Friday, December 15, 2017

Pear Salad

Sweetened pear halves, stuffed with a cream cheese and whipped cream filling, garnished with a light sprinkling of mild cheddar cheese, and if you're feeling fancy, finished off with a maraschino cherry.

Pear Salad

This is not so much a recipe, as it is a nostalgic reminder of this delicious holiday side from the past. It's so old school, that some of you my age and older may even remember seeing this at school.

Hardly anybody really thinks about pear salad much anymore, and I'd venture a guess that very few of the younger generation even know anything about it and likely wouldn't be all that receptive to it either.

Even though pear salad is usually associated with the holidays, a time where fresh pears are available, I've only ever known it to be made with canned syrup-sweetened pear halves, though certainly use fresh if you prefer! I think folks just leaned to the canned ones because of the extra sweetness from the syrup. Frankly, sometimes fresh pears can be a little temperamental to peel and keep them uniformly pretty, and canned pears are certainly softer.

It's one of the strangest combinations of ingredients you'll find, but somehow, like the baked pineapple dish with cheese, it not only works, but it also brings back a lot of fond memories. It's a perfect addition to any holiday table, and especially memorable for us older folks.

You can use whatever filling you like though cottage cheese and a sweetened mayonnaise or salad dressing like Miracle Whip are probably the most authentic.

I like them made with a sweetened cream cheese and whipped cream mixture myself. Don't drown them in cheddar cheese either. It's mostly there to provide a savory contrast to the sweetness, so just a dash will do it!

C'mon now.... you have to admit, they're kinda cute aren't they?

For more of my fruit salads, pop over to my Pinterest page!

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Recipe: Pear Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings
  • 2 large (approx. 29 ounce) cans pear halves, in heavy syrup, drained well
  • Butter lettuce leaves, for platter, optional
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups thawed Cool Whip or whipped cream
  • 1/2 cup very finely shredded, mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 jar maraschino cherries, well drained

Arrange pear halves on a serving platter, over butter lettuce leaves, if desired. Cream together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and whipped cream until smooth. Spoon or pipe a dollop of mixture into the center of each pear half, distribute cheese evenly between each pear and top with a cherry. Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.

Cook's Notes: To substitute fresh pears, peel, split and core and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to halt oxidation and discoloration. May also substitute plain cottage cheese or the more classic, sweet mayo-style salad dressing, like Miracle Whip, alone or mixed with cream cheese, instead of the filling above. Filling is also very good using peach halves and pineapple rings.


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Posted by on December 15, 2017

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  1. My Mamaw used to make these for every family get-together (which was just about every Sunday after church!) We would have lunch at her house and these were usually served for dessert. Great memories. I think I will take some for Christmas. She has been dead for 5 years. Thanks for this.

  2. I have had the pears but alsi pineapple rings with the mayonnaise and cheese. I still eat it quite often, Here is my recipe 1 can of whole berry cranberry sauce, 1 can of pineapple chunks in juice drained mix together and for each serving add a dollop of Hellmanns mayonnaise and top with grated cheese, I love your suggestions, I'll have to try them thanks a bunch

    1. You are welcome/ So glad to see you have helped to keep this dish alive! I like the idea of the cranberry and pineapple too - yummy!

  3. Thank you for bringing back memories. We would have pears or the pineapple rings with the same filling. Still a refreshing salad in the summer!

  4. I remember these from my grandmothers kitchen. She would put a soft, butter cookie, she called a drop cookie, on a saucer and top it with a dressed up pear like this. This a seriously old school recipe. I am definitely making these for Christmas.

  5. Made these recently for my son-he enjoyed them. My mom made them frequently and I love them. Mary, you are my go to food blog way more than PW! I live in Biloxi and it's nice having a celebrity here! This is my 1st time to comment even though I have been reading for a long time.

    1. Hey neighbor!! Thank you for such a sweet, kind comment this morning. I don't know about all that "celebrity" stuff, but I've sure enjoyed the fellowship from those who pop by the blog, so I really appreciate you taking the time to say hello! I'm so glad you've found some recipes here to enjoy. Blessings to you!!

  6. My mother in law would make these, what a blast from the past, they were tasty, though she didn't put cheese on them.
    I did check out your cranberry and orange recipe and will make that soon, I am just a fool for cranberries. Thanks for all your great recipes!

  7. I love Pear Salad with fresh pears at this time of year! My mother-in-law introduced this to me when I began having holiday meals with my husband's family. It is a nice alternative to the abundance of sweet treats at the holidays.


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