Make at least 6 triangles. Bake until set, checking frequently as the batter burns easily; the tuiles will be baked in about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 minute, then lift with a thin spatula and cool completely on a rack. Store in an air-tight container until needed.
To make the chocolate cigarettes: Melt the chocolates separately. Warm a sheet pan very slightly with a hair dryer set on low, or with a heat lamp, or by holding it over a warm stove. Spread a very thin layer of dark chocolate over the slightly warm sheet pan and immediately drag a clean comb or plasterer’s comb through the chocolate, making a series of parallel straight lines the length of the pan. Place in the freezer for 3 minutes. Take the pan out of the freezer and spread the white chocolate over the dark chocolate, filling in the lines but keeping the layer very thin. Let set until it loses its sheen. Cut through the chocolate the long way with a sharp knife, making 1/2-inch strips. Cut across the chocolate twice, dividing it into three sections. Using a flat spatula, start lifting one long side of a strip of chocolate, then quickly roll it up like modeling clay with your palms, making a long, thin rolled strip (“cigarette”). Set aside to cool. Lift and roll all the strips. If they become too hard to work, very slightly warm the baking sheet from underneath with the hair dryer set on low, a heat lamp, or by quickly exposing the pan to a warm stove. Store the completed chocolate cigarettes in the freezer until ready to use.
To make the pineapple flavoring and Tahitian vanilla sauce: Combine the water, sugar, and pineapple in a non-aluminum saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, and simmer 6 to 8 minutes, until the pineapple is softened. Remove from the heat and cool. Remove the pineapple pieces from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon and process in a food processor to make a chunky puree. You will have about 1 cup of puree. Split the vanilla beans and scrape the seeds into the cooled poaching liquid, then drop in the pods. Put back over medium heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove the pods, leaving the dark seeds. Stir in the cornstarch to thicken and set the vanilla sauce aside until needed.
To make the pastry cream: Combine 1-1/4 cups of the milk and the butter in a heavy saucepan and bring just to a boil. Take off the heat. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Whisk in the remaining milk into the dry ingredients until smooth. Add the egg yolks and mix until smooth. Stir a little of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture to temper it, then whisk the egg mixture into the hot milk. Put back over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil. Pour out into a large sided baking pan and press plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool.
To make the diplomate cream: Using a proportion of 2 parts pastry cream to 1 part whipped cream, fold the pastry cream and whipped cream together. Fold in the pineapple puree and taste; add sugar if desired. If the mixture is too loose, fold in the gelatin. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
To assemble the pineapples: Make a stencil of thin poster stock, with a diagonal cross-hatch design resembling a pineapple. Make the crossing lines about 1/8-inch thick. The easiest way to make it is to draw the diagonal grid, then cut it out with an X-acto knife. Lay the stencil on a coconut tuile and dust the tuile with confectioner’s sugar; lift the stencil to reveal the pineapple-like design. Stencil the best four tuiles for “pineapple” tops.
Daub a little melted chocolate on the top side of the base of a pineapple leaf chocolate tuile and “glue” it to one end of the best imprinted pineapple-shaped coconut tuile. Set aside to cool. Assemble at least four of these “pineapples” for the tops of the dessert. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Just before serving, place four of the unprinted coconut tuiles on a work surface. Spoon diplomate cream on each, about 1/2 inch thick, spreading it almost to the edges. Top each with another coconut tuile and repeat covering them with the cream. Place an assembled “pineapple” on top of each, cross-hatch lines up.
Dust the rims of four dessert plates lightly with confectioner’s sugar. Spread a pool of vanilla sauce in each plate. Set an assembled pineapple napoleon to one side on each. Next to the pineapple napoleons place a triangular chocolate tuile. Top each tuile with a scoop of coconut sherbet and lay a chocolate cigarette across the top of each scoop. Serve immediately; the napoleons can stand in the sauce only about 15 minutes before they lose their crispness.