Holiday Fruit SaladFruit salads are popular for holiday meals and there must be thousands of variations, from congealed, to mixed fruit, to frozen. This classic version made from an assortment of fresh and canned fruits and dressed with an egg custard that substitutes juices for the traditional cream sauce, dates back many years and has been a holiday favorite in my family for years.
Y'all already know how I feel about anything egg custard - from drinking custard to pie, and banana pudding to a simple bake - and this fruit salad is no exception in my repertoire of egg custard dishes. I just love this stuff!
Just like any fruit salad, the ingredients are flexible - use whatever is fresh and in season, whatever is convenient, and whatever kind you like. Choose a good brand of canned fruit though - it really does matter. While generic brands are certainly passable, major brands are higher in quality, more firm in texture, hold up better without going mushy and frankly, just taste better in my opinion.
The overall sweetness of the fruit salad will depend on the natural sweetness of the fresh fruits you choose and also how the canned fruit is packed - in their own juices or in a light or heavy syrup.
Here's how to make it.
In a large saucepan, beat together the sugar, eggs, lemon juice and salt. In case you're wondering where my other eggs are, I'm making a half recipe here.
Drain the juice from 2 cans of the fruit cocktail into the same saucepan. Place the fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, grapes and cherries into a large lidded storage bowl. I don't generally halve grapes in salads like this, because I feel that they generate too much water that way, and tend to water down the dressing. Toss to mix everything, cover and refrigerate to let the flavors begin to meld.
Bring the juice mixture to a near boil, stirring constantly, then immediately reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Take care that you do not burn it! Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly, stirring every once in awhile. Once the mixture has cooled, chop the apple and toss in the fruit mixture, adding in the marshmallows and nuts, if using.
Stir in the cooled custard, cover and refrigerate overnight. Wait to add the bananas, if using, until just before serving, however remove and discard any bananas before storing leftovers.
Recipe: Holiday Fruit Salad©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 15 min | Yield: About 1 gallon
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- Juice of one large lemon
- Pinch of salt
- 4 (15 ounce) cans of fruit cocktail, drained, but juices reserved from 2 cans
- 2 (15 ounce) cans of mandarin oranges, drained
- 4 cups of seedless grapes
- 1 (10 ounce) jar of maraschino cherries, well drained and patted dry
- 4 cups of unpeeled, chopped apple
- 2 cups mini marshmallows, optional
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 2 medium bananas, sliced, optional
In a large saucepan, beat together the sugar, eggs, lemon juice and salt. Drain the juice from 2 cans of fruit cocktail into the same saucepan. Place the fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, grapes and cherries into a large lidded storage bowl. Toss to mix, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Bring the egg and juice mixture to a near boil, stirring constantly, then immediately reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Once cooled, chop the apple and toss in the fruit mixture. Add the marshmallows and pecans. Stir in the cooled custard, cover and refrigerate overnight. Wait to add the bananas, if using, until just before serving, however remove and discard any bananas before storing leftovers.
Cook's Notes: Recipe may be halved. If you prefer not to use canned mandarin oranges, substitute fresh clementines, satsumas or seeded tangerines.
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