My mother has been making this gelatin salad as long as I can remember. When I was younger, it was a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and often served as a side to the meal, instead of dessert. Every time I taste it, it is like taking a bite out of childhood. I always look forward to eating it this time of year. I am not a huge fan of gelatin salads, but I adore this. My mom was kind enough to allow me to share her special recipe with all of my wonderful readers. It is a beautiful and festive side dish or dessert for the holidays. It is packed full of pineapple, maraschino cherries, and walnuts. It has a wonderful combination of flavors and textures.
1/2 cup maraschino cherries (an 11 oz jar will be enough for recipe and to garnish)
1/2 cup walnuts
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 packet Dream Whip
Remove the cream cheese from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Cut into small blocks.
Place the measured water into the freezer to get cold, unless you have cold water available.
Chop the maraschino cherries and nuts into small bite-sized pieces.
Add the pineapple to a pot with the sugar and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil (I use a stainless pot). After it boils, reduce to a simmer until the gelatin is ready.
To prepare the gelatin, soak the gelatin in cold water for 5 min.
Add the gelatin water mixture to the pineapple mixture and stir to dissolve.
Next, add the cream cheese to the pineapple mixture. Use a spoon to work the cheese into the mixture. It will take a few minutes to do so, and you will be left with very small pieces of cheese incorporated. Remove from heat.
Stir in the cherries and nuts. Let the mixture cool down.
Once it has cooled, beat in the dream whip with a mixer for about 4 minutes.
Pour into a glass pie dish or your favorite gelatin mold, and once completely cooled, place in fridge ( If placing in a pie dish, cover carefully, if you don't want to flip it. If you plan on flipping it, the plastic wrap can touch the dessert.) Let sit in the fridge several hours to set, or overnight.
Remove from the fridge. If using a mold, run hot water over the mold, just until it starts to loosen from the sides. Remove from the mold. If using a glass pie dish, place the dish in hot water (start with warm water to warm the dish up first, so it doesn't crack). Using a spatula or butter knife, gently release the sides and lift up. Perform this step a couple of times to loosen from container. Carefully turn over, and tap the dish a couple of times. If it doesn't come out, repeat again. Enjoy!