Food Display: The Fruit Cascade

The Food Display: Almost as important as the food itself.

More affectionately known to my family as “that pineapple thingy,” the Fruit Cascade has graced the tables of many of our special parties over the years.  I originally got the idea from Miss Creative “Aunt” Dianna, of course, when I was planning the bridal shower for our daughter, Elizabeth.  It was such a hit that I have been creating the “Pineapple Thingy” over and over again for family and friends alike.

Now to share with you the how to:

What you need to assemble  food display –

  • 6 10” styrofoam rounds
  • Small thin dowel rods
  • Several florist picks and “U” shaped metal pins
  • Large tray.  My glass tray is 18” in diameter.  I have also used a large marble slab I got from a discarded antique dresser.  It can be kept in the refrigerator and used to serve the fruit cascade, or I use it anytime for just cheese, fruit, vegetables keeping the servings cold for a longer period of time.

Food display ingredients –

  • Fruit – (the freshest and most beautiful you can find)
  • 2 whole fresh pineapples
  • 2 whole fresh cantaloupes
  • fresh strawberries
  • clusters of black, red, and green grapes
  • Leatherleaf ferns from florist
  • Small flowers and/or babies breath if desired – I’ve even used those little oriental paper umbrellas for an “aloha” themed party.  Be creative.
  • Fruit dip of choice – I’ve included 3 recipes below.  Only one is needed.

Display Assembly Directions –
Stack 4 Styrofoam rounds together.  Then cut 2 additional rounds in half, using 3 of the halves stacked on top of the bottom rounds.  Secure with thin dowel rods cut off at surface of the Styrofoam.  (see photo)

Slice 2 pineapples in half, lengthwise, keeping the top greens intact with the base of the pineapple.  Scoop out the pineapple, leaving shells intact. Store in the refrigerator.

 

Cut the cantaloupes in half, using a scalloped-edge knife or in a saw-tooth fashion.  Carefully separate the halves, discard the seeds.  Using a melon baller, scoop out the balls from the pulp and store in refrigerator.  Smooth out the inside of the cantaloupes leaving shells intact.

 

All of this can be done the day before and stored in the refrigerator in air tight containers.

Next:
Place styrofoam understructure on your serving tray.
Arrange large leatherleaf ferns on tall, ‘back’ side of the styrofoam to hide the foam.  Tack in place with floral picks.  Then, arrange the 4 pineapple shells on back side over the ferns.  Hold in place with floral picks.

Place cantaloupe shells randomly over the front side of the styrofoam, one on “top step,” others on lower “step” level and on your tray.  Secure with floral picks.   At this point you can begin to fill in with ferns or flowers or add babies breath to decorate.  Place cut pineapple, cantaloupe balls and strawberries in 3 of the cantaloupe halves.  I save the top cantaloupe shell for the dip.

Arrange grape clusters over styrofoam securing with floral pins, filling up empty spaces.  Arrange strawberries on remainder open spaces making sure to cover all of the styrofoam under structure.  Finish off by any needed babies breath or flowers and/or ferns.

Add your favorite fruit dip and a spoon for the dip.

Enjoy when your guests ask “Who was your caterer?”

Recipes for fruit dip:

1. Pineapple-Ginger Dip
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup plus 1 T pineapple juice
1 T lemon juice
1 T grated orange rind
1 1/2 to 2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup flaked coconut, toasted
2 T powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate

2. Fruit Dip – Super easy.  I got this from a caterer years ago.
Simply combine 8 oz sour cream, about 1 T of maraschino juice, and 1+ tsp Rum (the real stuff).  Add confectioner sugar until juice is absorbed.  Refrigerate

Or my personal favorite:

3. Coconut Dip
8 oz cream of coconut
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup shredded coconut
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Mix, chill and serve with fruit.

Stand back and watch your guests oohhhh and ahhhh.

The matriarch of Live Pretty, Roseddy, lives with her husband and children in Orlando, Florida. She is a native of Waynesburg, PA, but she has called the Sunshine State home for over thirty years. In addition to being a fantastic cook, Roseddy is an accomplished seamstress and former Home Economics instructor. Her flower arranging talents are the stuff of legend, and she is a valued member of her church’s altar guild. Roseddy enjoys entertaining, traveling with her husband, and, of course, a good martini.

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15 Responses to “Food Display: The Fruit Cascade”

  1. Rae — June 22, 2011 @ 9:03 pm (#
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    Didn’t realize I was one of the honored ones to experience your first “Pineapple Thingy,” it is always an amazing display.

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  2. Orphia Hooper — June 20, 2012 @ 7:54 pm (#
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    Hi, I Love the display, but i need to know where you got an 18inc glass platter from. if you can let me know of any places I can get one. Thanks you Orphia Hooper

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    • Julia replied: — June 21st, 2012 @ 11:47 am

      Orphia,
      The platter we used has been handed down over the years, but I suspect you can get a plastic one from places like Party City and other party/entertaining stores or glass ones from Old Time Pottery. If all else fails, check out an antique market for a special piece to keep.

      Let us know how your Cascade turns out!

  3. Orphia Hooper — June 22, 2012 @ 7:24 pm (#
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    Thanks will look.

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  4. Donna — August 1, 2012 @ 6:21 pm (#
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    Hi! I was wondering if this could be done the night before and refrigerated? Basically the structure with the fruit bowls and add the fruit the next day at time of serving. Thanks! The fruit cascade is beautiful!!

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    • Donna replied: — August 1st, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

      Silly me – I just reread the post and saw that you can do this the night before. So my new question is can you assemble the night before and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate? Thanks, again!

      • Roseddy replied: — August 3rd, 2012 @ 10:17 am

        I have never put the entire display in the refrigerator over night basically because of it’s size and the fact that the cascading fruit might fall off. I suppose you can put it together just past the 4th picture in the directions. I wouldn’t fuss with plastic wrap but simply take a new white kitchen garbage bag, and with someone’s help place it inside the bag for refrigerator storage. (Remember you will be poking holes in the cantaloupes so they might leak slightly over night.) Assemble the cascading fruit, grapes and strawberries before serving and add the dips also at that time.
        Good Luck. Your friends are going to know you have true talent.

  5. Janet Harrell — March 19, 2014 @ 12:29 pm (#
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    This is great and I’m going to try it this weekend. The styrofoam rounds a re a bit pricey and I’d like to do two of these. Do you think I could substitute 2 10″X4″ cake dummies for each, cutting the bottom one in half? Thanks!

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    • Roseddy replied: — April 5th, 2014 @ 11:08 am

      I agree that the styrofoam rounds are expensive. But, I wash and keep them for at least 3 uses. Sure, you could use a cake dummie. As long as a wooden pick can be placed through it for stability of your display, use it. Hope it is a success.

  6. Elaine Brady — May 13, 2014 @ 8:36 pm (#
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    I first saw this display at my sister and brother-in-laws 50th Wedding Annivesery in 1989 in Amerillo, Tx. It was made by their son-in-law who was a chef in the United States Military Service. I was so inspired and impressed by it’s striking beauty, that I took a picture of it for my picture album. About fifteen years later, I made one from memory and a copy of the photo I had taken plus a picture I found in a copy of Southern Living Magazine, for my friend’s Son’s Wedding. We got many complements from their college friend’s. I had no instructions on how to construct this beautiful centerpiece, just the pictures.
    My Granddaughter is getting married in July and I wanted to make this centerpiece for her reception. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found your step by step instructions on how to assemble this beautiful piece of art! It is especially appreciated for this Wedding Reception, as my Granddaughter was the victim of a drive by shooting four and a half years ago in Tucson, AZ, where she was attending Unniversity of Arizona as a dance major. She and some friends were driving to their dorm, when they were hit by gun fire and she was shot in the back with AK47, fired by a gang member. Now after fifteen surgeries, she has met the man of her dreams and will be married, something no one, not even her Drs. thought would ever happen. Her Drs. were the same Drs. who treated and saved Congresswoman Gabby Gifford at the same hospital ! So as you can probably relate, this will be a real privilege to make this a part of her life and I thank you so much!! Bless you.

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    • Roseddy replied: — May 27th, 2014 @ 8:53 am

      Elaine,
      You are so very welcome. This pineapple display has graced many tables of celebration in our lives. I truly enjoy sharing it for the enjoyment of others. I pray your celebration be filled with joy and that blessings abound. Roseddy

  7. Leslie Frysinger — July 28, 2014 @ 7:14 pm (#
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    When I saw your fruit cascade I knew we had to do this for my daughter’s wedding reception. Everyone thought I was crazy, being the Mother of the Bride and attempting this, but with the help of my sisters to cut the fruit and our awesome decorator, who put it all together just prior to the reception it turned out absolutely beautiful. He added a strand of lights and we also had cheese balls and cubed cheese. We had approximately 350 guests so we needed a large quantity of fruit and cheese. I can’t thank you enough for your inspiration and instructions. I would like to send you a picture. What would be the best way to do that? Again, thank you so very much!!

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    • Julia replied: — August 3rd, 2014 @ 11:11 pm

      Leslie – That is wonderful! So glad it worked for you, and, wow, 350 people! What an amazing mom you are! Please send to us at julia@livepretty.com. Can’t wait to see the photos!

  8. Monica — February 18, 2016 @ 1:44 pm (#
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    OMG!!!! That is so beautiful!!!! I can’t think of a near occasion where I can make this…..so I may just have to have a party so I CAN make this!!!!! So very creative and it actually looks pretty simple to do…..especially when you’ve done it several times :-). Thank you so much for the step by step and very detailed information!!!! Can’t wait to try it!!!

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  9. jolanta jakubiec — April 30, 2016 @ 9:03 pm (#
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    thanks so much for beautiful display,i will make it for my 50 th birthday in few weeks,,great talent

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