Prepare for dropping jaws: This tropical take on baked Alaska is a total spectacle. The toasted outside conceals a tower of creamy roasted pineapple no-churn ice cream. The recipe makes more ice cream than you need for the dessert, but you will be happy to have the leftovers.
a 1-quart plastic deli/soup container; a candy thermometer; a large piping bag fitted with a large closed-star tip; a 2 1/2- and a 1-inch round cutter; a small piping bag fitted with a small round tip; a kitchen torch
For the pineapple: Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the pineapple and its juices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the pineapple has caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the condensed milk and salt; cover and freeze 30 minutes.
Beat the cream and vanilla bean paste with a stand mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir the chilled pineapple mixture to loosen it up, then fold in the whipped cream.
Cut out a 4 1/2-inch round of pound cake using a 1-quart plastic deli/soup container as a cutter; this will be the base of the Hawaii. (If the pound cake is small, you can form the base out of multiple pieces.) Wrap the cake round in plastic and set aside until ready to use.
Line the quart container with plastic wrap so that 4 inches hang over the sides. Add 2 cups of the pineapple ice cream, smooth the top, cover and freeze until solid, about 3 hours. Freeze the remaining pineapple ice cream for another use.
Top the pineapple ice cream with the pistachio gelato, pushing it down to fill in all the gaps. Unwrap the pound cake round and press it into the top of the ice cream to make it adhere. Cover the top using the overhanging plastic wrap and freeze until solid, 2 to 3 hours.
For the honey meringue: Boil the honey, sugar and 1/3 cup water without stirring in a medium saucepan until a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees F.
Meanwhile, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed until soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. With the mixer running, carefully pour the hot syrup into the whites in a thin, steady stream. (The whites will deflate slightly at first, but as the sugar syrup becomes incorporated, they will thicken, turn white and begin to fluff up.) Continue to whip until very thick and glossy, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a large closed-star tip; set aside until ready to use.
Use a 2 1/2- and a 1-inch round cutter to cut 2 rounds of pound cake. Pipe a tablespoon of the meringue in the center of a cake stand, then invert the frozen container of ice cream onto the center of the cake stand to unmold it, pressing the pound cake base into the meringue to glue it in place. Pipe a teaspoon of the meringue on the top of the ice cream core and press the 2 1/2-inch cake round on top. Pipe another teaspoon of meringue on the top of that cake round and press the 1-inch cake round on top. Working quickly, pipe a wide band of meringue around the circumference of the ice cream core about 2 inches from the bottom. Pipe another band just above so that the two bands touch. Repeat, making two additional bands forming a thick meringue "belt" in the center of the core. Use a small offset spatula to sculpt and smooth the belt into a pineapple shape, with the widest part in the center and tapering at the top and bottom; use more meringue if necessary. Pipe meringue over the two cake rounds on top and sculpt and smooth to completely cover and form the tapered top of the pineapple. Freeze for 2 hours. Store the remaining meringue in its piping bag at room temperature.
For the fronds: Place the attached PDF of pineapple fronds on a rimmed baking sheet and place a piece of parchment on top. Melt the candy melts with 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil, stirring occasionally, in a heatproof bowl set inside a pot of simmering water. Turn off the heat and transfer 2 tablespoons of the melted candy to a small piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Trace the outside border of the pineapple fronds with the melted candy and freeze to set, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir the remaining tablespoon coconut oil into the remaining melted candy in the bowl. Flood the pineapple top by spooning the liquid candy melt into the outlines of the frond. Freeze to harden, about 15 minutes.
Pipe concentric bands of meringue stars to cover the surface of the pineapple. Freeze 30 minutes. Use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue, then freeze at least 10 minutes. Keep frozen until ready to serve.
Right before serving, use a chef's knife to cut a 2-inch slit in the top of the pineapple. Insert the candy fronds into the slit and serve.
Propane gas torches are highly flammable and should be kept away from heat, open flame and prolonged exposure to sunlight. They should be used only in well-ventilated areas. Follow torch manufacturer's instructions for use.
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