This pineapple filling makes a great filling not only for cakes and cupcakes but also for other desserts like ice cream, pancakes, cheesecakes, and tarts.
The good thing about making your own fruit fillings such as this pineapple filling is that you get to make it fresh. And you get to adjust the consistency and the level of sweetness in it too.
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Some people like fruit fillings that are smooth, while others like them with visible chunks of fruit in them. This recipe is for a smooth pineapple filling. I prefer pineapple filling to be smooth, especially when making cheesecakes (like in my pineapple cheesecake) and when used as cake fillings. It makes cutting the cakes a lot easier and neater. I also have another recipe for pineapple topping, in which I used chopped pineapple. It has tiny chunks of pineapple and is more suitable for individual desserts such as mini cheesecakes or even cupcakes fillings. And it is also great as ice cream toppings too.
And of course, the other flexibility in making your own fruit fillings is the ability to control the amount of sugar that goes into it. I used brown sugar in my recipe which gives my pineapple filling the deep gold color. If you choose white sugar (which you can), the filling will be of a brighter yellow color.
All in all, this homemade pineapple filling recipe is simple and easy – it only requires 5 ingredients, i.e., pineapple, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and water. All of these are basic pantry staples (except for the pineapple which can be substituted with canned pineapple). What is more, the whole process of making your own pineapple filling takes less than 30 minutes to be ready!
How to Make Pineapple Filling
- Fresh (or canned) pineapple
- Cornstarch (mixed with some water)
- Lemon Juice
- Water (or pineapple syrup if using canned pineapple)
Option 1: Pineapple filling with fresh pineapple
Peeling & processing the pineapple
Start by peeling the pineapple and cutting it into small cubes. If you are not sure how to peel a pineapple, be sure to check out my step-by-step tutorial and video here.
Cooking the pineapple filling
- Place the cut pineapple cubes into a food processor. Add the water and blend until smooth.
- Once done, pour the processed fruit into a medium-sized pan.
- Add lemon juice.
- And then add the sugar. Turn on the fire to low heat and let the filling cook slowly. Keep stirring to avoid it burning. Let the filling simmer slowly until it turns slightly deeper golden brown.
- Add the cornstarch (mix it with water first) and stir quickly and thoroughly to avoid it clumping.
- Once the pineapple filling thickens up, turn off the heat. To check if the filling is ready, gather it to the center of your pan. If it stays in place without spreading out too quickly, the filling is ready. Let it cool before transferring it into a clean container. Keep it refrigerated until ready to use.
Option 2: Pineapple filling with canned pineapple (crushed pineapple, pineapple cubes, and pineapple rings in syrup)
Preparing the fruits
Place the pineapple cubes (or the crushed pineapple) in a food processor. If using pineapple rings, chop them into smaller pieces first. Add the sugar syrup and blend to a smooth paste.
Cooking the filling
- Pour the processed fruit into a medium-sized pan.
- Add lemon juice.
- And then add the sugar. Mix and let the mixture cook and simmer over low heat until it thickens slightly.
- Mix cornstarch with water and add to the pan.
- Stir quickly and thoroughly. Continue to cook until the filling thickens further and reaches your desired consistency.
- Remove from heat and let it cool completely before storing it in a container. Keep the filling refrigerated until ready to use.
Most fruit fillings start with fruits and sugar as the main ingredients. Cornstarch is added to thicken the filling and lemon juice is often added to enhance the taste.
- If you are using canned pineapples to make this pineapple filling, they are soaked in sugar syrup which makes their taste consistent.
- If you are using fresh pineapple, however, it is important that you choose a pineapple that is well ripened. Unripe pineapples will be bland and less flavorful.
- There are 2 methods that I use to choose pineapples. The first method is by ensuring the pineapple is not too hard (or too soft as this could indicate the fruit has gone bad inside). This is not a very easy method, especially if you are not used to it. Generally, pineapple skin tends to be hard even after the fruit has ripened, but when compared with an unripe one, you will be able to feel the difference. A ripe fruit will somewhat be slightly softer when pressed (hold the sides of the pineapple with your fingers and give it a squeeze).
- The other method that I often use is doing a smell test. Often, ripe pineapple will have a sweet pineapple fragrance. However, you will only often be able to smell this at the bottom or base of the fruit. So if you want to check if a pineapple is ripe, pick it up and smell the base of the fruit. If you get the pineapple fragrance, the fruit is ripe.
- If you are not able to find a pineapple that is fully ripe, you can buy an unripe fruit and continue to let it ripe at home. Simply wrap it well with a newspaper (you can remove the crown and the stem at the bottom of the fruit by simply snapping them out) and keep the fruit wrapped in a cool and dry place. Check every day for progress.
- The sugar used in this recipe is brown sugar, hence the deep golden color of the cooked filling. You can substitute it with white sugar if you wish, and your filling will be of a more yellowish tone.
- Also, you will note that the amount of sugar used for the filling recipe that uses fresh pineapple is the same as the filling recipe with canned fruits. Though I initially thought that the syrup from the can would be sufficient to sweeten the filling without the need for additional sugar, I was wrong. The filling tasted bland, and a few rounds of trial and error proved that the amount of sugar for the fresh pineapple option and canned pineapple option should be the same.
- Lemon juice is added to the filling simply to enhance its taste. It’s used in very little quantity but definitely makes a difference to the taste of the filling. If you leave the lemon juice out, your pineapple filling will still be ok, but there will be a difference in taste.
- Cornstarch is added to the filling to thicken it without drying it out. You can omit the cornstarch and continue to cook the filling until it thickens up, however, when thickened in this manner, what effectively happens is that the liquid in the filling dries up, resulting in a thicker, but drier filling.
- Adding cornstarch to the filling helps to thicken the filling without drying it up, and this consistency is better for most fillings particularly cakes and cupcakes, and when the filling is used as a topping for pancakes and ice creams.
Pineapple Filling Recipe
Here is the full printable version of my pineapple filling recipe.
And that’s that. My homemade pineapple filling recipe with options for using fresh pineapple as well as canned pineapple.
Here are my other posts you might want to check out:
- Pineapple Nata Jelly – An Easy Tropical Konnyaku Dessert
- Pineapple Lychee Jelly – An Easy Fruit Jelly Recipe
- Strawberry Filling Recipe
- Pineapple Jam without Pectin
- Blueberry Filling Recipe – Quick & Easy Homemade Recipe
- Pineapple Cheesecake with Coconut Cookie Crust