Pineapple Chocolate Crunch Gâteau

This is a rich and sumptuous pudding suitable for any Christmas Party. Fresh pineapple is crystallized and then, with other glace fruits and nuts, tops two crunchy layers of dark chocolate sandwiched together with a light cheesecake cream. It is delectable.

Ingredients

  • 1 large pineapple
  • oil for greasing
  • 10 oz (300 g) plain chocolate
  • 2 oz (50 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml spoon) hot water
  • 4 sponge fingers
  • 4 oz (125 g) candied peel
  • 4 oz (125 g) glacé cherries, chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 12 oz (375 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ pint (300 ml) double cream
  • 2 oz (50 g) icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 oz (50 g) curd cheese
  • 2 tablespoons (2 x 15 ml spoons) natural yogurt

To decorate

  • glacé cherries
  • angelica
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml spoon) flaked almonds

Method

Cut the pineapple into slices approximately ½-inch (1 cm) thick or less. Cut off the skin, using a sharp knife, and remove the core with an apple corer. Put the pineapple rings in the bottom of a large, heavy saucepan and just cover them with water. Cover the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for ¾-1 hour until the fruit is soft when you push a knife through it.

Meanwhile, oil the sides of two 8-8½-inch (20-21 cm) sandwich tins and put a disc of greaseproof paper on the bottom of each. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan half-full of barely simmering water. Add the butter and hot water. Break up the sponge fingers roughly and stir them into the chocolate, together with the candied peel and chopped glace cherries. Spread this mixture over the bottoms on the tins and leave it to set in the fridge.

When the pineapple is ready, remove the slices from the pan with a slotted spoon and put them on one side. Boil the water in the pan fiercely until it has reduced to about ½ pint (300 ml) - keep watch as this won’t take long - and then add the lemon juice and granulated sugar, Dissolve the sugar over a low heat, add the pineapple rings and boil, uncovered, over a high heat for 8-20 minutes, skimming at first, until the pineapple looks golden and translucent and the syrup has reduced and thickened; don’t leave it too long, or it will become toffee-like. Transfer the rings to a piece of greaseproof paper to cool and reserve the syrup in the pan.

When the pineapple is quite cold, loosen the edges of one chocolate disc with a knife, turn it out and peel off the greaseproof paper. Put the disc smooth-side down, on a serving plate. Whisk the cream until it is softly thick, stir in the icing sugar and then whisk in the curd cheese and yogurt until the mixture is smooth and thick. Spread this on to the disc of chocolate. Place the second disc, rough-side down, on top of the cream. Arrange the pineapple rings in an overlapping pattern over the top. Cut some glacé cherries in half and arrange them over the holes in the rings. Cut a strip of angelica into leaf shapes or diamonds and arrange the decoratively round the cherries. Stir the flaked almonds in a frying pan over a high heat for a minute or two until browned and then scatter them over the top. Shortly before serving, spoon the reserved pineapple syrup on top of the gâteau.