Pineapple Brown Betty (A good topping for gluten-free coconut pancakes)

I liked to cook when I was a kid.  I found that I could convince my mother to let me eat much less healthy food if it was couched in enthusiasm about learning how to cook for myself.  I remember making pineapple brown betty when I first moved to Hawaii when I was 9 years old.  I think that it may have been our  “local” adaptation of an apple brown betty recipe from a wonderful cookbook for children that I had called “Let Me Into the Kitchen!”, which seems to be out of print now.  I learned how to make banana bread and pizza dough from this book.  Apple brown betty is a sauce for pancakes made from butter, brown sugar and apples.  It tastes even better if you use pineapple.  I think that we only made it one time.  I distinctly remember begging my mother to let me make another batch a few days later.  Her stern response was, “That is not the sort of food that you should eat all the time Erin.”  Which was the same line she gave me when I went through my banana coconut cream pie making phase about a year later.

I had forgotten about the pleasures of this delicious, low-brow pancake topping until I recently had some leftover canned crushed pineapple from making a gluten-free carrot cake.  It is just as good as I remembered.  It might even be better now that I make coconut pancakes!  This breakfast makes me feel like I am on a tropical vacation and eating brunch at a hotel restaurant on the beach, which is a nice fantasy if you are in fact eating breakfast in the dim winter morning light of your Brooklyn kitchen.

The moral of this story is, teach your children how to make this pancake topping at the peril of their future ability to not eat junk food for breakfast.

You can find the gluten-free coconut pancake recipe by clicking here.  These are some seriously tasty pancakes even if you are not allergic to gluten.  I HIGHLY encourage you to toast some unsweetened coconut and sprinkle it on top.


  • Between 2 and 4 Tablespoons of slated butter
  • between 2 Tablespoon and 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • About 1 cup of canned crushed pineapple, drained (or if you are very lucky person chopped fresh ripe pineapple)
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
  1. Gently melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the sugar and stir until the granules melt.
  3. Add the pineapple and cook, stirring occasionally until the extra liquid from the pineapple cooks away. Sprinkle wit ha bit of cinnamon if you like.
  4. Serve on pancakes such as these coconut pancakes sprinkled with toasted unsweetened coconut.

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