Every other week, Anna Hezel talks about the innovations, decorations, and other quiet touches that make a party memorable.
Today: After a few hours in the oven, slices of pineapple are transformed into tropical flowers for decorating cakes or drinks.
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When you're planning a tiki party in Brooklyn, the options for incorporating tropical flora into your decor are fairly limited. You could fly in a few bushels of fresh hibiscus from Hawaii or ... buy a few plastic leis from the local dollar store and call it a day.
While planning my own party over the past few weeks, however, I was delighted to find, among the clever crafters of the Internet, a hack to transform a ripe pineapple into a bouquet of tropical flowers. It's so simple, and yet who would guess that a few hours in a low-heat oven could change a juicy round of pineapple into a delicate little yellow flower?
The flowers are quite convincing too -- complete with a vibrant yellow color and fruity scent. They taste a little like fruit leather, with crispy edges; all the tart sweetness of fresh pineapple condensed into a drier, denser form.
Pineapple flowers like these are often used to top hummingbird cake but would be just as lovely on top of little vanilla or coconut cupcakes. I poked mine with bamboo sticks to make drink stirrers.
- One pineapple (yields about 30 flowers) - Sharp chef's knife - Vegetable peeler - 4 parchment paper-lined baking sheets - Mini cupcake pan
Preheat your oven to 210° F. Cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple, and cut away the skin. (For a full step-by-step on pineapple prep, go here.)
Using the tip of a vegetable peeler, carve out all of the little pockets of seeds that stud the outside of the pineapple. Slice the pineapple into very thin rounds (no thicker than 1/4 inch) and spread out on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
Bake these for about an hour, after which the surfaces of the pineapple slices should appear dry and leathery. Flip the slices over and bake for another hour.
Once the slices are mostly dry and begin to become brittle around the edges, remove from the oven. Set the slices into the divots of the mini cupcake pan so that they dry in the shapes of flowers.
Set on top of cakes or drinks, or keep in a zipper-lock bag in your freezer for up to three weeks.
Tell us: Got other DIY tiki party decorations (or recipes)? Let us know in the comments!