Martha Stewart Living, January
Yield Makes one 7-inch cake
FOR THE MERINGUE
- 1 2/3 cups almond flour
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 2/3 cup superfine sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE PINEAPPLE
- 1 large ripe pineapple (about 4 3/4 pounds), peeled, halved, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 2 cups pineapple juice, plus more if needed
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
FOR THE PINEAPPLE BUTTERCREAM
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 6 large egg yolks
- 12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
FOR THE PRALINE
- Vegetable oil, cooking spray
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh pineapple juice
- 3 ounces blanched sliced almonds (1 cup)
- Make the meringue: Pulse flours and confectioners' sugar in a food processor until combined. Sift 3 times.
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment, and draw two 7-inch circles on each. Flip parchment over. Whisk whites, cream of tartar, and superfine sugar with a mixer on medium speed until combined. Gradually increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla. Fold in flour mixture in 3 batches, adding each batch before previous batch is fully incorporated. Spoon batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip. Starting in center of each circle, pipe a tight spiral to edges. Bake until dry and crisp but not browned, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool on sheets.
- Make the pineapple: Puree 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, and reserve for buttercream. Mix juice, granulated sugar, and salt in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, whisking occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Add the remaining pineapple slices to skillet. Bring to a simmer, and cook until pineapple is light golden brown and liquid is syrupy, 45 minutes to 1 hour. (Add more pineapple juice if liquid evaporates too quickly.) Let cool in skillet.
- With a slotted spoon, remove pineapple slices from syrup, and coarsely chop. Puree 1/2 cup caramelized pineapple with 2 tablespoons syrup, and reserve for buttercream. Transfer remaining caramelized pineapple to a bowl and syrup to another bowl.
- Make the pineapple buttercream: Bring sugar, corn syrup, and water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Boil, undisturbed, until mixture registers 245 degrees on a candy thermometer.
- Meanwhile, whisk yolks with a mixer on high speed until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then pour hot syrup in a slow, steady stream down side of bowl. Increase speed to high, and whisk until mixture is pale, thick, and warm, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition. Increase speed to high, and whisk until smooth.
- Reduce speed to low, then add caramelized pineapple and fresh pineapple purees. (Buttercream will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature, then beat on low speed before using.)
- Make the praline: Line a baking sheet with parchment, then coat with spray. Bring sugar and pineapple juice to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Cook, undisturbed, until mixture turns amber and registers 320 degrees on a candy thermometer.
- Remove pan from heat, wait until bubbles subside, then stir in almonds. Immediately pour mixture onto prepared parchment. Using an oiled offset spatula, spread to a 1/4-inch thickness. Let cool, then finely chop.
- Assemble the cake: Place 1 meringue layer on a platter. Gently brush layer with 2 tablespoons reserved caramelized pineapple syrup. Spread 1/3 cup chopped caramelized pineapple on top. Spread 3/4 cup buttercream on top, then sprinkle with 3 tablespoons chopped praline. Repeat twice, then top with remaining meringue circle. Refrigerate until buttercream is firm, about 1 hour. Cake will keep, uncovered and refrigerated, for up to 1 day. Garnish with more praline if desired.
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