pineapple cream dessert served in a glass with a cherry on top


Grammie Katie’s Pineapple Cream

A fresh light summer dessert

I got this recipe from my gal pal Ann. We already have one of her recipes posted ANN’S ACORN SQUASH. This one is her Grammie Katie’s pineapple cream recipe. When Ann was growing up it was a family favorite. There was a standing request that she bring it to all family get togethers.

When Ann told me about her grandmother’s pineapple cream dessert she had recently moved. All her recipes were in a box packed away. She promised to give me the recipe when she located it. And I didn’t let her forget I was waiting for it. 😊

Last fall while I was visiting she started sifting through her now unpacked recipes. She found it!

Grammie’s pineapple cream dessert

While copying the recipe I didn’t pay too much attention to what I was writing. So when I took out the recipe to make pineapple cream the ingredients caught me off guard. It has 4 ingredients and 2 short lines of instructions. I had never seen these ingredients together before.

What surprised me most was that the ingredients were all natural. I somewhat expected that a box of pudding, a can of sweetened condensed milk or cool whip would be in there somewhere. I didn’t stop to think how unlikely that was since this is Ann’s grandmother’s recipe and we are now grandparents ourselves. People in that generation were a lot more likely to stick with unprocessed or minimally processed foods, even after they became available.

The surprising ingredient

So I have told you there are only 4 ingredients in this recipe: 1) canned pineapple 2) sugar 3) cream. No surprises there. And the 4th ingredient is what? The 4th ingredient is unflavored gelatin. I couldn’t wrap my head around mixing heavy cream with gelatin.

In the 40s and 50s gelatin dishes were quite popular. Gelatin mixed with fruits or vegetables and put in molds was a big thing back then. Even if you didn’t put it in a mold, mixing a flavored gelatin with canned fruit was a popular, light dessert. But there was no cream in those desserts, except for a heap of whipped cream from a can on the top if you were lucky. πŸ˜‹

I wondered where the idea of adding unflavored gelatin to thicken cream came from.

Has this happened to you?

I bought the ingredients for Grammie’s pineapple cream and made it. It wasn’t much of a surprise to me that this strange mix of ingredients made a dessert different than any I have eaten before.

As I started writing this post I was considering how I was going to describe this dessert. It’s not a pudding really, more like a custard, but this doesn’t require time in the oven. With a quart of heavy cream, it tastes much like whipped cream with pineapple in it, but this is more firm than that. It is almost like ice cream but not as sweet and the consistency is a little different. It is firm and creamy. So what should I call it?

And here comes the “guess what happened”. I took a break from taking pictures of this delectable dessert and a cooking show was on TV. And what was the chef making? A dessert with the same ingredients, except there was no pineapple. It’s was panna cotta. I have seen panna cotta on the menu at Italian restaurants but never ordered it. Until now I had no idea what it was.

The chef explained that panna cotta means “cooked cream” in Italian. You don’t cook the cream in Grammie’s recipe. The panna cotta was a little jiggly like jello. Grammie Katie’s pineapple cream is firm. But in general, this dessert is much like panna cotta with the main ingredients being cream and gelatin.

Isn’t it a mind blower when the answer to a question you have been thinking about comes your way out of the blue? It makes me wonder if there are answers to other questions being given to me all the time and maybe I am just not paying attention. πŸ€”

Grammie Katie really lucked out

According to Ann, Grammie Katie was asked to bring this dessert to all her family get togethers. Now that I have made her pineapple cream and found out that making it is as close to “no work’ as you can get, I can’t help but think she really lucked out.

What about you? Is there a special dish that you are always asked to bring to a get together of friends or family? Some of the dishes I have been asked to bring over the years were lasagna, potato salad, chicken pot pie, just to name a few. But one thing they all had in common was they took forever to make. It took a half day longer just to shop for the ingredients of those dishes than it takes to make pineapple cream. I could have saved a lot of time, money and effort if I had found a delicious, quick, easy and economical dish like this one to make for those pot luck occasions.

Next time I’m asked to bring something to a get together, I am bringing Grammie Katie’s pineapple cream. If you often find yourself sweating over a hot stove making the pot luck dish you are known for, I suggest you do the same. This recipe is a proven winner. Katie had it right!

Here’s what YOU WILL NEED:

canned crushed pineapple cream sugar gelatin
1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple
2//3 cup sugar
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup water to dissolve the gelatin
1 quart heavy cream


The ingredients don’t get any simpler than the ones used in this recipe. The one ingredient that might be new to you may be unflavored gelatin. It will be found with flavored gelatins and boxed puddings at the grocery store. It’s only one small area in that whole section so you will probably have to look for it. It will be a small box with unflavored gelatin packets inside.

Canned pineapple is commonly sold in 20 ounce cans. When I buy crushed pineapple I always buy it packed in 100% fruit juice. When trying out this recipe I wanted to use crushed pineapple packed in heavy syrup. I couldn’t find any.

Grammie’s original recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar. I increased the sugar to 2/3 cup. Using the pineapple packed in fruit juice it needed to be a bit sweeter. I suspect the original recipe was made with pineapple packed in heavy syrup. As I recall, the option to buy fruits packed in juice wasn’t available when we were growing up. All canned fruits were packed in heavy syrup. The heavy syrup would have made the pineapple cream sweeter. The 2/3 cup of sugar gives it that touch more sweetness it needs. This isn’t meant to be a really sweet dessert. It is fresh and light; a great ending to a summer meal.

This is WHAT TO DO:

This is one of the easiest recipes you will ever make.

Add the gelatin to 1/2 cup cold water and stir until it is dissolved. Leave it to set.

Simmer the canned pineapple and the juice from the can with 2/3 cup sugar and simmer for 10 minutes.

Let the pineapple and sugar cool to lukewarm.

Mix together the simmered pineapple and the solidified gelatin in a large bowl. Make sure the gelatin is fully incorporated into the pineapple mixture. Add the full quart of cream and mix it in thoroughly.

Let it set in the refrigerator, covered, overnight.

If you want to to fancy up your pineapple cream mix everything in a nice serving dish. Or if you want to cut the pineapple cream in squares to serve it, you can use a glass baking dish. Don’t use a metal pan though. You are likely to get an after taste. Stick with glass or ceramic vessels.

Here’s what it looks like.

Prepare the ingredients

canned pineapple and sugar in saucepan and gelatin dissolved in water

Simmer pineapple with sugar for 10 minutes

crushed pineapple and sugar simmering

Once cooled mix ingredients together

cream in measuring cup gelatin and bowl with crushed pineapple

Cover and refrigerate overnight

pineapple cream dessert mixed in bowl ready to refrigerate

When it has set up in the refrigerator overnight it is ready to serve

pineapple cream from side  in clear serving bowl
Grammie Katie’s Pineapple Cream
A family favorite.

pineapple cream dessert served in a glass with a cherry on top


Pineapple cream is a light, not too sweet, fresh refrigerated dessert with only 4 natural ingredients and couldn't be easier to make. It's a proven winner.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Time to set in refrigerator 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 20 minutes
Course Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Servings 12
Calories 339 kcal


  • 1 can crushed pineapple 20 ounce can
  • β…” cup sugar
  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin
  • Β½ cup water
  • 1 quart heavy cream


Prepare the Ingredients

  • Add the 2 packets of unflavored gelatin to 1/2 cup cold water and stir until dissolved.
  • Empty the can of crushed pineapple with the juice to a small saucepan. Add the sugar to the saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Then cool until lukewarm.
  • Get a large bowl and pour the lukewarm pineapple mixture in it. If you want to dress it up use a nice serving bowl. If you want to serve it cut into squares use a glass baking dish. (Don't use a metal pan)
  • The gelatin will be jelled. Add it to the lukewarm pineapple in the bowl and mix well until it is fully incorporated.
  • Add the full quart of cream to the bowl and slowly mix all the ingredients together.
  • Refrigerate overnight. It will be firm when it is fully set.


This is Ann’s Grammie Katie’s all time family favorite. She was asked to bring it to all family get togethers. It’s a great no cook summer pot luck dish that is quick, easy and economical to make, but also a great, not too sweet everyday dessert.


Calories: 339kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 2gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 22mgPotassium: 134mgFiber: 1gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 1183IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 0.2mg
Keyword 30 minutes or less, 5 ingredients or less, all natural dessert, fruit desset, no cook dessert, pot luck dish, summe dessert
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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