Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pot Luck Pleasers, The Best Fruit Salad, Trifle Style!

I love me a good potluck! Heck...I'm a Mormon for goodness sake...we potluck after everything!
Whether it's a baby blessing, baptism, funeral, missionary farewell or homecoming... It's just what we do. We get together with our friends and family. Whoever is hosting usually takes care of the meat and then the rest of us bring salads and sides. It's great! And summer is upon us so it's the perfect time to get together for a BBQ or backyard potluck party with family or friends. But, then the always nagging question..."What should I make?" takes over!  So, today I am going to start a new mini series of Potluck Pleasers, meaning a series of blog posts where I will be sharing my favorite, tried and true recipes. These are the dishes that I have taken to many a potluck and they never fail to invoke "I need that recipe" and "who made that..." So maybe you need some new recipes to take to that get together. Well these will be the ones that are my best! I sometimes make up my own recipes, sometimes I just share ones that someone else came up with, sometimes I don't even know where a recipe came from, but I think good things should be shared!!
Here is the salad, trifle style.

The first recipe I am sharing is a fruit salad recipe that my mother has been making for years. I have no idea where her original version came from. The original recipe contained Maraschino Cherries. I like them, but I think it's better with Bananas instead so I tweaked it a bit. Here is my version. I also like to serve it "Trifle Style" just because I think it's prettier. It does not contain cake. (I know, bummer right?!)

Fruit Salad Recipe:
Ingredients you will need:
Cream cheese, softened 8 oz
White Sugar, 1 Cup for pretzel mix,  and another 1/2 Cup for cream layer/mixture and 1/2 Cup if you use real whipping cream for the top to sweeten the cream.
Cool Whip, the medium size, 16 oz or if you prefer the real thing, go ahead and use real whip cream it's good too
Whipping cream, 1 pint
Pretzels,1 Cup smashed
Butter, 1 cube
2 Bananas,sliced
Mandarin Oranges, two small cans, drained
Pineapple Chunks or Tidbits if you prefer them smaller, one large can, drained

First, Preheat Oven to 400 degrees, then, Crush, smash, roll over your pretzels with a heavy rolling pin on a cookie sheet until you have small pieces, set aside, melt one cube butter in sauce pan, add 1 cup white sugar when butter is fully melted, then add the pretzel pieces and stir until pretzels are coated, then spread the pretzel mixture out onto the cookie sheet as thinly as possible and put in 400 degree oven for about 7 min. This time may vary depending on your oven, you just want the sugar/butter to caramelize, but not burn. When caramelization has occurred, then stir the pretzels until they cool and stick together in little "nuggets". (You don't want to let them cool in a big sheet, they get really hard. So stir until the are in small pieces)

Now drain all the fruit really well. Allow to sit draining while you make the cream part. I like to mix the creamy part in my Kitchen Aid Mixer. I use the wire whisk attachment. Put the softened cream cheese in first and beat until smooth, then add a 1/2 cup white sugar and mix until smooth, then add the Cool Whip and whip until smooth.

If you want to serve Trifle Style, put about a 1/2 -1" of the cream filling on bottom of trifle bowl, then add sliced bananas, then another cream layer, then a mandarin orange and pineapple layer, then a pretzel layer, then another cream layer and then for the very top I used real Whipping Cream that I whipped added 1/2 cup white sugar and used it to put on top, I also reserved some of the pretzels for the very top.

If you want to serve this as a regular fruit salad it works well that way too. I would however suggest that you mix the cream, fruit and the pretzels in all at once, because of the delicate nature of the oranges they will not be recognizable if you mix the fruit in with the cream and then mix more as you add the pretzels. So just keep them separate (even in the same bowl) until you arrive at the party then mix gently. The pretzels are very hard when caramelized, but they soften in the salad the more they sit and will become soggy over long periods of time. They still taste good, just not crunchy.

This recipe has been my go to for fruit salad for years. And it's one of those that you will just have to get used to giving out the recipe!! Hope you enjoy and get out there and share some of that good potluck love!!

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