Baked pineapple with crispy rice and roasted white chocolate

    This is an amazing dessert; however, with this recipe you are entering a chef’s world: using caramel and roasting white chocolate. Those of you who have worked with chocolate before will know that it does not like extreme heat. However, the results are quite interesting, so get stuck in. A little advice: buy yourself some really good baking parchment – that cheap stuff just will not do. Interesting information: pineapples do not ripen once they are cut from the plant, they just rot, so if a pineapple is under-ripe when you buy it, that’s how it will stay.

    SERVES 6
    600g good-quality white chocolate
    1 ripe pineapple
    50g demerara sugar
    120g granulated sugar
    good pinch of sea salt
    80g popped rice cereal – that’s right, breakfast cereal
    20g unsalted butter
    Let’s do the technical bit first. Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan 130°C/gas mark 2, no more, no less. Chop the chocolate with a sharp knife; don’t be too particular, it’s going to melt anyway. Place good-quality baking parchment on a baking tray, then add the chocolate. Spread it around so it is in an even layer, but keep it close together, you don’t want stray pieces because they burn.
    Set a timer for 10 minutes, then place the chocolate on the middle shelf. At 10 minutes remove from the oven, stir, then pop back in for two minutes. Remove and cool. When cold, chop roughly and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
    Increase the oven temperature to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas mark 7. Slice off the top and bottom of the pineapple, stand it upright and, from the top to the bottom, slice off the skin. Then, using a sharp knife, hold the pineapple in your hand and slice ‘V’ shapes along the lines of the eyes to remove them. Stand the pineapple upright and cut it in half, then cut each half into three wedges and slice off the core (the firmer bit on the sharp side). Well done.
    Put the wedges in a high-sided tin. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar, then bake for 15 minutes, turning once to coat in the sugar. Remove and allow to cool.
    Finally the rice. Place a strip of good baking parchment on a work top as you will not have time later – about 50cm long should do. Using the largest frying pan you have, add 40g of water, the granulated sugar and salt and bring to a simmer. Do not stir, otherwise you run the risk of crystallising the sugar.
    When the sugar is just beginning to colour at the edges, add the popped rice cereal and stir constantly until the pieces are a golden brown. Be careful, this will be very hot.
    Remove from the heat, then fold in the butter until melted and immediately turn out on to the baking parchment, flattening it out a little to help it to cool, then leave to completely cool and set. When set, smash with a rolling pin. Be careful though, you don’t want it all over the kitchen and you want to keep some texture and some shards. Store in an airtight container until needed, or for up to 4 days.
    To serve, carve the pineapple wedges into thin slices, add a line of white chocolate crumbles along the plate and top with the pineapple, then sprinkle on the crispy rice. This should be enough but, if you wish, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream … better still, white chocolate ice cream, if you can find some.