On every tropical trip, my family walked over to the extravagant Hyatt hotel in the late afternoon on Tuesdays and Saturdays. (We stayed in condos nearby; we were too messy to spend a week cramped in one tiny room!) After strolling around the lush gardens and lagoon-style pool, we claimed couches on the terrace for the evening entertainment.
The night began with a traditional torch lighting ceremony. Natives ran down between the ferns, one sounding through a conch shells while another two handled the flames. Then Leilani stepped on stage to sing both sweet and lively Hawaiian songs while her little hula girl students danced in front.
If we behaved during the day and didn’t beg too much at night, our parents sometimes treated us to smoothies during the show. My brother favored fruity flavors like guava and strawberry, while I chose chocolate (and rarely shared a single sip!).
We never asked for piña colada smoothies though. Our young taste buds considered coconut “icky,” and Mom feared that the bartender would forget to make them virgin. But had I know piña coladas contained pineapple — one of my favorite fruits — I would’ve ordered them every time!
The hint of cinnamon adds a fun twist to the traditional piña colada flavors!
6½ c diced fresh pineapple (about 1 medium)
½ c flour, divided
½ tsp cinnamon, divided
¼ c brown sugar
3 tbsp shredded sweetened coconut
5 tsp coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350°, and lightly coat an 8”-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, stir together the pineapple, 2 tablespoons flour, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining flour, cinnamon, sugar, and shredded coconut. Cut in the coconut oil with the back of a fork.
- Pour the pineapple mixture into the prepared pan, and sprinkle with the flour mixture. Cover the pan with tin foil, and bake covered at 350° for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10-13 minutes, or until the coconut begins to brown. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
Note: This is best served the same day it’s made; the topping can turn a little soggy from the pineapple juice!
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