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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