Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pineapple Fluff

For my first attempt at recreating a remembered 'pudding' from childhood, I used Lyn McCallum's mother's recipe, which Lyn scanned and emailed to me from Cape Town. Her mom is 95. It seemed to embody the essence of all the recipes I have been sent since my request some posts ago, and for which I am very grateful. Thank you!

Click on the picture below for the recipe ( I did not line the dish with pineapple).

Ideal milk. Canned pineapple. Jello. Ingredients so wrong in terms of how we cook and think today that I was attracted immediately like a wet moth to a hurricane lamp.

So wrong they reminded me of the emergency rations I kept, as we were advised to, post 9/11. Imagining a sort of nuclear holocaust I bought everything in tins or dessicated. I even had fake ham in pink jelly. And fruit cocktail. I figured that in those dark days without power, hope or running water, I would need something to look forward to, and fruit cocktail seemed about right. It had those red cherries in it. I ate it all piecemeal and guiltily in the months that followed, as planes descended normally, as they constantly do, through the New York skies, and when I no longer started up in fear at the slightest noise overhead.

The evaporated milk I bought, hoping that it was the same as "ideal", was weird. A pale beige colour, and smelling the way I remember powdered milk; although why we drank that when I was little I don't know...perhaps in a game reserve, far from shops and refrigeration.

The instructions said to whip it, so I did, thinking nothing could come of it. But it did! An amazing, beige froth appeared, just like the crazy sea foam whipped up in a storm before Christmas last year in the Cape, and come onshore like a sea monster, houses-deep on the south coast. We saw the storm's remnants on a beach at Cape Point, below.

I made the jelly, which tasted fantastic, full of yellow dye and artificial flavours, added the pineapple juice, and added that to the milk, then the pineapple pulp, and poured them into my souffle dish, not being the owner of a pretty glass bowl. Sniff.

We had bowlsful after supper. We were in love. The texture was ethereally light and frothy. The flavour deeply pineapple-y. Like an uber-souffle from a very French book. A little of the canned milk flavour came through, and I decided to tinker next time and halve the quantity of milk, replacing it with whipped cream.

The cat adored it. It has knocked peach yogurt off the pedestal it occupied in his cat-dessert-heaven mind. He asked for more, got it, and wiped the bowl clean with his pink tongue.

The Zululand pineapple in the first picture? I had to. My Auntie Doreen lived in Zululand. They were selling them at the Chelsea Market, only about 4" high and a mere $3.99 each. Yes, costly. Very sweet.

I cut them into scented chunks and served them with Pineapple Fluff Two, the one with whipped cream. But we ate so fast, there are no pictures.

Next time, I will puree real pineapple, strain its juice, whip cream, use gelatin and make...pineapple mousse. For it will no longer be pineapple fluff, and the whole point will have been lost.


  1. So that was Pineapple Fluff.... Sort of familiar! I was tickled to think of a foodie like you tucking in with such enjoyment.

    When we were kids and ate anything brightly-coloured with chemicals and added sugar, we would make two-tone jelly, using one pack to make the (usually raspberry) standard stuff, and once it had set, making up another with evaporated milk and water. It was then poured on top of the first layer, or even in glasses set at an angle. We thought we were the bee's knees....

    How's the cat's shoulder, BTW? I had a cat who over-groomed when stressed, and could create completely hairless wrists and ankles. Quiet calm in the house and a soothing voice helped him to stop.

  2. Ellen, you make! Seriously good.

    Rachel - Hmmmm I like the two tone idea! In Cape Town we make something called Le Blob, with your best French accent, please. It's champagne (or any bubbly), sugar and cherries. And gelatin. The bubbles get stuck in the jelly and it is dee-lightful (and still alcoholic, as a eight year old discovered, to his glee, once upon a time). I love jelly. I think I'll make lots while we're there, and will experiment with your Two Tone.

    How's James???

    Cat is out of the woods we think and is allowed to go nekkid while under supervision. Fur has grown back over the healed wound. We don't think it's us stressing him out, but then both of us of have been stressed this year and it's possible he picks it up. If we do raise our voices or if I get upset about something and it comes out in my voice, his eyes go black and he advances to bite me. We really are awfully nice to him and he is a biter when he feels like it. The original wounds I think were from the New Dawn rose as it's near a basket he likes to sleep in, so I've fixed that.

  3. I think I will. I was going to wait for your final variation, but I think it would be good to try all the different incarnations. Oh! I've already thought of my first variation. I have grape pulp from the swamp grapes, and I'll do it with grape jello and evaporated milk. Combining the foraged with the entirely artificial. I know someone who would disapprove.

  4. I really enjoyed this blog post. I do believe gelatin was my favorite dessert food growing-up and any other fruit that could be added to jello with cream, would send me over the top.

    Loved the post!

  5. Ellen - I cannot think to whom you are referring. Swamp grapes. As in...v. labrusca? Scuppernongs??? Jealous.

    Hi Velva - thank you. I'll be working on some good un's in January for you...

  6. See if Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk works in the receipt. (It must be Eagle Brand -- accept no substitutes.)

    Glad to hear that His Dominicanness is better. The striped suits were nattily nautical, but maybe a little too Beatrix Potter for the 21st century. I had a cat who bit, nipped more than bit, and then bolted from the room -- but only if I sang (and I can't say that I blamed her).

    There are wild grapes on the vines clinging to the walls (the exterior walls) at work. All this talk of foraging and jam is inspiring me. . .

  7. Fluff! It's my aunt's "jelly-foam!"
    I did wonder, when you asked for recipes...Oh! I've just had a time trip to 1952. George Vl had died and there was a national minute of silence. My aunt was making the jelly-foam and had to stop stirring out of respect.
    And now I'm remembering how we set jellies (and aspic) in the well at Granny's house.Probably a blog post in that!

  8. i don't know at what point you intend to add fresh pineapple to gelatin but be aware:

    i think this is true for kiwi as well.

    i hate being the party pooper.

  9. Dinahmow that is a blog post!

    Donna! ha! You know, I had vague memory of adapting (ie effing up)a Georges Blanc passion fruit mousse to pineapple (fresh) and seeing it all flop. Thank you!

  10. Thank you for the recipe, my Mum has been trying to recreate this recipe from her own childhood for as long as I can remember, with only limited success. As soon as she saw this recipe she KNEW that this was the ONE. Thank you very much.


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