I’ll admit, I’ve been planning this one for a while. Like, pre-Dice Fudge a while. I just wasn’t particularly inclined to buy a pineapple since the only pineapple I’m familiar with has either been prepared or canned. I don’t know what to look for in a pineapple. I just don’t. Pineapple Pikachu went on the back burner for the moment.
This year I received a pineapple for Christmas. No, really. A whole freaking pineapple (along with some grapefruit, mango, and kiwi, but still– pineapple). My family’s a little weird.
I love fresh fruit and adding chocolate makes the dish feel fancy and decadent. With a little planning, this is a fairly simple treat to put together. Admittedly I did not plan very well, having never worked with fresh pineapple before. Expect a few ‘Chef’s Notes of Facepalm’ sprinkled in here and there to help your heads and tails turn out a little better looking than mine did. Here we go.
Gamers, grab your mats:
- whole pineapple, crown and stem removed
- chocolate chips (I used the leftover small bag of Nestle dark chocolate chips from the Dice Fudge recipe)
- wooden skewers
- (Optional) red Candy Melts or any red jelly/jam (i.e. strawberry, raspberry, cherry, etc.)
Start by cutting away the spiny outer casing of the pineapple. You will need a large, sharp knife for this. The key to this is to remove the bare minimum to get as much pineapple as possible. You should see little brown eyelets all over the fruit; leave this on for now.
Cut two circles from the bottom side of the pineapple (important, as the bottom will yield larger circles). Trim the brown eyelets off the edges of these circles with a small, sharp knife. I worked in a sort of spiral from the outside which worked quite well and produced less waste. Set pineapple circles aside. Take your large knife and cut the main fruit vertically in quarters — 3/4″ thickness or better is ideal for skewering. Like so:
Chef’s Note of Facepalm: When setting pineapple circles aside, press between several layers of paper towel to remove excess juices. I ended up regretting not doing this later. Oi.
Working carefully, take the two end pieces of the main fruit and cut them vertically at the top eyelet line as shown below:
Set aside end pieces for later. At this point, a little cleanup is necessary. Wipe your cutting board down and press all slices between layers of paper towel. Spoiler alert: removing this excess liquid will keep fruit from expanding too much in the freezer. Less expanding = less cracked chocolate coating = GOOD.
Chef’s Note of Facepalm: I was not thinking about this until everything had been in the freezer for half an hour. Stupidstupidstupid.
Once your excess liquid has been dealt with, set your first vertical pineapple slice on your cutting board. Using a wooden skewer, lightly trace out the outline of Pikachu’s tail. It should look something like this:
Trace out your Pikachu tail outline on one side of the remaining three slices. Carefully cut away the excess pineapple so that only the ‘tail’ remains. I used a special knife for this to keep the cuts crisp and precise. DO NOT OVERLAP YOUR CUTS INTO THE TAIL. If this happens to any of the tails, eat your shame and tell no one so no one will know the difference. The structural integrity has been compromised and it is not salvageable. (I did. -1 tail, +1 happy belly.) Set your cut tails aside on aluminum foil.
Take one of the vertical pineapple ends and make three horizontal cuts for a total of four (about 1/2″) pieces. You will probably have some leftover. Any leftover scraps of pineapple should be saved in a separate bowl for later. Unless you hate pineapple and are making this as a gift. Pineapple-hater. Yes, I’m judging you.
Uncover your two pineapple circles. Take your Pikachu ear pieces and cut to size:
Now it gets a little tricky: Pikachu’s ears are not going to stay on like that. Take a skewer and break/cut it into four pieces of equal length. Poke a hole in the 10 and 2 o’clock positions on the outer edge of your Pikachu heads with skewer segment; remove skewer, Poke another hole in the flat base of your Pikachu ears. You should be able to insert the skewer pieces into the heads and attach the Pikachu ears now. When doing so, do not push the ears flush with the head; leave a small gap.
Next, insert two full (unbroken) skewers into the bottom of your Pikachu heads for stability. When inserting these, make sure your skewer goes into the tough core of the circles. Make a single ‘test hole’ in the bottom of your Pikachu tails as well. You’ll want to insert these skewers at a slight angle to prevent skewer from piercing through fruit. Remove skewers from the bottom of your heads and tails and set aside.
Freeze ears, heads, and tails for about 30-60 minutes or until solid.
Empty chocolate chips into microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted; my small bag took a full minute. Stir. Remove frozen pineapple from freezer.
Remove ears from heads, leaving skewer pieces in ears. Dip ears about one-third to halfway into chocolate (depending on size). The chocolate will begin to solidify almost immediately on frozen fruit so work quickly. If (read: when) you get any unwanted chocolate buildup, take another skewer and gently run the skewer along the side with the buildup to remove the excess. Set finished ears on aluminum foil. Using the same foil for this part is perfectly okay as long as you flip it over. Dip base of tails into chocolate, again using a skewer to remove excess chocolate. When dipping your tails, you may need to use a spoon to cover the nooks and crannies.
Once your dipped ears and tails are solidified it’s time for assembly.
Chef’s Note of Facepalm: Before inserting skewers into tails through your original ‘test holes’, dip about 1″ of your skewer tip into the melted chocolate. This will act as a stabilizer and will prevent your pineapple from sliding off easily. Do the same when reattaching the ears to the heads and re-inserting the dual skewers into the base of the heads. This is pretty basic stuff and I’m kicking myself for neglecting to do this.
(Optional: If you want to make the red circles on Pikachu’s cheeks, make a small hollow in each cheek with a small, thin knife blade. Do not pierce pineapple circle. This is much less likely to happen when your pineapple is frozen, but be aware. Spoon a small amount of red jelly/jam or melted red Candy Melts into hollow. Using a skewer, draw black chocolate outlines just outside of these filled hollows. This will both add definition and prevent your filling from sliding down the face.)
Freeze your finished product one last time for 30-60 minutes. If you were diligent about your excess juice removal you should experience little to no cracking. Miraculously, only one of my tails cracked, but it was not noticeable. Whew. Once finished, these should be eaten quickly. Store any uneaten heads and tails in the freezer; do not leave out or in the refrigerator.
You still have a bunch of leftover melted chocolate, right? Feel free to dunk your scrap pineapple into your remaining chocolate as well. It’s a double treat! As you can see, removing extra liquid and using chocolate to secure your pieces together is key to your little Pikachu’s turning out the way you’d like them to. Regardless of my personal frustrations, these were really fun to make and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another pineapple to try again. As always, let me know what you think! Your feedback is appreciated and I’d love to turn your suggestions into recipes!
Up next: Dragon Ball — Senzu Bean Jelly Beans