Until I was nine or ten and learned about Super Mario Brothers, the best thing I could imagine winning was the serving of fruit cocktail that held the one lipstick-colored, smashed half of a maraschino cherry.
If you don't understand this reference, canned fruit clearly didn't feature as heavily in your childhood as it did in mine.
Almost every entree had its canned-fruit accompaniment. Hot Dogs? Canned Pears. Meatloaf? Canned Peaches. Fish Sticks? Canned Fruit Cocktail, obviously.
You're filled with envy over my childhood now, aren't you? Just wait. I haven't even told you about the Beans 'n Franks yet.
It was at that point that I began my love affair with canned pineapple: sweet, tangy, and soaking in a syrupy nectar that you might get away with drinking straight out of the emptied can if your parents' backs were turned. And if you made yourself an upside-down cake with it...well, then you could have your maraschino cherries, too.
This recipe is like a classed-up version of pineapple tidbits, and almost as easy as opening a can. Simmered in a spiced syrup, fresh pineapple cooks just until softened and soaks up the surprisingly perfect flavor of cinnamon. And if you happened to drink a spoonful or two of the syrup on its own?
I won't tell if you won't.
Fresh Pineapple Poached in Cinnamon Syrup
barely adapted from Ed Behr
in Bon Appetit
Water [ 1 1/2 cups ]
Sugar [ 3/4 cup ]
Cinnamon Sticks [ 3, broken in half ]
Fresh Ginger [ 3 slices, each 1/4-inch thick ]
Lemon [ 1 slice, 1/4-inch thick ]
Fresh Pineapple [ 1 large, about 4 1/2 pounds, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges, then crosswise into 3/4-inch thick pieces ]
1. In a large pot over Medium heat, stir together Water, Sugar, Cinnamon Sticks, Ginger, and Lemon until Sugar has dissolved.
2. Bring to a boil.
3. Cover; simmer 10 minutes.
4. Add Pineapple to Syrup.
5. Simmer Pineapple until it starts to turn translucent [ about 7 minutes ].
6. Discard Ginger and Lemon.
7. Pour Pineapple and Syrup into a bowl.
8. Refrigerate until cold [ at least 2 hours ].
Serves 4 to 6.