I think it has to be a law of nature that every family in the Midwest of the US must have a time honored, treasured family Jell-O recipe. For my family that recipe is none other than the fabulously delicious seafoam salad.
Trotted out only for the special occasions of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, seafoam salad was the highlight of the holiday meals for my sister and I while we were growing up. For a seemingly disastrous period in the nineteen-eighties my grandmother tried an experiment where seafoam salad was served for Thanksgiving and a red and green Jell-O ribbon salad was substituted for seafoam salad at Christmas. Needless to say there was a major revolt in the ranks.
Even though my tastes have changed and grown, as an adult I still love this simple Jell-O recipe. Seeing the pale green Jell-O salad topped with whipped cream and maraschino cherries is like a time machine for me. It just tastes like the joy and magic of the holidays and makes me feel like a little kid again.
- 1 can of sliced pears in heavy syrup, drained with juice reserved
- 1 package of lime Jell-O
- 1 package of cream cheese (8 oz.)
- 2 Tbsp. warm water
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- Pear halves (optional)
- Maraschino cherries (optional)
- Over a medium heat burner heat pear juice to a simmer
- Remove pear juice from heat, stir in Jell-O until dissolved and set aside
- In a separate bowl, use a potato masher to mash cream cheese with warm water
- Add slightly stiff Jell-O and beat until fairly smooth
- After Jell-O mixture has cooled, use potato masher to mash pear slices into the mixture
- Whip up whipping cream and fold half into the Jell-O mixture
- Pour Jell-O mixture into a dish and place into the refrigerator
- After Jell-O has set up (about a half hour) finish by spreading the remaining whipped cream on top
Tips and Tricks
- Although a potato masher works best with this recipe, in a pinch you could use a dinner fork to mash up the cream cheese and pears.
- For best success with whipping up whipping cream make sure that both the whipping cream and bowl are very cold. I like to pop my mixer bowl in the freezer for a few minutes prior to using it.
- I like to garnish my seafoam salad with pear halves that I have thinly sliced and maraschino cherries.
- To make sure that the maraschino cherries don't bleed red juice all over the whipped cream I rinse my cherries and blot them dry with a paper towel before adding them on top of the seafoam salad.