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Pineapple fluff is a traditionally American dessert or side dish that is typically prepared with canned pineapple and either whipped cream, whipped cream cheese, or a commercial whipped topping. There are dozens of variations on this dish, many which vary according to region or family recipe. As it is a generally easy and simple dish to make, particularly in large quantities, pineapple fluff can often be found on the buffet table at large gatherings. While it can be eaten on its own, in some cases it is also used as a pie filling.
While fresh pineapple can certainly be used when making this dish, most cooks prefer the convenience and sweetness of canned pineapple. Typically, the recipe calls for crushed pineapple, which can be more easily blended into the cream base. After the cook drains the crushed pineapple, it is then folded into the creamy base ingredients. The nature of these base ingredients can vary significantly according to the desired consistency and flavor of the finished dish and are typically matched to the recipe depending on the degree of sweetness imparted to the dish.
If the pineapple fluff is intended to be served as a side dish, the base ingredients may often include more savory or tangy items rather than those that impart additional sweetness. For example, it may include cream cheese, cottage cheese, or even mayonnaise. If served as a salad or side dish, the pineapple fluff may be presented on a bed of lettuce or on its own in a bowl so that people can serve themselves. In some areas, pineapple fluff is a common and popular addition to restaurant salad bars and buffet lines.
When pineapple fluff is to be consumed as a dessert, cooks can often experiment with different types of cream bases and may even blend more than one together. At its simplest, the dessert may be blended with a sweetened commercially prepared whipped topping and served. Other variations may add additional ingredients, such as nuts or marshmallows, to the mix. More complicated blends may use cream cheese or even various types of sweetened, flavored pudding. While vanilla is often a good, neutral choice, one popular version of pineapple fluff incorporates pistachio pudding, prepared from a commercial mix, freshly shelled pistachios, as well as the drained, crushed pineapple. Diet versions of the dish may incorporate low-fat whipped toppings along with sugar-free commercial gelatin for additional flavor and color.
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